Quebec coddled over other provinces: Survey

Quebec's separatist premier, Pauline Marois.



OTTAWA - A majority of Canadians who responded to a recent online survey feel Quebec is treated better than everyone else in the federation, and that the province will be a source of national unity tussles for decades.

The Abacus Data survey of regional jealousies also found surveyed Canadians are envious of Alberta's wealth but feel its energy riches are beneficial to the country.

"While many consider conflict between Alberta and the rest of Canada as serious, the level of concern is still nowhere near that of issues around Quebec," Abacus president David Coletto said.

The Quebec-versus-the-rest-of-Canada conflict was rated as very and somewhat serious by 80% of respondents, compared to 42% for West-versus-East, 45% for Alberta-versus-the-rest-of-Canada and 26% for B.C.-versus-Alberta.

"What to do about Quebec continues to be a serious question for most Canadians but with the growing economic and political might of Western Canada, that dynamic may shift westward," said Coletto.

When asked if one province gets more than its fair share from the government, 57% of respondents picked Quebec, 22% Ontario and 14% Alberta.

Of the $510 billion shelled out in equalization since 1957 (adjusted to inflation), Quebec has received $253 billion and has contributed $107 billion.

"They know when they have a good thing going for them," said Coletto.

While Canadians look at Quebec with suspicion, 54% of respondents said they have a favourable impression of Alberta while 16% not so much. British Columbians (28%) had the least favourable impression of their neighbour.

A majority of survey respondents (63%) also agreed that Canada benefits from the province's oil and gas bounty while 27% disagreed. Quebecers (50%) were least likely to agree that Alberta's energy prosperity was good for the country.

And when asked whether they were jealous of Alberta's natural resource hoard, 50% of Canadian respondents agreed they were, compared to 38% who disagreed.

When asked about which political party was the best on the national unity file, it was a virtual tie with 24% choosing the NDP and 23% the Conservatives and Liberals respectively.

When asked who was worst, 34% picked the Tories, 18% Liberals, 11% NDP.

The online survey was conducted Dec. 7-8. A random sample of panellists were invited to participate in the survey from a panel of more than 150,000 Canadians and 1,505 responded.

Because the survey is not a random sampling of the population, a margin of error can't be calculated.

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