Public opinion in Quebec under the Harper Conservatives

Maxime Heroux-Legault


At the beginning of their mandate, the Harper Conservatives made several attempts to convince Quebecers to support their government. They gave Quebec a voice at the UNESCO and adopted a motion recognizing Quebec as a nation. They also promised to rectify the fiscal imbalance and to not use the federal spending power in provincial jurisdictions. Yet, these attempts failed to translate into increased electoral support for the Conservatives.

Given this puzzle, the paper analyzes trends in public opinion to identify what measures promoted by the Conservative government were supported by Quebecers, and on what issues they are in disagreement. The paper also analyzes the levels of satisfaction with the federal government and democracy among Quebecers during the time period.

The results show that on most issues, Quebecers have become more distant from the Conservative government’s position over the years. On issues such as scrapping the gun registry and the place of Quebec in the federation, Quebecers disagreed more strongly with their federal government in 2011 than in 2006. Likewise, their satisfaction towards both the federal government and democracy declined during this time period. These trends explain why the Conservatives have been unable to win more votes in Quebec despite their commitment to open federalism.

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@Canadian Political Science Review (CPSR). ISSN 1911-4125