MORE and more British Columbians are backing the Northern Gateway pipeline project, according to a new poll released on Monday by the BC Chamber of Commerce.

The poll found that 47 per cent of British Columbians now support the project. Significantly, the poll found that B.C. support of the project swells to 57 per cent if the project can achieve a positive recommendation from the Joint Review Panel and to 63 per cent if the project can meet Premier Christy Clark’s five conditions for all new oil projects.

“This poll confirms what we’ve been hearing anecdotally: British Columbians know what’s at stake here and, while they fiercely protect our province’s Super Natural brand, they don’t want to see this opportunity slip away,” said John Winter, President and CEO of the BC Chamber.

Winter said the BC Chamber undertook this poll because of the significance of this project’s fate to B.C.’s future investment opportunities.

“This isn’t just a pipeline at stake – it’s B.C.’s future as a have or have-not investment jurisdiction,” Winter said. “We felt that B.C. businesses and potential investors needed clear information that, if a project can meet high Canadian and B.C. environmental and community standards, the majority of British Columbians will support it.”

The poll also found that:

* Seven out of 10 British Columbians (70 per cent) believe the project will transform the economy of Northern B.C.;

* A clear majority (60 per cent) of British Columbians are worried about losing out on economic benefits if it does not go ahead; and

* Six out of 10 British Columbians (59 per cent) believe the project is important to Canada’s national interest.

The live telephone survey of 1,050 adult British Columbians was conducted between November 22 and 29 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.0%, 19 times out of 20. The survey was sponsored by the BC Chamber and conducted by Maple Leaf Strategies.