By ANGUS REID INSTITUTE
June 16, 2022 – If there was ever a museum of political gaffes built in British Columbia, the rollout of the Royal BC Museum’s rebuild could occupy a gallery of its own.
New data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds most British Columbians oppose the $789-million project (69%) while one-in-five support it (22%).
The backlash comes as the NDP government under Premier John Horgan faces other political headwinds from inflation and cost of living increases.
And while those issues are to an extent due to external factors, the museum rebuild represents an unforced error.
Presented with the five options the government reportedly explored for the museum, most (62%) would have proceeded with the status quo and not undertaken a rebuild of the famed museum in Victoria. One-in-five (18%) would have pursued the plan chosen by the government – building a new museum on-site, plus another facility off-site for artifacts at the cost of $789 million.
While the preservation of B.C.’s historical artifacts and displays resonates with some, the decision to proceed with the rebuild of the Royal BC Museum comes as many have criticized the lack of staffing in B.C. health care, and the skyrocketing cost of living in the province. Indeed, asked to identify their top priorities, cost of living (61%), health care (47%), and housing affordability (43%) dominate.
The performance of the B.C. government on many of those issues is heavily criticized. At least seven-in-ten say the government is performing poorly when it comes to each of these top three issues, with 87 per cent saying the BCNDP are doing a poor job on housing affordability, the highest mark in the country.
More Key Findings:
- While Premier John Horgan’s approval has dropped seven points this quarter to 48 per cent the BCNDP still holds an 11-point advantage in vote intention (42% to 31% over the opposition BC Liberals). The BC Green Party is currently supported by 15 per cent of would-be voters.
- BC Liberal leader Kevin Falcon is viewed favourably by 23 per cent of British Columbians and unfavourably by 44 per cent. Many remain uncertain (32%).