Two out of three Canadians now say that the government of British Columbia is wrong to try to block the $7.4 billion pipeline, according to a poll by the Angus Reid Institute, a 10-percentage point increase since February.
Even in B.C., support for the pipeline has increased and opposition decreased since a February poll, according to the polling firm.
“There’s no question the needle is moving on this issue,”said Shachi Kurl, executive director of the Angus Reid Institute.
The project has pitted Ottawa and the oil-producing province of Alberta, which both want the pipeline built, against B.C.,and some say it could turn into a constitutional crisis, derail Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s energy strategy and dent business confidence.
Trudeau was confronted by environmental activists in London on Wednesday who had erected a fake pipeline around the Canadian High Commission in the British capital to protest the expansion of the pipeline that will transport crude from Alberta’s oilsands to the B.C. coast for export to Asia.
Following a series of delays, caused in part by protests,Kinder Morgan said earlier this month it was halting most work on the project, which was approved by Canada in 2016 but has been beset by legal tussles.
B.C., which vehemently opposes the project, has pledged new environmental rules and a legal challenge, putting construction at risk. The province said on Wednesday it would file its court challenge on jurisdiction by April 30.
Kinder Morgan Canada and its Texas-based parent Kinder Morgan Inc are set to release first-quarter results and hold a conference call after market close on Wednesday.