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NDP confident pipeline stance strengthened support

Adrian Dix speaking out against the pipeline at a May 4 rally on Kits Beach. Source: BC NDP's Flickr.

Some pundits have wondered if the BC NDP's pipeline opposition may have helped the BC Liberals chip away at the NDP lead. But polling expert Mario Canseco doubts the NDP stance hurt them at all, while NDP candidate David Eby thinks it actually helped his campaign.

On April 22, NDP leader Adrian Dix announced his party’s opposition to any pipeline plan that would “transform Vancouver into a major port for oil export.”

Kinder Morgan intends to twin their existing Trans Mountain pipeline, opening the door to exports from the Albertan oil sands. Opponents of the project have been vocal about the environmental hazards of increased tanker traffic in the Burrard Inlet.

A recent piece in the Globe and Mail questioned if Dix’s opposition to the pipeline helped the Liberals, as their leader Christy Clark pounced on Dix’s statement to brand the NDP as being anti-jobs.

In the two weeks since the announcement, the Liberals have edged closer to their opponents in the polls.

Mario Canseco, VP of Angus Reid public opinion, doubts this is because of the NDP’s pipeline stance, attributing the Liberal rise instead to pulling voters from the BC Conservatives.

“I think this was a well-calculated approach by the NDP,” Canseco said.

“For the NDP, the danger is to lose some of that environmentally-friendly vote to the Greens,” he added. 

David Eby, the NDP candidate running against Christy Clark in Vancouver-Point Grey, said Dix’s statement was “incredibly helpful” for his campaign.

He’s spoken to people who were considering voting Green, but now feel they can vote NDP because of their pipeline stance. He added that the statement also motivated the NDP’s existing supporters.

Eby was particularly critical of anyone who says the NDP’s stance on Kinder Morgan isn’t clear enough.

“The NDP does not support any expansion of oil tanker traffic off the coast,” he stressed.

Bradley Shende, a local tech-sector leader and analyst, commended the NDP’s pipeline position and challenged any suggestion that opposing the pipeling was opposing job growth.

“The Kinder Morgan proposal claims to create 50 permanent full time jobs in the end? My fellow tech entrepreneurs create that in a couple months and are innovating,” he said.

Shende recently wrote an op-ed for the Georgia Straight arguing against the pipeline from a business perspective, saying that the oil spill potential would put thousands of jobs at risk.

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