GATINEAU, Que. - Premier Pauline Marois says she doesn't believe Quebec's anglophone and allophone communities are living in a climate of insecurity despite a recent poll suggesting the contrary.
The EKOS poll, conducted for CBC-Radio-Canada, suggested that 51 per cent of anglophones surveyed had considered leaving Quebec in the past year.
The Feb. 10-18 survey of 782 Anglos has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Including the anglophones and 223 Quebecers whose mother tongue is neither French nor English, EKOS polled 2,020 Quebecers.
Overall, 19 per cent of respondents said they had considered leaving in the past year, compared with 81 per cent who said they hadn't.
Some of the reasons cited in the poll for possibly leaving are political uncertainty, the economy and dislike of the Parti Quebecois.
Marois insisted after a business speech Thursday she didn't sense any unease in the anglophone community and that the PQ has always been respectful of the community's rights.
She pointed out that anglophones are as much Quebecois as francophones.
The premier also noted that as education minister in a previous Parti Quebecois government she had led the reorganization of the province's school boards from a religious to a linguistic basis.
"The English community is now responsible for these institutions," she said.
"I have great respect for the Anglo-Quebecers," Marois said. "This community is important."
After her media briefing in Gatineau, Que., a crew from the satirical CBC-TV show "This Hour Has 22 Minutes" tried to approach Marois to give her what was described as a "certificate of intolerance."
Marois avoided talking to the comedian and was overheard remarking to her bodyguards, "He's crazy."
The inclusiveness of the PQ government has been questioned after attempts to tighten language laws in the province and bring in a secularism charter that would forbid public-sector workers from wearing such religious garb as hijabs and kippas.
In recent days, the minister responsible the Quebec's language law has also warned that the PQ would crack down on bilingualism if the government is re-elected and in particular would point out to businesses they should drop the "bonjour-hi" greeting in favour of "bonjour" only.
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