Today Sun Media is reporting the results of a recent Leger Marketing poll conducted on behalf of The Association of Canadian Studies.
According to the reports, the poll found that “A surprising 26% of Albertans and 15% of English Canadians believe Quebec would be better off if it were to separate” As would be expected the results varied widely by province with a high of 39.9% in Quebec supportive and a low of 5.3% in New Brunswick.
According to the reporter, Elizabeth Thompson, the exact question that was asked was whether respondents strongly agreed, somewhat agreed, somewhat disagreed or strongly disagreed with the following statement: "Quebec would be better off if it were not part of Canada."
“Better off” how? Economically? Culturally? The poll doesn’t differentiate. I expect most Canadians feel that Quebec is better off economically within Canada if for no other reason that the equalization payments flooding in their direction. Would Quebec be better off fiscally without those? Unlikely. But culturally I don’t think there’s much question that Quebec would certainly be no worse off as a separate entity. They would still have complete control over their culture and language but would no longer have to answer embarrassing questions about English language rights within their borders or cultural and social initiatives that don’t fit within the broader Canadian multicultural framework.
But if the pollsters were really trying to get a sense of what Canadians think about Quebec staying in Canada they asked the wrong question. To get Canadians to tell you how they feel about Quebec as part of Canada, the question should be whether respondents strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree or strongly disagree with the following statements:
- "Canada would be better off economically with a separate Quebec"
- “Canada would be better off politically with a separate Quebec", and
- "Canada would be better off culturally with a separate Quebec".
Now those results would be interesting. Any takers?