Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Polls show a third of young British Columbians want to change the province’s name


Some people see the colonial nature of the province’s name as problematic, others see it as an important part of history.

Most BC residents are against the prospect of changing the name of the province but Research Co. conducted a poll that shows not everyone is on the same page. 

BC residents aged 18 to 34-years-old show particular interest in exploring a provincial name that acknowledges and celebrates BC’s Indigenous heritage.

The survey was taken by many in an online setting. Overall Research Co. found that 53% of BC residents in their sample disagree with hinging the name British Columbia to something tied to the land’s Indigenous heritage. 

(Research Co.)

“More than a third of Vancouver Island residents (37%) would welcome changing British Columbia’s name,” said Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. 

“Support is lower in Northern BC (32%), Metro Vancouver (31%), the Fraser Valley (30%) and Southern BC (26%).”

The poll also showed that 62%, about three-in-five, are not at all bothered by the name of the province. 

Nearly one-in-five, on average, are upset about the lack of Indigenous acknowledgement and the word “British” being included in the name. Only about 8% of the sampled residents are upset about the inclusion of the word “Columbia.”

(Research Co.)

The poll Research Co. conducted also wanted to test the water of people’s opinions on the inclusion of the Union Jack in the BC provincial flag.

Predictably in the context of the name change poll, about 31%, or one-third of British Columbians think the Union Jack should be removed. 46% disagree with the symbol’s removal.

Haida Gwaii was successfully renamed in 2010. Its colonial name was the Queen Charlotte Islands up until then. Polls show that 58% of BC residents believe this was the right decision, while 20% disagree with the Indigenous name and 23% were undecided. 

(Research Co.)

71% of Vancouver Island poll participants who cast their opinion on this issue with Research Co. believe the renaming was the correct course of action. 

Research Co. conducted these studies from October 29th to 31st, among 800 BC residents. 

The research company says the data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in British Columbia.

Curtis Blandy

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