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a black and white photo of a boy running through a field carrying a Scottish flag, which is coloured

What does his future hold? / Photo: Neil Winton, Flickr

Quebec looks to Scotland, but not really

September 15, 2014 — 

On September 18 the people of Scotland face a difficult decision: do they remain a part of the United Kingdom or do they become independent.

At the core of the Scottish referendum is what will make people better off financially, staying or going.

If they choose the latter it’s uncertain what currency they would use, if they would be a part of the European Union, and what it means for their economy. Throughout the summer, the polls suggested that 59% of Scots wanted to stay, but this did not deter the Yes campaign, and in the days leading up to the vote, the Yes campaign was leading in some polls. The Scottish Yes camp is being watched by some Quebeckers.

Royce Koop, a political science professor at the University of Manitoba, suspects Quebec separatists will have some interest in this.

“There’s probably a few elite people, like certain journalists or politicians or business interests, who will follow this, but the general Quebec populace is probably ignoring it,” he says.

Quebec sovereignty seems to be in a dormant state, Koop says. Those watching are mostly looking to see what tactics the Scots Yes campaign used, and of them what worked and what didn’t.

“What I find interesting and admirable is how straightforward the Scottish referendum question is compared to what Quebec put forward.”

The Scottish question: ‘Should Scotland be an independent country? Yes/No.’

The English version of the 1995 Quebec referendum question: “Do you agree that Quebec should become sovereign, after having made a formal offer to Canada for a new Economic and Political Partnership, within the scope of the Bill respecting the future of Quebec and of the agreement signed on June 12, 1995? Yes or No.”

The Quebec result? Of those voting, 49.42% voted “Yes” and 50.56% voted “No”.

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