Canadians Are Split on Trudeau's Pipeline Purchase, Poll Shows

(Bloomberg) -- Canadians increasingly back the Trans Mountain pipeline but are far less supportive of Justin Trudeau’s decision to buy it.

A poll published Tuesday by the Angus Reid Institute found Canadians are evenly split -- 37 percent say Trudeau made the right decision, 37 percent say the wrong decision and the rest were undecided. It’s a stark difference from the popularity of the pipeline expansion itself: 57 percent of Canadians support it while 26 percent oppose, the poll found. That gap has steadily widened in the firm’s polling.

The numbers signal Trudeau could pay a political price for his decision last month to buy the oil pipeline and its controversial expansion project from Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. for C$4.5 billion ($3.5 billion). The poll found that in Ontario and Quebec, vote-rich provinces critical to the prime minister’s re-election chances next year, more people think it was the wrong decision than the right one.

There’s a gender divide too -- 48 percent of men say buying the pipeline was the right thing to do, versus just 26 percent of women. Among those who think it was a bad move, 64 percent said that’s because the government shouldn’t be in the business of owning pipelines.

Overall, 42 percent say the government has done a poor job handling the issue, compared with 39 percent who said they did a good job. The pipeline is opposed by the government of British Columbia, the west coast province to which Alberta crude would be delivered. Residents there are evenly split, at 38 percent each, on whether buying it was the right or wrong decision, the poll found. Both nationally and in British Columbia, a majority say the provincial government is wrong to oppose the project.

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