OTTAWA — Slightly more than half of Canadians in the rest of the country would rather not see Quebec split from the federation, according to a poll released Wednesday.
The results of the Abacus Data survey come as the separatist Parti Quebecois (PQ), leading in public opinion polls, is poised to take power in a September 4 election.
The PQ has vowed to try to wrest new powers and funding from the federal government in Ottawa if it wins.
Any failure could be used to bolster its separatist agenda. But observers do not expect a rush to a third referendum on sovereignty under a PQ banner.
The slight majority (52 percent) in favor of unity in the Abacus survey is up slightly from another poll conducted in February that found 49 percent "don't really care if Quebec separates from Canada."
A majority of Canadians outside of Quebec, however, said they strongly oppose giving more federal funding, powers, or special status to Quebec to keep them in the federation.
One in four of 1,795 respondents surveyed August 10-12 said they would like to see Quebec removed from the country, while 22 percent were unsure.
"With Quebec looking likely to elect a separatist PQ provincial government, a large number Canadians outside of Quebec are ready to throw Quebec out of the country," the survey's authors concluded.
That said, "most Canadians outside Quebec do not support any special treatment for Quebec with over eight in ten believing in provincial equality."
Quebec twice rejected independence from the rest of Canada in referendums in 1980 and 1995, but only by a narrow margin last time.
The previous Ipsos Reid survey noted that Quebec has lost the economic and political clout it once had within Canada, following the rise of resource-rich provinces in the West.
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