Nearly two-thirds of Quebecers support public-sector ban on religious symbols, poll finds

Not much new here:
Most Quebecers are in favour of banning public-sector workers from wearing religious symbols, according to a CROP poll released ahead of the first legislative session under a Coalition Avenir Québec government.

But a separate survey by Vox Pop Labs, conducted following the Oct. 1 election, suggests Quebecers may be more divided when it comes to the details of how such proposals should be implemented.

Premier François Legault indicated after last month’s election that he will seek to bar civil servants in positions of authority from wearing religious symbols such as the kippa and hijab.

Not only would this apply to police officers, judges and Crown prosecutors, but also to school teachers, Legault said.

He justified his decision by saying it was the “position of a majority of Quebecers.”

The CROP poll, taken between Nov. 14 and 19, estimated that 72 per cent of Quebecers supported banning visible religious symbols for judges, 71 per cent supported banning them for prosecutors and police officers and 65 per cent backed extending the ban to public-school teachers.

CROP also found widespread support (55 per cent) for leaving the crucifix in the National Assembly, another of Legault’s promises. Twenty-eight per cent wanted to see it removed.

More divided on specifics

Alain Giguère, CROP’s president, said the results indicated unprecedentedly high levels of support for banning religious symbols.

“I think we can conclude that the average Quebecer really wants to remove religion from the public sphere, especially for people who hold positions of authority,” Giguère said.

“The numbers are high but they are the product of a public discussion that has lasted since Bouchard-Taylor,” he said, referring to the public commission into reasonable accommodation that wrapped up in 2008.

One of the commission’s key recommendations was that civil servants in positions of authority shouldn’t be allowed to wear visible religious symbols. That, however, did not include teachers.

CROP’s findings are based on an internet panel of 1,000 people. They were asked which government professions should be subject to a ban on religious symbols. The questionnaire did not specify which symbols would be at issue.

When data science firm Vox Pop Labs recently asked Quebecers more detailed questions by about the specific religious symbols they object to, and in which professions, the answers varied widely.

More divided on specifics

Vox Pop, which operates Vote Compass for CBC and Radio-Canada, surveyed 4,000 people about identity issues in the month after the election.

Respondents were shown images of various types of religious clothing and symbols and asked to choose different situations where they should be banned.

The results suggested high levels of support — 87 per cent — for preventing police officers and judges from wearing the burka, a full body covering with only a mesh screen for the eyes.

But that number dropped to around 65 per cent for the turban and kippa.

The Vox Pop findings also suggested Quebecers are, in fact, divided about what religious symbols teachers should be allowed to wear in the classroom.

The kippa was opposed by 49 per cent, the turban by 51 per cent, the hijab by 52 per cent and a large cross by 53 per cent.

Vox Pop summarized its findings by noting a majority of survey participants — 55 per cent — backed the so-called Bouchard-Taylor consensus.

The research firm, though, also concluded that there is little support — only 41 per cent — for extending those limits to teachers, which the CAQ is proposing to do.

Moreover, the Vox Pop findings found higher levels of support for removing the crucifix from the National Assembly than CROP.

They recorded 50 per cent of respondents saying they opposed its presence in the legislature, compared to 45 per cent who were OK with it there.

A Mainstreet poll published two weeks ago, meanwhile, found 42 per cent support for removing the crucifix, compared to the 50 per cent who preferred that it remain.

The National Assembly will begin a two-week session on Tuesday that will be the first opportunity for the CAQ to advance its legislative agenda since it was elected in October with a decisive majority.

Legault said recently his government will likely wait until next year to table legislation on religious symbols.

CROP poll. Results published by CBC Nov. 26, 2018. (Roberto Rocha/CBC)

Source: Nearly two-thirds of Quebecers support public-sector ban on religious symbols, poll finds

Aeroplan member offended by survey asking provocative questions on immigration, male dominance | CBC News

What is more surprising in this story is that CROP, the pollster in questions, had such a blind spot with respect to these questions in a customer survey.

In a values or politics survey, these or more subtle variants are normal and uncontroversial but for a loyalty program that aims to attract as many possible members?:

Aeroplan is deleting all data collected from a recent online survey and offering an apology to anyone who found it offensive, after it sparked a complaint from one of its members.

The survey included controversial questions that asserted immigration was harmful, suggested males were superior and that traditional marriage was the only way to form a family.

Aeroplan’s owner, Aimia, hired a market research company to create the survey intended to help the company improve its loyalty program. However, Aimia says it failed to properly review the questionnaire before distributing it to members this month.

Some of the more than 80 questions probed members’ thoughts on shopping and brands. But others asked their level of agreement or disagreement on provocative statements such as:

  • Overall, there is too much immigration. It threatens the purity of the country.
  • Getting married and having children is the only real way of having a family.
  • The father of the family must be master in his own house.
  • Whatever people say, men have a certain natural superiority over women, and nothing can change this.

The contentious questions offended Lacey Willmott, who complained to Aeroplan after taking the survey last week.

“I was alarmed and extremely concerned,” said the PhD geography student at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ont.

In an email, Aeroplan offered her 100 bonus miles to take a “shopping and life habits” survey. It said the results would only be used to help enhance the program.

So she was shocked when she encountered questions on hot-button topics such as gay marriage, government’s role in society and family values.

“I thought, ‘Wow, this is really problematic,'” said Willmott, who wondered what the questions had to do with Aeroplan’s rewards program.

She could opt to “totally disagree” to any statement she didn’t like. But that didn’t appease Willmott, who felt some of the questions had sexist or racist undertones, such as the one on whether immigration threatens the “purity” of Canada.

“I was horrified when I saw that,” she said. “That implants the idea in my mind that immigration could somehow affect the purity of the country.”

Where’s my data going?

She also worried about how the data collected for these sensitive topics would be used.

Her concerns were heightened due to the recent scandal involving Cambridge Analytica. The consulting firm was reported to have harvested Facebook data of 50 million Americans to develop ways to influence potential Trump supporters in the last U.S. election.

“Is this actually for Aeroplan, or is Aeroplan collecting this data for someone else?” said Willmott.

Turns out, all the data was collected solely for Aeroplan by Montreal-based market research firm, CROP.  The company says it was gauging the attitudes and values of Aeroplan members, so that the rewards program could better serve them.

Aeroplan members collect rewards they can redeem for travel and other products. (Aeroplan)
CROP’s president Alain Giguere says he asked some bold questions simply to help Aeroplan better understand its members’ points of view.

“Are we dealing with modern people or are we dealing with very traditional people?” he said. “The goal of it is really to understand all the sensitivities of your audience.”

Giguere says, like it or not, many Canadians have conservative views on some issues.

According to his own research, in August 2017, when Canada was experiencing an influx of asylum seekers, 45 per cent of the 6,000 Canadians CROP surveyed agreed with the statement: “Overall, there is too much immigration. It threatens the purity of the country.”

Giguere says he’s been asking these contentious questions in market research surveys for decades, and that people are free to oppose any statements they find offensive.

“You just have to disagree and we will know that you are a modern person,” he said. “This is a very scientific process.”

Wiping the data

Aeroplan’s owner, however, has a different viewpoint. Aimia pledged to delete the data collected and offered an apology after being contacted by CBC News about Willmott’s complaint.

The Toronto-based company said it should have taken a closer look at the questionnaire before distributing it.

“I was surprised by the questions myself,” said spokesperson Cheryl Kim in an email. “After looking into it, there are aspects of the survey that don’t meet the standards we hold ourselves to in terms of the kind of information we gather.”

The news was welcomed by Willmott, who contemplated cutting ties with Aeroplan if it didn’t take action.

“Hopefully, they are more careful with that in the future,” she said.

CROP isn’t happy with the outcome. Giguere says he still doesn’t understand what all the ruckus is about.

“I think it’s a big drama for nothing.”

via Aeroplan member offended by survey asking provocative questions on immigration, male dominance | CBC News

Les jeunes et la souveraineté: la génération «Non»

Pretty amazing poll regarding Quebec youth and lack of support for sovereignty. Sobering for the PQ and Bloc, and seems to confirm their fears that sovereignty is a dream of an older generation:

La firme CROP a sondé 500 personnes âgées de 18 à 24 ans pour le compte de La Presse. Le parti le plus populaire auprès de la jeune génération est le Parti libéral, à 34%. Québec solidaire et la Coalition avenir Québec arrivent ex aequo au deuxième rang, à 22% et 23%. Le PQ ferme la marche avec un maigre 16%.

De même, 69% des répondants auraient voté Non à un référendum sur la souveraineté. À 31%, le Oui «a atteint un plancher», commente Youri Rivest, de la firme CROP. «Quand la souveraineté se situe à moins de 30%, cest très faible.»

Le débat sur lavenir du Québec est «dépassé», croient 65% des jeunes. La même proportion pense que le Québec ne deviendra jamais un pays souverain. Pourtant, 44% des jeunes estiment que le projet est réaliste et 42% trouvent quil suscite l’enthousiasme.

Pas surprenant que les jeunes soient contre la souveraineté, puisquils semblent très attachés au Canada. Les deux tiers des répondants jugent en effet que le fédéralisme canadien comporte plus davantages que dinconvénients pour le Québec. La même proportion croit que les Québécois ont des valeurs communes avec les autres Canadiens. Et 68% affirment quêtre canadien «fait partie» de leur identité.

Les jeunes et la souveraineté: la génération «Non» | Katia Gagnon | Politique québécoise.

Xavier Dolan, the young QC director, also reflected this view, just prior to winning at Cannes:

“Should we win anything at all, I mean I’m from Quebec and Quebec is in Canada … Whatever my political views are or standpoints, I feel like my movie is very Québécois. But it would certainly be an international victory.”…

“For me, it’s not about a country or a province or old dilemmas or wars — that, my generation doesn’t associate with or relate with anymore.”

Don Macpherson: Xavier Dolan gets it right about young Quebecers’ politics