1 For an overview of discourses around the Charter, see Lamy (2015). A growing body of literature has explored the attitudes of Quebecers toward religious minority symbols (O'Neill et al., 2015; Ferland, 2018) or the Charter of Quebec Values (Tessier and Montigny, 2016; Bilodeau et al., 2018; Ferland, 2018). Other studies have also explored attitudes toward religious accommodation (Wright et al., 2017; Dufresne et al., 2018). However, none have systematically explored the impact of holding liberal values, although O'Neill et al. (2015) show the determinant role played by feminist arguments. Moreover, in a study of the sources of support for the Charter of Quebec Values (Bilodeau et al., 2018), we found that supporters of both the Charter and the removal of the crucifix from the National Assembly of Quebec were more liberal than those who opposed the Charter. In this article, we explore whether holding liberal values has distinct attitudinal consequences inside and outside Quebec.
2 As Carmines and D'Amico (2015) note in their recent review of the literature, although earlier scholarship questioned whether ideological thinking structures mass public opinion, much contemporary work on ideology and public opinion has shifted away from a “traditional conception of ideology”—with an emphasis on opinion constraint and coherence—to a focus on the roles of core values and principles in structuring attitudes and action. Our focus on liberal values is consistent with this latter conception of ideology.
3 A Gallup Poll conducted in April 1990 found that 75 per cent of Canadians opposed allowing Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers to wear religious headwear. Opposition was the highest not in Quebec but in the Prairie provinces. See Canadian Institute of Public Opinion (1990).
4 The Stasi Commission was appointed to explore the application of the principle of laïcité in the French Republic. One of its main recommendations was to restrict the wearing of religious symbols in schools, which led to the adoption of the Loi sur les signes religieux dans les écoles publiques françaises. More broadly, the commission report stated that “the rise of new religious practices requires a renewed application of the laïcité principle.” (Commission de réflexion sur l'application du principe de laïcité dans la République, 2003: 50; our translation).
5 The survey provides samples of 1,000 respondents for each of Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia and samples of 500 respondents for other provinces, except for Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador, for which the combined sample is 400 respondents. The fieldwork was conducted by Léger Marketing. All the data from the survey, the Provincial Diversity Project, will be publicly available in the summer of 2019 through the Canadian Opinion Research Archive.
6 See the appendix for more information on the construction of variables.
7 We also asked respondents whether immigration was a threat to the Canadian culture. We use the indicator about threat to the province instead of threat to Canada because it is more salient for Quebecers and because both indicators are equally salient for other Canadians; 29 per cent of Quebecers and 28 per cent of other Canadians say that immigration threatens Canadian culture.
8 Additional analyses were also performed in which we included a variable indicating whether respondents were Parti Québécois (PQ) supporters. This allowed us to verify whether including this variable in Model I explains the gap in support between Quebec and the rest of Canada for restrictions on minority religious symbols. The results indicate that although PQ supporters are indeed more likely to support restrictions on minority religious symbols, including such a variable does not explain the greater support for restrictions on minority religious symbols observed among Quebecers, and it does not explain the unique and positive relationship between liberal values and support for restrictions on minority religious symbols observed for Quebec (results not presented).
9 Reported differences are based on predicted probabilities derived from Model I.
10 A related question is whether those with liberal values in the Quebec context also want to restrict the display of Christian/majority symbols. Quebec respondents were asked whether they strongly agree, agree, disagree or strongly disagree that the crucifix should be removed from the National Assembly. In order to verify this possibility, we examined the relationship between liberal values and support for removing the crucifix at the National Assembly. These additional analyses indicate that those with stronger liberal values in Quebec express greater support for removing the crucifix from the National Assembly (results not presented). Such findings are thus consistent with our argument that, in Quebec, demands for restrictions on minority religious symbols are not motivated simply by prejudice or xenophobia. Unfortunately, no equivalent analyses can be performed for the rest of Canada because our data do not include any question on Christian/majority symbols for respondents outside of Quebec.
11 The interaction variable between Quebec and liberal values is statistically significant and positive even when other control variables are not included in the model (results not presented). Moreover, we also verified whether the positive relationship between liberal attitudes and support for restrictions on minority religious symbols was limited to Parti Québécois (PQ) supporters only (and therefore might not extend to the entire Quebec population). To do so, we included in the model another interaction variable between PQ supporters and liberal values. These additional analyses indicate that the interaction variable PQ supporter/liberal values is not significant for any of the three different situations of restriction and that including this variable in the model does not impact on the other interaction variable Quebec/liberal attitudes. Results not presented.
12 Analyses were conducted including age, gender, education and belonging to a non-Christian religion. Including these variables does not alter the findings reported in Table 1. We did not include these variables in Table 1 because Quebec and the rest of Canada present a profile broadly comparable on these characteristics. Results not presented.
13 We do not investigate Francophones in specific provinces other than Quebec and New Brunswick because their sample is too small. We use language spoken at home, as it is more representative of the language used by respondents than mother tongue.
14 In the case of students at a public school, the p-value for difference for Francophones in Quebec is equal to .056.
15 Non-Francophones in New Brunswick also appear more supportive of restrictions in all three scenarios, but for the students scenario, the difference is only statistically significant at the .10-level.
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