Posted on | May 8, 2011 | No Comments
If it is tempting to oppose Quebec’s socialism with Alberta’s conservatism, we do not often discuss the strangely similar values of these two provinces inhabitants. Fortunately, the release of survey results obtained by the CBC and the University of Toronto remind us that between these two solitudes, there remain a few points in common.
The survey (answered on a voluntary basis, and this possibly biased, it must be said) was a vote compass which aimed to situate voters according to their agreement with a number of statement of values. Both Quebec and Alberta are singled out as believing that knowledge of French or English should be a requirement for immigration, favouring cuts in daycare subsidies and an increased involvement of the private sector in healthcare.
Obviously there are issues on which Quebec clearly differs from the rest of Canada – it is strongly against military investment, against social compromise based on religion, against the suppression of the firearms registry, in favour of assisted suicide, of the suppression of the senate, of mandatory bilingualism at the Supreme Court, has nothing against high taxation levels and fiercely protects its cultural independence.
Finally, Canada is rather united against some issues – from coast to coast people wish marijuana to remain illegal, and surprisingly deficit reduction (whatever the cost) and federal involvement in the economy generate the same reactions across the country – yet strongly disunited on others – it is hard to summarize its position on gay marriage, for example.
These answers are surprising and sometimes go against the most widely broadcast messages, yet they are also interesting leads for a government which must now rule a country firmly entrenched in apparently irreconcilable positions. By focusing on shared values, it could be possible to strengthen the country’s unity – yet ignoring them could widen the chasm between the founding nations of Canada.