WATCH: One year ago today, the provincial election threw British Columbia into weeks of political upheaval. Eventually, the NDP and Green Party struck a deal, and John Horgan was named premier. Today, a new poll from the Angus Reid Institute finds British Columbians feel uncertain and anxious about where the province is headed. This latest Angus Reid Institute poll has a number of key findings. More British Columbians say the province is on the wrong track than the right track. But they also believe that issues the NDP campaigned on, are still important one year after the provincial election.
Angus Reid released a new poll exactly a year after a historic 2017 provincial election that led to a two month period of political uncertainty and ended up with an NDP minority government, with the help of a coalition with Andrew Weaver’s Green Party.
The report says B.C. residents are anxious about the direction the province is going, with 42 per cent believing it is on the wrong track, compared to 29 per cent that says it is on the right path. But B.C. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver said the province is on the right track. “I think if you asked the average person, has life got worse or better for you better in the last year? I think most people would say, ‘it’s better'”, Weaver said.
The Institute says Horgan’s performance has the approval of 47 per cent of respondents, ahead of Weaver’s 34 per cent approval and Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson’s 26 per cent rate. University of Victoria political scientist Michael Prince believes Horgan is growing into his role as premier. “He’s clearly grown in the role, and i think we saw that in the campaign. This is the man who was known as Mr. Temper, Mr. Anger. We saw bits of it during the campaign. But as that campaign went on, he grew into the role, building momentum,” Prince said.
A year after the election, 41 per cent of decided or leaning voters would back the NDP, followed by 36 per cent for the Liberals and 17 per cent for the Greens.
BRITISH COLUMBIANS FAVOUR MEASURES TO COOL HOUSING MARKET, BUT LUKEWARM ON HOUSING AND AFFORDABILITY PERFORMANCE
Housing prices and affordability is considered B.C.’s most important issue by half the respondents, while 42 per cent say Kinder Morgan’s proposed pipeline expansion and increased tanker traffic is the top priority.
The study shows British Columbians support NDP measures to cool the housing market and improve affordability, with three-quarters in favour of the foreign buyers’ tax increase from 15 to 20 per cent.
That is the same for support of the speculation tax aimed at homeowners who don’t pay income tax in the province. Prince believes the NDP should tread carefully. “If there is a vulnerability right now, it’s on appearing to contradict their own message about making life more affordable for British Columbians, and then in turn changing and altering tax systems that have not been well, or easily explained so far,” Prince said.
However, the overall view of the government’s performance on housing and affordability gets 49 per cent disapproval from the province.
But 44 per cent of respondents from Vancouver Island have a favourable opinion of the NDP’s performance on the file, a five per cent lead over disapproval.
MAJORITY IN B.C. DISAPPROVE OF HORGAN’S HANDLING OF KINDER MORGAN PIPELINE PROJECT
On the Kinder Morgan file, Angus Reid says British Columbians, including those on Vancouver Island, are not in favour of how the NDP government has handled the controversial pipeline expansion.
The province filed a reference to the court to determine its authority to limit the flow of oil in B.C.
Kinder Morgan is considering walking away from the project because of opposition and delays in the province.
But when asked about the Horgan government’s handling of the pipeline expansion, 53 per cent in B.C. disapprove, with 50 per cent against the NDP actions on Vancouver Island.
43 per cent of Islanders polled say they approve how the file has been handled.
Green Party supporters who disapprove the NDP handling of the issue outnumber those who support it with 51 per cent disapproval to 44 per cent in favour.
The report also found 57 per cent of respondents favour a change to the voting system for more proportional representation and 56 per cent say they are not concerned details of a referendum on the issue have not been released.