British Columbians are fracking ignorant

Trent Ernst, Editor


A new survey comparing the opinions of BCers and Albertans on the topic of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has come up with some interesting results.

One of the most interesting, however, is that over half the people surveyed were unaware if fracking was being done in BC.

The people surveyed were Your Insights panel members, a research panel being put together by Insights West, the company that did the research. There are over 10,000 members of the panel. 660 Albertans and 638 British Columbians took part in the survey late last month.

Of those 638 British Columbians, only 38 percent knew that fracking is being done in BC. In contrast, 68 percent of Albertans were aware that fracking is being done in their province. The vast majority of people in BC didn’t know whether there was fracking happening in the province, with 54 percent of respondents answering not sure.

The demographic most aware of fracking were men over the age of 55.

Seven percent of respondents claimed that there was no fracking happening in BC, while four percent of Albertans made a similar, erroneous answer.

Another place where the two provinces diverge is in levels of support for the activity. In BC, 47 percent opposed the practice, while a mere 26 percent supported it. The rest were not sure of their feelings.

In Alberta, nearly half of those surveyed—48 percent—were in favour of fracking. Only 29 percent were opposed. However, nearly equal numbers of people in both province (54 percent in BC and 56 percent in Alberta) self-identify as being familiar with fracking.

This is far lower than familiarity with the Northern Gateway Pipeline, with 87 percent of British Columbians and 77 percent of Albertans claiming to know what the project was about.

Despite a generally negative view towards fracking, half of all British Columbians support LNG expansion, while only 32 percent are in opposition.

Despite that, most British Columbians feel that LNG will only benefit some communities, with a mere 21 percent saying that LNG expansion would be beneficial to all British Columbians.

Insights West conducted the survey last month, on behalf of Business in Vancouver.