Saturday, October 30, 2010

Oct 30, 1995: Quebec referendum day

Today marks the 15th anniversary of what my research has uncovered was the closest vote in the history of independence referendums: 49.4% voting in favour of a sovereign Quebec, 50.6% voting against. The tabulation of the vote is preserved here on the website of Quebec's Director General of Elections, broken out riding by riding (ie., district by district):

As can be seen, the "Yes" campaign won most of the districts, but by relatively small majorities, with their biggest majority coming in Saguenay, with 73.3% voting in favour.  The "No" supporters were much more concentrated in a small number of districts, including Westmount where 84.8% voted against, Saint-Laurent 82.8%, Robert-Bawldwin 89.8%, D'Arcy-McGee with a remarkable 96.4% No.  These areas are all in the western neighbourhoods of Montreal, which have a large English-speaking population.  Polls showed that less than 10% of Quebecers with a first language other than French voted in favour; where that first language was English, it was much lower still.  Also delivering a high "No" vote was Pontiac, with 87.2% against.  It also has a large English-speaking population.  It is also near Ottawa and has a large number of people who work for Canada's federal government, who of course would have little to gain from an independent Quebec.

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