National unity still a preoccupation of Quebecers, other Canadians: poll

UNIVERSITÉ LAVAL

Premier Pauline Marois had suggested during the current election campaign that an independent Quebec would have no borders, would use the Canadian dollar as its currency, that Quebecers would still be able to use a Canadian passport.

And even if she's still trying to get people to talk about something else, a new Ipsos-Reid survey — a second portion of its poll on voter intentions in Quebec released on Wednesday — seems to suggest the divisive subject of national unity remains a significant preoccupation of Quebecers, and of other Canadians.

The online poll, done for CTV between March 14 and 19, shows that while most Quebecers — 73 per cent — believe an independent Quebec would continue to use the Canadian dollar as its currency, just 37 per cent of other Canadians believe that.

56 per cent of Quebecers agree with the idea that Quebec citizens would still be able to use a Canadian passport. 22 per cent of other Canadians do.

And 69 per cent of Quebecers believe Marois' assertion that an independent Quebec would have no borders, while just 42 percent do in the rest of the country.

'50 per cent plus one' not enough

Meanwhile, there are signs that a solid majority of Quebecers, and an even stronger majority of other Canadians, believe the Clarity Act's provision for a successful referendum to have a "clear majority" is valid.

63 per cent of Quebecers and 76 per cent of other Canadians believe the threshold for any future referendum should be at least 60 per cent.

Only 19 per cent Canadians outside Quebec believe Canada is in serious trouble — that's down 12 points from a similar survey done in 1997. 36 per cent of Quebecers believe national unity is in serious trouble — down 10 points from 1997.

The strong majority of Canadians, both inside and outside Quebec, say they "feel profoundly attached to Canada": 68 per cent of Quebecers (including 35 per cent who strongly agree), and 87 percent of Canadians outside Quebec.

Do other Canadians care if Quebec leaves?

While there have been rumblings from other parts of the country suggesting that a growing number of English Canadians no longer care about the national unity debate, or whether Quebec stays or goes, the poll shows that only 36 per cent of other Canadians are saying if Quebec wants out, they can just go. In the four western provinces, those figures are in the mid-40s.

39 per cent, meantime, agree with the statement "it is getting to the point where it would be better in the long run if Quebec were to separate from the rest of Canada". But 61 per cent disagree.

And residents of Atlantic Canada and Saskatchewan and Manitoba (each 69 per cent) are the most likely to agree that their province gets the rawest deal from Confederation. Quebecers are next at 63 per cent, tied with British Columbians. Albertans (56 per cent) and Ontarians (53 per cent) are the least likely to thinks so.

The poll surveyed 1,032 Canadians from Ipsos-Reid's Canadian online panel. The interviews were conducted online.

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