Most Canadians don’t believe a ‘simple majority’ should be enough for Quebec to separate

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

Last week, the NDP introduced their 'Unity Act' in the House of Commons which says that a vote of 50 per cent plus one would be enough to trigger negotiations with Quebec about secession.

[ Related: Does the clarity act need to be revisited? ]

Well, according to a new Angus Reid poll, the vast majority of Canadians — and even Quebecers — disagree with the NDP.

"Only 18 per cent of respondents believe a province should be allowed to separate from Canada with a simple majority of either residents or voters in a referendum," notes the survey report.

"In Quebec, these thresholds are endorsed by 35 per cent and 32 per cent of respondents respectively."

The NDP bill would essentially repeal the Clarity Act — the Chretien-era bill which mandates a clear question and clear majority in any referendum about Quebec separation. While the Clarity Act doesn't specify what a 'clear'' majority is, it does imply that 50 per cent plus one isn't clear.

[ Related: Quebec sovereignty is still very much a story ]

Earlier this week, in an exclusive interview with PostMedia News, Liberal leadership candidate Justin Trudeau accused the NDP of reopening the sovereignty debate for "political gain."

"To have Mr. Mulcair pandering to his sovereigntist or soft-nationalist base in Quebec at the expense of national unity indicates a brand of cynical politics that is exactly what the country needs least," he said.

"If the Supreme Court asks for a 'clear majority,' and if Mr. Mulcair says 50 per cent plus one is a clear majority, how would Mr. Mulcair define an unclear majority? Fifty per cent plus one is the lowest threshold for a majority."

In any event, we may not have to worry about a clear or an unclear majority for a while.

The Angus Reid survey also asked Canadians whether or not they agree or disagree with Quebec becoming it's own independent country. 68 per cent of all respondents said they disagree while only 43 per cent of Quebec respondents agreed.

For now, it seems that Quebec sovereignists aren't close to any kind of majority.

(Photo courtesy of Reuters)

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