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Its decision to approve development of the controversial Northern Gateway oil pipeline could cost Canada’s governing Conservatives critical support in British Columbia, where they will need a strong showing in the 2015 election to secure another majority in Parliament. Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have lots to lose in the Pacific Coast province, where they have 21 of its 36 seats in the House of Commons. As well as the seats they hold, they are banking on picking up some of six new seats, in Vancouver’s suburbs and elsewhere, that British Columbia will get for next year’s election. The C$7.9 billion ($7.2 billion) pipeline project would carry diluted bitumen from Alberta’s oil sands to the Pacific Coast, where it would be shipped to Asian markets. The project is backed by business groups but opposed by environmentalists, many native communities and opposition parties. A new online poll issued by Angus Reid on Wednesday found British Columbian public opinion more opposed to the Enbridge Inc pipeline than in favor: 40 percent versus 38 percent, with the rest undecided. Opposition to the project was twice as strong in British Columbia as in neighboring Alberta.

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