This Magazine

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More like lukewarm water?

This Magazine Staff

Interesting column from Richard Gwynn, in which he questions the conclusions of Michael Adams’ book Fire and Ice. You will recall that Adams’ book fired the hearts of nationalist Canucks last year when he claimed that polling data showed that our basic values are actually diverging from those of Americans.
Gwynn cites a new academic text, Regions Apart: The Four Societies Of Canada And The United States, which controls for societal extremes by culling the data from the ultra-religious and conservative American South and from “collectivist and social democratic Quebec.”
Time to put this baby to rest. Regardless of any other conclusions anyone wants to draw from this stuff, Quebec is not significantly more collectivist and social democratic than the rest of Canada. In fact, on most scores, it is less so. Spend any time in Quebec, and the most striking (“distinct”) feature is how individualistic the province is; the general culture of Montreal borders on the libertarian.
Three other examples:
1. Quebec was the third province in Confederation to adopt a provincial Bill of Rights, in 1975.
2. Quebec has the most private health care-delivery in the country, and it is the province that has always been in most flagrant violation of the Canada Health Act.
2b. Quebecers also demonstrate the highest support for 2-tier medical care in Canada.
3. Quebec has possibly the most regressive tuition fee structure in the country for university education.
Ok, let’s add one more:
4. Quebecers consistently demonstrate the highest support for free trade in Canada, even ahead of those on the prairies.

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