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RSR ROBBINS Research - British Columbia Politics March 12, 2013
  Mar 12, 2013

Question #1
Stephen Harper’s Conservative government supports construction of the Enbridge pipeline commencing in the province of Alberta through to BC’s northern region and the coast. Do you support Stephen Harper’s government on this account?
Yes    31.5 %
No    61.5 %
Question #2
David Black a newspaper publisher and entrepreneur insists he is ready willing and able to construct an oil refinery in Prince Rupert BC for $26 billion. According to reports in BC mainstream media part of this cost includes $6 billion for the Enbridge pipeline. Do you support David Black’s refinery and Enbridge pipeline combined proposal?
Yes    32 %
No    51 %
Question #3
In the early 1970’s the BC New Democrats were government and founded The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia a crown auto insurance corporation better known today as ICBC. The initial concept was to distribute all profits at year end to BC drivers by way of dividend. When the current BC New Democrats form government in May of this year do you support the re-introduction of this concept of distributing ALL annual profits to BC drivers over and above current safe driver’s discounts?
Yes    48 %
No    34 %
Question #4
Premier Christy Clark insists that she was completely unaware of the memo document which resulted in the ethnic voter scandal that has subsequently been proved to have originated from the Premiers office. Her Deputy chief of staff has resigned over it. Do you believe that Christy Clark was COMPLETELY unaware of the memo or any other activity relating to this scandal?
Yes    12 %
No    81 %
Question #5
Premier Christy Clark has appointed a Deputy Minister from her office, a government worker under her employ - to investigate this ethnic scandal. Is this the appropriate person to conduct the investigation?
Yes    2 %
No    90 %
Question #6
Which professional person provided as a response choice do you have the LEAST confidence in- to be truthful and honest? (You may choose any two).
Executives of major corporations and banks    25.5 %
The Police    12.5 %
Real Estate Agents and Car Salesman    10.5 %
Lawyers and Judges    16.5 %
Politicians    30 %
Mainstream media    6.5 %
Question #7
A Port Coquitlam businessman dissatisfied with the quality of political leaders and overall function of BC’s democracy has launched a campaign whose main theme suggests: “My vote is too precious to waste on you”, interpreted for this question to mean that the democratic vote was achieved through hard work and sacrifice by many and should be used to vote for something and not just to vote against someone or a party. Do you agree with and support this campaign in principle?
Yes    52.5 %
No    44 %
Commentary
This ROBBINS survey canvasses a number of important issues and news events covered during the past week.
In our previous ROBBINS survey published one week ago, we linked Stephen Harper’s government and tax payer funded advertising to supporting pipelines and tanker. These Conservative government ads were broadcast at the same time as other advertising adjacencies not likely an accident, but certainly something which is perceived as being politically biased at a time when the Enbridge pipeline assessment hearings have yet to be concluded.
By political inference we were in a position in this ROBBINS survey to fairly characterize Stephen Harper’s government as being in support of the Enbridge pipeline proposal. The Prime Minister’s constituency is Calgary Alberta the hub of oil finance in Canada. We leave it up to the PMO’s office to stipulate whether they support the pipeline or not.
Only a fraction of decided British Columbians (34% decided) support the Enbridge pipeline which in question 1 is considered within the context of it first being supported by Stephen Harper’s Conservative government.
BC media person and producer of significant tonnage of newsprint for recycling as well as business promoter David Black has insisted for months now that he wants to build an expensive oil refinery in Prince Rupert. He asserted in media this week that he has financing in place for the refinery the accounting for which also included increased amounts of $6 billion for a pipeline, but will provide more details in 60 days consistent with the timing of the BC election. Media presentations outline this financing proposal of $26 billion up from a previous estimate of $20 billion.
Given that the Enbridge pipeline proposal through the same region is priced at $6 billion is already proposed and is being allegedly being vetted by an independent committee in terms of environmental and economic impacts, we reasonably presumed that Mr. Black’s proposal was somehow tied to the Enbridge proposal based on the fact that Mr. Black supported the pipeline construction though he did not support raw product being shipped by tanker down the BC coast. If this is not the case perhaps Mr. Black might want to explain how his pipeline might differ from the one Enbridge is proposing.
Respondents aren’t biting in high numbers on Mr. Black’s proposal with (38% decided) supporting as it properly presented in question 2. Many respondents who did not support his proposal in this survey expressed annoyance that his refinery proposal was tied to the Enbridge pipeline which as question 1 suggests is fast being seen as now having a certain political bias to it. Similarly, Mr. Black’s refinery proposal might have fared better if it were not tied in financial terms to the construction of the Enbridge pipeline and to the fact that further announcements would be provided around the time of the election. Mr. Black insisted on CKNW that oil companies were not interested in participating in the financial component of his refinery proposal seems odd to use given the oil companies connection by necessity to the Enbridge proposal and to Mr. Black’s apparent inclusion of the Enbridge pipeline cost numbers in his refinery proposal. Certainly more questions need to be asked here.
Still, Mr. Black’s proposal including pipeline is slightly better received by BC voters than Stephen Harper’s government support of it. The entire Enbridge pipeline promotion has been slightly worse than abysmal and ought to be considered in communications lectures in terms of how not to approach public relations. Mr. Black’s plan was equally poorly considered particularly in its conscious inclusion of the pipeline within the envelope of the overall refinery cost – when a refinery proposal could have been floated on it’s own with the further details considered within the 60 day period Mr. Black promised.
A majority of British Columbians support the next BC NDP government in May 2013 going ‘retro’ at ICBC and releasing annual profits back to BC drivers over and above current safe driving discounts. This ROBBINS survey features a significant high number in support considering that there is no proviso in the question to NOT return these dividends to poor drivers (unless of course there are poor drivers who as respondents answered “Yes”).
The fact that so many BC voters are willing to easily support this proposal offers us the opportunity to revisit the history of ICBC’s beginnings at a time when many Social Credit supporters back in the day saw this NDP proposal as an example of socialism, when then AG Alex MacDonald stated its intention was to keep money in the province and away from corporate interests of big insurance companies abroad.
Now ICBC is seen as a government ATM machine with profits being returned to government coffers or as part of what many respondents see as the “entitled” and many British Columbians might more readily see the ICBC retro fit policy of returning profits back to drivers as something that a free enterprise government might do for the people who fund it.
Current BC premier Christy Clark is really in desperate trouble and her party is heading toward electoral disaster in large part because of her. Despite some change of scenery on the media front away from the ethnic voter scandal this week, former BC NDP leader Carole James was able to push on with pertinent questions about what Christy Clark knew about the plan to move forward with what has now been described as the ethnic voter scandal.
British Columbians in an overwhelming majority do not believe that Christy Clark was completely unaware of the goings regarding this planned promotion in her own office, which has resulted in a long time supporter and associate of hers resigning. The problem for Christy Clark is the stench of political (and possible legal) wrongdoing is all through her office, with substantial evidence and admission that it is in her office, and no matter Christy Clark’s explanations to the contrary, British Columbians eager to be rid of her are willing to toss her aside for not being in control of her office (her government) if she was unaware, or alternatively for not being honest about what she did know. The further problem is that if Christy had even 5% awareness she is deemed to be 100% aware and thus politically guilty.
The BC Liberals cannot continue on with Christy Clark in charge unless they are willing to accept that in keeping Christy Clark through to Election Day in May it will be the end of the BC Liberal Party as representative of so called free enterprise in the province of BC. Speculation will abound as to whether or not Christy Clark is the worst premier in BC’s history. She is certainly beginning to add a little lustre to Gordon Campbell’s tarnished image despite three election wins.
There is almost zero support for her Deputy Minister investigating the matter of the ethnic voter scandal. In the face of hordes of disgruntled and fed up British Columbians this decision to have the Deputy Minister (an employee) investigate the matter has virtually no credibility with British Columbians and now has the dubious distinction of featuring one of the lowest numbers in support in ROBBINS polling and surveying history.
People working in the political system act like high ranking public servants are deemed to have the respect of ordinary British Columbians, and by and large they do not. They, like the politicians they apparently serve, judges and justices in the courts, and others seen as being ‘in the system’ are not in vogue – they are seen with suspicion and doubt and sometimes worse. There needs to be a system developed whereby retired justices of superior courts from other provinces can be provided with files for their opinion and an independent officer for the province who makes the declaration when their efforts are required. The investment in such a structure would go some distance to salvaging the dwindling façade of democratic standards in this province (and country as well).
Statistically (55%) of British Columbians are of the opinion that corporate executives and law makers are the professions they expect to be the least truthful and honest. Include lawyers and judges in the calculation and the total is (71%) - the perception of big money and the law attracts little trust or confidence. When we consider that most British Columbians have little contact with corporate executives, law makers (politicians), lawyers (except general legal work) and judges we can see there is little confidence in the democratic system a result likely produced more by perception than experience – particularly when we consider that real estate agents and car salesman are involved with major capital purchases and police are in the community every day and are lawfully required to wear guns.
This questions responses provide some further insight into why voter totals are declining, why projects like the Enbridge pipeline are failing, and why the BC NDP will wipe the BC Liberals off the electoral map this May 2013. There is no appetite for BIG $$ and the Law. Perhaps powers that be might give some thought to removing the Chief Justice of the Superior court as Vice Chair of the Vancouver Foundation a huge investment ‘charity’. The BC NDP might be making a mistake if they believe kowtowing to either big business or the courts will help their reputation any.
Coquitlam businessman and political activist Jim Van Rassel has a ‘tiger by the tail’ (see Buck Owens), with his new campaign promoting voter awareness and entitled “My vote is too precious to waste on you” – which according to this ROBBINS survey is supported by a majority of British Columbians – in principal. These are high numbers of decided respondents and it will be interesting to see if the alleged 55.5% of registered voter and 50% of eligible voter totals – a record low will dwindle to eligible voters dropping to below 45% or even less in the May 2013 provincial general election in the Province of British Columbia. If eligible voter turnout is below 40% the election will not be seen as bona fide by many and a huge blow to the credibility of the democratic system in the province by others.
In response to the “My vote is too precious”…. campaign BC’s next premier Adrian Dix leader of the BC New Democrats is launching his own campaign to encourage voter registration of teenage (16 year old) children prior to legal voting age in the province.
There is some correlation among those respondents who support a return of annual ICBC profits to premium payers and Mr. Van Rassel’s campaign.
This is a targeted survey of British Columbians who voted in the 2009 general provincial election and who are eligible to vote, and who remain at the same address they did in 2009. This survey was conducted March 8-10 2013 among 642 respondents. It features a statistical margin of error of 3.87%, 19 times out of 20 @ 95% confidence.
Question 7 was sponsored by Jim Van Rassel who heads the campaign My vote is too precious 2 waste on U. Other questions were sponsored by Westwood Associates.

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