Liberal supporters against the appointment of Amira Elghawaby

Liberal supporters against the appointment of Amira Elghawaby

Liberal supporters against the appointment of Amira Elghawaby

Photo: Sean Kilpatrick The Canadian Press Barely 15% of Quebecers support the appointment of Amira Elghawaby as Canada's special representative in the fight against Islamophobia.

Marco Bélair-Cirino and Laurianne Croteau

March 1, 2023

  • Canada

The appointment of Amira Elghawaby as Canada's special representative in charge of the fight against Islamophobia tears not only Quebec MPs, but also Quebec supporters of the Liberal Party of Canada (PLC): 39% of them disapprove, while only 25% approve, reveals a Léger-Le Devoir poll.

“There is a problem there. Mr. Trudeau cannot even rely on his own constituents. It's a controversial decision,” said Éric Normandeau, consulting strategist at Léger.

Barely 15% of Quebecers — all political stripes combined — support Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's choice to entrust this role to Ms. Elghawaby, who had previously written, for example, that “the majority of Quebecers seem influenced not by the primacy of right, but out of anti-Muslim sentiment”. The government of François Legault had demanded his resignation mainly because of these controversial remarks, a proposal swept aside by Ottawa.

In return, 49% of respondents disapprove of the appointment of Amira Elghawaby, who is in force since last February 20.

Finally, 36% of those surveyed preferred not to take a position, which is surprising considering “the big, big, big media hype surrounding this”, notes Éric Normandeau.

He sees in this rate of high abstention “more unease than misunderstanding” of the case from more than one member of Leger's web panel (LEO) consulted for the occasion. “That doesn't mean they haven't heard of it. It means that it can be a complex subject […] They are not able to form an opinion,” he explains.

Bloc Québécois supporters were more likely to express their opinion: 3% of them think that Mr. Trudeau made a “good decision”, and 80% think that he made a “bad decision”. It is “a workhorse that is good for the Bloc leader, Yves-François Blanchet, and the Bloc deputation,” says Éric Normandeau.

Where is the Poilievre effect?

With 33% and 31% of the voting intentions respectively, the PLC and the Bloc Québécois are neck and neck in Quebec, a picture comparable to that of the September 2021 election results, where 34% and 32% of the votes went to them. assigned. The Conservative Party of Canada (CPC; 15%) and the New Democratic Party (13%) are lagging behind them.

Pierre Poilievre's CPC is less popular than the party of Erin O'Toole in the last ballot (15% in February 2023, compared to 19% in September 2021). “There is no wave of sympathy for the new Conservative leader,” Éric Normandeau says bluntly.


Divided on health transfers

Nearly half of Quebecers support François Legault's decision to accept the “final” offer to transfer $46 billion over 10 years to fund health networks made by his counterpart Justin Trudeau. After calling the amount “grossly insufficient,” the premiers bowed down and signed the deal, which came with conditions on how the money would be spent.

Quebec Liberal Party voters are the most likely to support the federal-provincial agreement (72% satisfied) — even though the party's interim leader, Marc Tanguay, slams it whenever he gets the chance — while those of the Parti Québécois are the most critical (65% say they are dissatisfied). Supporters of François Legault rank second among groups of voters most unfavorable to the Prime Minister's decision to accept without much reluctance that Ottawa does not fund 35% of the costs of the health system, as requested. (44% are dissatisfied).

Notwithstanding provision

The Léger firm also probed the hearts of Quebecers on the use of the notwithstanding provision of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by the federal Parliament or a provincial assembly, such as the National Assembly of Quebec. It shows that 35% of Quebecers find it a “bad idea that Parliament or a legislature can exempt some of its laws from the application of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms”. On the other hand, 29% see it as a “good idea”.

Please note, this is a “theoretical debate”, says Éric Normandeau. According to him, the results would be quite different if people had been polled on the use of the notwithstanding provision to shelter a specific bill such as that on the secularism of the Quebec state (Bill 21). or that on the official and common language of Quebec, French (Bill 96) of legal challenges. “When Bills 21 and 96 come back into the news because cases will be heard in court, most likely we will have different results on the use of the notwithstanding clause. Proponents of “government by judges” or “parliamentary sovereignty” have “a lot of pedagogy to do” to explain the basics of the notwithstanding clause, he believes. Until then, “it risks a debate of experts, because people do not understand what it is about”.

The probe also reveals that Quebecers are divided on the presence of unidentified objects in North American airspace. Three Chinese balloons that were not allowed to fly over Canada and the United States have been shot down in the past month. The proportion of respondents who say they are worried (44%) is almost equal to that of those who do not care (47%). “People have moved on,” says Éric Normandeau.

Finally, it's “no surprise” that 62% of Quebecers believe that Roxham Road should be closed, where nearly 40,000 asylum seekers passed through last year to enter Canada.