Thirty years after the first sovereignty referendum, a majority of Quebecers say they feel the question of Quebec sovereignty has been settled, a poll released by a new federalist think tank suggests.
The CROP poll, conducted on behalf of the Federal Idea, suggests 58 per cent of Quebecers feel the issue is settled, while 26 per cent feel it is more relevant than ever.
The poll also suggests most Quebecers are reluctant to label themselves. The province seems divided into four groups, according to the poll, with 22 per cent of respondents describing themselves as federalist, 24 per cent as sovereigntist, 22 per cent as partly both and 25 per cent as neither.
"Quebecers [are telling] our politicians, 'Well, this is not the issue that concerns us today,'" said André Pratte, a Federal Idea spokesman and editor in chief of the La Presse newspaper.
"That is very important because in Quebec the politcal landscape is still shaped by this issue. The two main parties identify themselves first and foremost by their option on the constitution. One is federalist, the other is separatist."
Although most Quebecers seemed satisfied with the constitutional status quo, many are unhappy with relations between the federal and provincial government, the poll indicates.
Fifty-six per cent of those polled said they feel disputes between Quebec and the rest of Canada are rarely resolved to the satisfaction of both parties.
Fifty-seven per cent said they believe the survival of the French language is less secure today than it was 30 years ago.
'It is always going to be an endless debate as far as I can see. But this is what Quebec is all about.' — Pierre Arcand, Quebec international relations minister
Pollster Alain Giguère said these two issues could help explain the continued popularity of the Bloc Québécois at the federal level.
"They are defending the interests of Quebec —this is why Quebecers love them so much," Giguère said.
Federal Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon credited a "a lot of hard work by a number of governments over the last 30 years" for having helped "turn the tide" away from sovereignty.
But Pierre Arcand, Quebec's international relations minister, said he doesn't expect the debate will ever die.
"It is always going to be an endless debate as far as I can see," he said. "But this is what Quebec is all about."
A spokesperson for the Parti Québécois said the party has nothing to learn from a poll by a federalist organization, adding that other polls indicate 40 per cent of Quebecers would vote for sovereignty.The poll was conducted through an online panel between April 15 and April 22. A total of 1,000 surveys were completed. The poll results were weighted to reflect the distribution of Quebec's adult population based on age, sex, region, language used at home, and the respondent's level of education. Since the poll was conducted using an online panel, a margin of error does not apply.