According to two recent polls, almost half of Canadians outside the province of Quebec couldn't care less if La Belle Province separates from the rest of Canada.
Residents of Quebec may be going to the polls later this summer and there is a good chance the scandal-plagued Liberal government of Jean Charest will be defeated by the separatist Parti Quebecois. Is the rest of Canada concerned that Quebec may once again have a government whose main reason for existence is to take the province out of Confederation?
Two Ipsos Reid polls released Thursday found almost half (49%) of Canadians residing outside Quebec don't care if Quebec leaves Canada. Not surprisingly, the same percentage of respondents told the pollster that the breakup of Canada would not affect them personally.
Of the 49%, 26% "strongly" agreed Quebec succession would be no big deal while 23% "somewhat" agreed.
As reported by Canada.com, a higher percentage of Albertans (56%) found possible separation to be no big deal followed by British Columbia (51%) and Ontario (50%).
In explaining the apparent ambivalence the rest of Canada has towards Quebec, Darrell Bricker, president of Ipsos Reid, was quoted by AFP as saying, "Over the years, it's just one of those things where you get threatened so many times. I think people have sort of walked away from the debate and the country has moved in a new direction."
Bricker added that with the rise of economic and political power in the West, Quebec does not have the same clout it once had.
The National Post reports should Quebec separate, 57% of Canadians outside Quebec do not want to have any type of economic or political association with the newly independent country. This is a large change from 20 years ago when a poll showed 66% of Canadians in other provinces and territories wanted to keep some sort of association with an independent Quebec.
Quebec residents were also polled and as expected, the results were completely different. Separation from Canada is a big deal to 92% of Quebec residents. Of those in the province who have made up their minds about sovereignty, 62% would vote to remain in Canada while 38% favour separation. Twenty per cent of those polled have not made up their minds about whether Quebec should leave Canada.
The Ipsos Reid findings consist of two different polls. The first, conducted between June 11 and June 18 polled 1,101 Canadians while the second, done between June 20 and June 25, posed questions to 1,009 Canadians. The polls have a margin of error of 3.0 and 3.1 respectively.