October 21, 2020 (Smithers/Vancouver) - Four out of five British Columbians (80%) would support the BC government creating more protected areas with Indigenous peoples to meet the target of protecting 30% of the land and water by 2030, “even if that means reducing areas available for mining and forestry.”
And before the government leases land for logging or mining, the same proportion of British Columbians (81%) say “it should modernize land-use plans with communities and First Nations to ensure the protection of water quality and fish habitat.”
Those findings are the result of Insights West’s recent survey done on behalf of the BC Mining Law Reform network and Northern Confluence in mid-October, with 1,385 adult respondents across the province.
While three out of four (73%) agree that minerals and metals from BC can help with our transition to a clean economy, they want to “ensure it happens responsibly.”
A large majority (84%) agree that mining companies “should be required to get permission from private landowners, municipalities, and First Nations before doing any business on their lands.” And a full 90% agree that they should also “be required to pay to clean up the environmental damage they cause”, with strongest support from outside of the Lower Mainland.
On whether some pollution is “inevitable” and that benefits from mining to BC as a whole “outweigh any accidental impacts to the local environment or communities,” British Columbians have differing views: 40% agree with this statement, while 48% disagree.
Mining issues can play a role in voting. About half (48%) of Metro Vancouver region residents, and 59% on Vancouver Island say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate that would support changing mining laws and regulations to include “stronger environmental protection and local permission requirements.”
For detailed data tabulations, see here.
“British Columbians overwhelmingly support increasing protected areas even if that means new no-go zones for mining and forestry. It’s time for BC to support the international biodiversity goal of protecting 30 percent of land and water by 2030,” said Nikki Skuce, Director of Northern Confluence and co-founder of BC Mining Law Reform.
“While the demand for minerals used in low-carbon technologies is set to grow exponentially, mining needs to be done much more responsibly. This poll shows that British Columbians strongly support common sense reforms to mining and land-use,” said Ugo LaPointe, MiningWatch Canada and co-founder of BC Mining Law Reform.
ABOUT THE SURVEY Results are based on an online study conducted by Insights West from October 13-15, 2020 among a sample of 1,385 British Columbian adults 18 years of age and older. The data has been weighted according to 2016 Canadian Census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error (which measures sample variability) is +/2.6%, 19 times out of 20. Any discrepancies between totals are due to rounding.