This is the true strength of SEPARATISM
and an astonishing of French want to keep are still Canadians it together undecided heard of favor separatism splitting up Canada right now
The percentages above are the most striking figures from the first accurate measure ever taken of separatism in Quebec: a special study commissioned jointly by Maclean’s, Le Magazine Maclean, the CBC-TV program Inquiry and the social scientists of Montreal’s Groupe de Recherche Sociale. Under the direction of the Groupe scientists, intervieivers questioned 1,000 French Canadians. Their answers were fed into IBM machines, and the results are published here and on the next five pages. They are broadcast for the first time on Inquiry, at 10 p.m., Oct. 21. The personal side of this, the most important story in Canada today, is brought to light in a remarkable exchange of letters between two Canadian writers, beginning on page 19
The concept of an independent French-Canadian state, entirely separated from the rest of Canada, is held by a very small minority in Quebec. — THE VICTORIA DAILY TIMES, AUG. 24, 1963.
THAT IDEA — which the editorial writer of the Victoria Times is far from being the only English Canadian to hold — is what comforts most of us when we read about renewed outbreaks of separatism in Quebec. And even the worst scaremongers among the writers who have described the rise of nationalism and separatism in the past couple of years have admitted that the movement is, still, a minority one. But how big a minority? Who makes it up? What are its effects? Is it growing or shrinking? Can it eventually win its cause?
To a large extent, Canada’s future as a nation — or as two nations — depends on the answer to these and the many other questions about separatism.
This summer, Maclean’s, Le Magazine Maclean, and the producers of the CBC-TV program Inquiry set out to find the answers. We spoke to the Groupe de Recherche Sociale, the Montreal social scientists who have been studying, for themselves and for commercial clients, various aspects of the Quebec scene for more than five years. It was on the Groupe’s research that the Quebec Liberal party based its provincial election campaign in 1960, and in no small way the Liberal victory of that year —the beginning of Quebec’s revolution of the 1960s — was dependent on what the Groupe told then about the mood of the people. Before the 1962 election, the continued overleaf
Groupe predicted the precise percentage of the electorate that would support the Liberals in their bid to remain in power. (The precision was a little coincidental; no analyst will pretend to come closer than 2%, basing his predictions on a small sample.)
Our first meetings with the sociologists were held in July, when we roughed out the line of attack for questioning. We settled on a sample of 1,000 — huge by statistical standards. (The Gallup Poll sometimes predicts election results with samples of only 400.) We drew up a questionnaire with more than 130 questions. The questionnaire was printed, and distributed to the independent research firms who were to handle the actual interviews. The sample was chosen at random from electoral lists. Persons whose mother tongue is not French were not interviewed. By late August, the results were pouring in to the Groupe’s Montreal office. Information from the completed questionnaires was transferred to punch cards. The cards were fed into IBM machines. Of the original 1,000, six questionnaires were shown by a careful cross-checking system to have been “cooked” — either by the interviewer or the respondent. Another seven were returned too late for tabulation. By mid-September, from the remaining 987, we had our answers.
Thirteen percent of the French Canadians who live in Quebec are separatists. To a question about whether they, personally, are for or against the separation of Quebec from the rest of Canada, they answered: for. Of them, 4.6% said they are “absolutely, definitely” in favor of separation; 4.2% said “definitely”; 4% said “more or less definitely,” and the remaining small fraction said “not definitely.” This 13% is, of course, a small minority — although it represents more than 300,000 people — but it is also an influential one. As the tables on these pages show, the strength of the separatists lies principally among the young, bettereducated people of Quebec. One of every four professionals is a separatist; so is one of every four persons making over $6,000 a year. The strength is also clearly in the cities: in Montreal, the percentage of separatists jumps to nearly 16; outside Montreal, it is only 11. Clearly, the people who now say they are separatists arc the people who lead opinion rather than follow it.
The most surprising fact the survey revealed was that 21% of French Canadians have never heard of separatism at all. To the question, “Are you aware that there continued overleaf
Who’s for it? Who’s against it? Wha
THE TYPICAL SEPARATIST: YOUNG. WELL EDUCATED, EARNING GOOD MONEY
This table is taken from an analysis of the answers to several questions. The percentages express the number of people in each group who declared themselves as favoring separatism.
BY AGE 18-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60-69 70 or -f 17% 13% 10% 14% '% 4% BY SEX Men 16% Women 10% BY WHAT THEY DO Managers, Professionals ’ senior civil and similar servants, small Salesmen Skilled workers groups businessmen and clerks and craftsmen 25% 10% 13% 12% Unskilled workers Students Farmers 16% 25% 8% BY HOW WELL THEY’RE EDUCATED Primary Secondary Special or College or school school technical training university 11% 11% 29% 26% BY INCOME 0-$l,999 $2,000-$2,999 $3,000-$3,999 9% 12% 14% $4,000-$4,999 $5,000-$5,999 $6,000 and over 14% 13% 26%
AT THE OTHER EXTREME: THOSE WHO HAVEN’T HEARD OF SEPARATISM
The trends apparent in the table above are equally apparent i?i a chart of the people who admit they’ve never heard of separatism — but these trends go the other way. The older a person is, the less likely he is to be aware of what’s happening; 27% of the people in their sixties haven’t yet heard about separatism. Similarly, 30% of those with only primary education are still ignorant of the movement, as are an astonishing 45% of farmers. In every way, a young male living in the city is several times more likely to know about or be involved in separatism than is an older woman living in the country.
NEARLY 60% HAVE JOINED IN THE LAST TWO YEARS
There is no accurate measure of how fast people are leaving the separatist movement, but they’re joining quickly. Those who said they favored separatism ivere asked when they’d made up their minds:
Less than six months ago * 5% An imprecise number of months ago 5% From six months to a year ago 13% From a year to two years ago 23% From two to four years ago 16% From four to ten years ago 3% Ten years or more ago 8% An imprecise number of years ago Don’t know 11%
THEIR PLANS VARY, BUT THEY SHUN VIOLENCE
The respondents who said they were in favor of separatism were asked how they thought it ought to be brought about. Their answers favored democratic means. To answer another question, about what, they considered the least favorable way to achieve separatism, 78% of the separatists replied “violence.” They favored:
Running separatist candidates in 42% a provincial election Holding a referendum 39% Staging a coup d’état 8% Violence 0% Other ways 4% Don’t know or no answer 7%
'anything-could make them change their minds?
THEIR MINDS ARE MADE UP, WHATEVER OTHERS SAY The separatists tv ere asked whether they would change their minds if they learned that the majority of the population was against separatism. They answered:
Don’t know or Yes No no answer 16% 64% 20%
THE UNDECIDED: MANY LEAN TOWARD SEPARATISM One of the largest groups in the province — 23% — is made up of people who haven’t yet made up their minds. The researchers asked them a number of questions to determine which way they are now leaning. *The Maclean’s survey was taken when the separatist leader Marcel Chaput was carrying on his hunger strike to raise funds in Quebec.
Don’t know or Yes No no answer Do you tend to favor 28% 37% 35% separatism? Are you closer to it than you 38% 22% 40% were a year ago? Have you ever given any money to a separatist 2%* 0% organization? Would you give some under some 22% 75% 3% circumstances? Would you vote for a separatist candidate in 17% 29% 54% your riding?
In Montreal, 16% of the people are separatists. Most are males.
Outside Montreal, 2U% have not heard of it.
THE ANTISEPARATISTS: OPPOSITION STIFFENS The largest group of all is the U3% of respondents who are opposed to separatism. Here’s what they say:
Would you say you are closer to separatism or farther away from it today than you were a year ago? Don’t know or Closer Farther no answer 9% 22% What are you opposed to most: the idea of separatism itself or the movements that you hear about? The Both equally The idea movements or no answer 46% 19% 35% Would you leave the province if it separated from the rest of Canada? Don’t know or Yes No no answer 6% 83% 11% Would you change your convictions about separatism if you learned that the majority of the population believed in it? Don’t know or Yes No no answer 17% 67% 16%
are people in the province of Quebec who are working actively to obtain the separation of Quebec from the rest of the Canada?”, they answered: no. This figure underlines that no matter how far the province has moved in its recent great leap forward, much of Quebec is still deeply rooted in parochialism. On the Iles-dc-la-Madeleine, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, there is a French-speaking population of more than eleven thousand. The only television they can see is in English; they hear one radio station. La Presse, the Montreal daily that one would assume the islanders would read, circulates only forty-five copies there. In Montreal the figure for those who haven't heard of separatism is only 17%; in the rest of the province, 25%. Women proved much more ignorant than men (just as more men than women are separatists): 17% of the men haven't
heard of separatism, compared with 26% of the women.
Still more evidence of how remote many of the people of Quebec are from the movement that is shaking their province comes from a table of public personalities in the questionnaire. Interviewers read eight names to the respondents and asked which of them they thought were separatists. These names vary from Normand Hudon, the cartoonist at La Presse, to Cardinal Paul-Emile Léger, and they include four leaders of separatist movements. Eighty-six percent of the people said they know that Marcel C'haput, one of the separatist leaders, is a separatist, but 25% think Hudon, who is not one, is. Seven percent said they think the cardinal is a separatist. Of the eight names, the two named least frequently as separatists arc, in fact, separatist leaders. In general, the chart shows that the better known a French Canadian is the more likely he is to be thought of as a separatist. (A breakdown of these figures also shows that the separatists themselves are guilty of some wishful thinking: 19% of them think
Cardinal Léger is a separatist, and 21% think Gérard Pelletier, the editor of La Presse and an articulate opponent of separatism, supports their cause.)
The figure for “undecided” is higher in Montreal than in the rural areas of the province: 26% compared with 20%. The trend among the undecided seems to be toward separatism: 38% of them said they are closer to separatism than they were a year ago, against 22% who said they are farther away. But 38% of the undecided said that if they had to make a decision now' they would not favor continued
What would separation mean to Quebei
EVEN THE SEPARATISTS AREN’T SURE SEPARATION WOULD SOLVE QUEBEC’S ECONOMIC ILLS... Although Quebec’s unemployment rate, one of Canada’s highest, and its wage scale, one of the lowest, are generally regarded as root causes of separatism, not many French Canadians believe they would, be greatly alleviated by separation. The number who do see separation as an economic boost, in fact, is not even as great, as the number of French Canadians who declare themselves to be separatists or to favor it. Here are the ansivers given by the entire sample to five questions about ivhat would happen if Quebec did pull out of Confederation. The don’t-know answer column includes the 21% of French Canadians who haven’t heard of separatism.
If Quebec were to separate do you think your income would be: Much About Much Don’t know or greater Greater the same Less less no answer 1% 9% 38% 18% 5% 29% Do you think your chances of getting ahead in your job would be: Much About Much Don’t know or greater Greater the same Less less no answer 1% 10% 47% 11% 3% 28% What do you think the rate of unemployment would be, compared to what it is now: Much About Much Don’t know or greater Greater the same Less less no answer 7' 15% 30% 15% 4% 29% Would the standard of living for French Canadians, compared to what it is now, be: Much About Much Don’t know or greater Greater the same Less less no answer 2% 13% 34% 19% 4% '% Would prices be: Much About Much Don’t know or greater Greater the same Less less no answer 9% 21% 35% 10% 1% 24%
MOST PEOPLE THINK THE FLQ JUST SOUGHT PUBLICITY
All the respondents ivere asked what regard as the that prompted Front de Libération Québec to employ lence. The five c o m m o n answers iv ere:
To draw attention to themselves 27% To win the separation of Quebec 18% To frighten English Canadians 12% To disrupt the public order To promote communism in Quebec 6%
...BUT EVEN SOME ANTI-SEPARATISTS ADMIT SEPARATISM HAS ALREADY DONE SOME GOOD
Don t know Question Do you believe that separatism has important Yes No or no answer doesn’t apply consequences for French Canada? 45 O/ 21% 13% 21% Do you think in general that these conseGood Bad Don’t know quences have been good or bad? (Asked of those who answered “yes” to the preceding 57% 29% 14%
Here’s what the French Canadians themselves think
MANY BELIEVE SEPARATISM IS ONLY “THE FASHION” Not many French Canadians actually know separatists, but nearly everyone has opinions about who is in the movement and what their motives are.
Is separatism spoken of frequently in your crowd? Question Very From time doesn’t often Often to time Rarely Never apply 8% 10% 21% 23% 17% 21% Do you have friends or relatives whom you see very often who are in favor of separatism? Question doesn’t Yes No Don’t know apply 26% 50% 3% 21% Among the people who have become separatists, do you believe that there are some who have done so because it’s à la mode? Question Yes No Don’t know doesn’t apply 31% 37% 11% 21% Do you think your parish priest is in favor of separatism? Question Yes No Don’t know doesn’t apply 2% 30% 47% 21% What about school teachers in your parish or quartier? Question Yes No Don’t know doesn’t apply 16% 44% 21% Or the journalists of the newspapers you read? Question Yes No Don’t know doesn’t apply 34% 22% 23% 21%
ARE POLITICIANS SEPARATISTS? NO ONE KNOWS-BUT THEY GUESS... Not many French Canadians believe isn't sure—but quite a few suspect their own members of the provincial some members of the Lesage cabilegislature are in favor of separatnet. Cabinet ministers seen/ to be ism—although a substantial number suspected in order of their fame.
Do you believe your own MLA Do you believe there are ministers in the Quebec favors separatism? government who favor separatism? Don’t question Don’t doesn’t No answer or Question Yes No know doesn’t apply Several A few No know apply 3% 35% 40% 22% 5% 34% 13% 27% 21% Which of the following, in your opinion, favors separatism? René Lévesque, Paul Gérin-Lajoie, Pierre Laporte, Bernard Pinard, Minister of Minister of Minister of Minister of Natural Resources Youth Municipal Affairs Roads 27% 8% 6% 2% If there are cabinet ministers who favor separatism, what should Mr. Lesage do with them? Leave Don't know Question them Fire Encourage Promote Demote or no doesn’t alone them them them them answer apply 32% 16% 9% 4% 4% 14% 21%
THE MAJORITY SEES SEPARATISM AS CLOSER TO ITS GOAL All the French Canadians in the sample who had heard of separatism were asked if they believe the separatists are closer to their objective today than they were a year ago.
Don’t know or Question Yes No no answer doesn’t apply 36% 30% 13% 21%
...AND THEY PROVE A SEPARATISTLIBERAL PARTY WOULD DO WELL Only 13% of the population is sepaare evident in the answers to a ratist right now. But if the Liberals question about whether the respondwere separatists they would swell ent would vote for a Liberal candithe number to at least 20c/c. The date who supported separatism and Union Nationale would attract only whether he'd vote for a UN man who an additional lc/c. These figures supported separatism.
Probably Certainly No Certainly Probably Undecided not not answer Liberal 10% 10% 20% 11% 25% 24% Union Nationale 5% 21% 14% 27% 24%
The same trend was even more proprovincial parties. The respondents nounced in a question about four of were asked whether they'd support the best-known political figures in these men's parties if the men themQuebec, two from each of the major selves came out for separatism.
Would support No answer or his party Would not Don’t know doesn’t apply René Lévesque, Liberal 23% 36% 17% 24% Jean Lesage, Liberal 22% 38% 16% 24% Jean-Jacques Bertrand, UN 16% 35% 25% 24% Daniel Johnson, UN 13% 46% 17% 24%
separatism, against only 25% who said they would. And of those who said they are against separatism, 69% said they are farther away from it today than they were a year ago.
The anti-separatist 43%, by contrast with the separatist and “neverheard-of-it” groups, fits no clear pattern. There arc as many antiseparatists among the young as among the old, as many among the educated people as among the uneducated. among the highly paid as among the low. In Montreal, 41% of the population is opposed to separatism; in the rest of the province, 44%.
About the only factor in the survey that the scientists from the Groupe could control statistically was the straight population ratio hetween Montreal and the rest of the province — two people out of five live in Montreal. Otherwise they relied on statistical averages. When the figures were analysed, everything checked. Age distribution — no one under eighteen was interviewed — was almost exactly the same as in the population as a whole. So were income levels, educational levels, and all the other cross-checks that statisticians use. Is, then, the Maclean s-CBC survey an accurate measure of how the people of French Canada might vote in a referendum on separation?
The answer is no, with qualifications. Although it can probably be assumed that the 13% who said they are in favor of separatism would vote for a separatist party, and the 43% who said they are opposed would vote against that party, a great deal could happen before a referendum or an election were actually held. For one thing, a campaign waged on this issue would undoubtedly sway a lot of voters — and presumably alert at least a few of those who haven’t yet heard of separation. A great deal would also depend on who was leading the separatist party, as the tables on page 17 indicate.
The phrase used throughout the questionnaire was “the separation of Quebec from the rest of Canada.’’ This is, of course, the extreme position in French Canada, and a great many other opinions about changing Confederation are possible. To test just one of them, we inserted this question on our questionnaire: “Do you consider the independence of Quebec as ( 1 ) desirable, (2) possible?” Twentysix percent of the respondents said it is both. Another 3% said it is desirable but not possible. Thirtyfour percent said it is neither, and 20% said what many of us fear: it is not desirable, but possible. ★
What do French Canadians think of nous autres?
THOSE WHO KNOW ENGLISH CANADIANS LIKE US... Whatever the roots of separatism are, they dian’s personal distrust or dislike of the obviously do not lie in the French-CanaEnglish Canadians he knows.
How often are you in contact with English-speaking people? Regularly Frequently Occasionally Rarely Never No answer doesn’t apply Question At work 15% 11% 11% 15% 28% 4% *16% «— 7% 8% 12% 23% 50% 0% 0% "These are the people who don’t go to work. How would you describe your relations with the English? Very friendly Friendly Indifferent Cool Very cool Have no relations 26% 37% 17% 2% 3% 15% Among your best friends, are there English-speaking people? Yes 37% No 63%
...BUT THEY THINK WE SOMETIMES BULLY THEM... Tivo questions from different sections of that French Canadians sometimes feel with the survey dramatize tivo of the irritations their role in Confederation.
Have you ever been refused a job because you In your opinion, when the federal government makes a don’t speak English? decision, does it concern itself with the interests of French Canadians as much as with those of English Canadians? Yes No, not Question Yes No No answer as much as much Don’t know doesn’t apply IO/ 1% 26% 45% 8% 21%
...AND THEY REAUZE WE ARE AGAINST SEPARATISM
Most of the French Canadians who have ence. But they also believe that separatism heard of the movement believe English has changed relations between the tivo Canadians regard it with, at best, indiffercultures — mostly for the better.
How do you think English Canadians react to the separatist movement? Very Very Question favorably Favorably indifferently Unfavorably unfavorably Don’t know doesn’t apply Outside Quebec 2% 18% 35% 7% 8% 21% Inside Quebec 2% 10% 15% 37% 9% 6% 21% Do you believe that because of the activities of the separatists, relations between English Canadians and French Canadians have improved or deteriorated? Stayed 01 O/ Question OI O/ Improved 25% the same 01 /O Deteriorated 16% Don’t know 1% doesn’t apply L I /O