Half (49%) of Canadians Outside of Quebec Agree They Don't Care if Quebec Separates from Canada

Four in Ten (38%) Quebecers Favour Sovereignty, Up 8 Points from a Decade Ago but Far From its Heights of the Early 90s

Toronto, ON - Thinking about the possibility of Quebec separating from Canada and creating its own country, a new poll - the second instalment in a special series on Canada conducted by Ipsos Reid on behalf of Postmedia News and Global Television - reveals that almost half (49%) of Canadians living outside of Quebec `agree' (26% strongly/23% somewhat) that they `don't really care if Quebec separates from Canada'. Conversely, the other half (51%) `disagrees' (30% strongly/21% somewhat) with this sentiment.

Moreover, half (49%) of Canadians outside of Quebec `agree' (25% strongly/24% somewhat) that `if Quebec separates, it's not really a big deal to them', while the other half (51%) of those outside of Quebec `disagree' (29% strongly/21% somewhat), saying that it is in fact a big deal to them.

But there doesn't appear to be a groundswell of support for sovereignty within Quebec. While two in ten (20%) Quebecers don't know where they stand on the issue, among those who have their mind made up, just four in ten (38%) would vote `yes' in favour of sovereignty while six in ten (62%) would vote `no' against sovereignty. The `yes' vote is up 8 points from among decided Quebecers in a similar poll taken in 1999, but still well off its high of 47% in an Ipsos Reid poll taken in 1990.

If Quebec were to separate from Canada the question then becomes what is the relationship between the two countries? While three in ten (28%) Canadians don't know whether or not an economic and political association between Canada and Quebec should exist in this scenario, among those that have an opinion, four in ten (43%) think there ought to be, while a majority (57%) doesn't believe there should be, a dramatic shift from two decades ago when most (66%) thought there should continue to be an association between the two, while only three in ten (30%) thought there shouldn't be. Interestingly, most (83%) Quebecers think there should be a political and economic association, while a minority (28%) of Canadians outside of Quebec think there should be this type of relationship.

Appetite for Separation among other Provinces...

One quarter (24%) of Canadians, overall, `agree' (10% strongly/15% somewhat) that they `would support their province separating from Canada and creating its own country'. While Quebec (45%) leads the way on this, nearly three in ten (27%) Albertans agree as well, followed by fewer residents of British Columbia (19%), Atlantic Canada (17%), Ontario (16%), and Saskatchewan and Manitoba (15%).

While the data above shows that most of Canadians would likely say good riddance if Quebec decided to separate, they have a change of heart when it comes to other provinces. In fact, most (69%) Canadians `disagree' (41% strongly/28% somewhat) that `they don't really care if any province decides to separate from Canada' - including 64% of Quebecers - while just one in three (31%) `agree' (11% strongly/20% somewhat) that they wouldn't care if any province decided to separate.

Bilingualism in Canada...

When thinking about bilingualism or the official recognition and promotion of English and French in Canada by the federal government, six in ten (61%) Canadians think that it's part of what is best about Canada. Conversely, four in ten (39%) would describe bilingualism as being part of what is worst about Canada.

Residents of Atlantic Canada are most likely (77%) to describe it as one of Canada's best features, followed by those living in Ontario (64%), Alberta (61%), Quebec (57%), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (56%) and British Columbia (55%). On the other hand, residents of British Columbia (45%) are the most likely to say its among Canada's worst attributes, followed by those living in Saskatchewan and Manitoba (44%), Quebec (43%), Alberta (39%), Ontario (36%) and Atlantic Canada (23%).

Six in ten (62%) Canadians `agree' (25% strongly/37% somewhat) that `the federal government should assist and promote the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society', but there is no consensus across the country. Most Quebecers (92%) and Atlantic Canadians (80%) agree, while significantly fewer residents of Saskatchewan and Manitoba (57%) Ontario (51%) and a minority of Albertans (47%) and British Columbians (45%) agree that bilingualism should be promoted.

Adopting the opposite stance, four in ten (38%) Canadians `disagree' (14% strongly/24% somewhat) that the federal government should assist and promote bilingualism, led by a majority of British Columbians (55%) and Albertans (53%) who disagree, followed by fewer residents of Ontario (49%), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (43%), Atlantic Canada (20%) and Quebec (8%).

Furthermore, six in ten (59%) Canadians `agree' (29% strongly/30% somewhat) that `it should be mandatory for any senior official in Canada's government to be fluent in both English and French - although this figure is heavily skewed by the 90% of Quebecers who think this should be the case compared to 49% outside of Quebec. A slim majority of Atlantic Canadians (60%) and residents of Saskatchewan and Manitoba (52%) feel the same way, while a minority of Ontarians (49%), British Columbians (48%) and Albertans (40%) think all senior government officials should be fluent in both official languages.

Conversely, four in ten (41%) `disagree' (17% strongly/24% somewhat) that senior government officials should be bilingual, led by a majority of Albertans (60%), British Columbians (52%) and Ontarians (51%), and followed by a minority of those living in Saskatchewan and Manitoba (48%), Atlantic Canada (40%) and Quebec (10%).

These are some of the findings of two Ipsos Reid polls conducted between June 20-25, 2012, and June 11-18, 2012, on behalf of Postmedia News and Global Television. For the first survey, a sample of 1,101 Canadians from Ipsos' Canadian online panel was interviewed online. The second poll comprises a sample of 1,009 Canadians. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 3.0 percentage points and +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, respectively, of what the results would have been had the entire population of adults in Canada been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Darrell Bricker
Ipsos Reid
Public Affairs
[email protected]

About Ipsos Reid

Ipsos Reid is Canada's market intelligence leader, the country's leading provider of public opinion research, and research partner for loyalty and forecasting and modelling insights. With operations in eight cities, Ipsos Reid employs more than 600 research professionals and support staff in Canada. The company has the biggest network of telephone call centres in the country, as well as the largest pre-recruited household and online panels. Ipsos Reid's marketing research and public affairs practices offer the premier suite of research vehicles in Canada, all of which provide clients with actionable and relevant information. Staffed with seasoned research consultants with extensive industry-specific backgrounds, Ipsos Reid offers syndicated information or custom solutions across key sectors of the Canadian economy, including consumer packaged goods, financial services, automotive, retail, and technology & telecommunications. Ipsos Reid is an Ipsos company, a leading global survey-based market research group.

To learn more, please visit www.ipsos.ca.

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. In October 2011 Ipsos completed the acquisition of Synovate. The combination forms the world's third largest market research company.

With offices in 84 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across six research specializations: advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, public affairs research, and survey management.

Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of e1,363 billion (1.897 billion USD) in 2011.

Visit www.ipsos-na.com to learn more about Ipsos' offerings and capabilities.

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