Fear of PQ win driving some anglophone Quebecers to Ontario
Published Saturday, September 1, 2012 8:54PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, September 1, 2012 11:47PM EDT
With the sovereigntist Parti Quebecois leading in the polls ahead of Tuesday’s Quebec election, some of the province’s anglophones are packing up and moving to Ontario.
Many say they are worried about the prospect of a sovereignty referendum and PQ Leader Pauline Marois's proposed plan to boost Quebec’s language law, Bill 101. If elected, Marois said she would require more businesses to draw up communications in French and limit access to English junior college known as CEGEP, among other changes.
Rebecca Collett, a realtor in Hawkesbury, Ont., near the Quebec border, says many of her recent clients have been Quebecers moving to Ontario.
With polls showing strong support for Parti Quebecois, “we’re getting twice as many phone calls,” Collett told CTV News.
“The numbers have increased substantially,” she said. “People just want to leave. They say they want to move to Canada – they don’t feel Quebec is a part of Canada.”
Barbara Rousse is among those leaving Quebec, saying she does not want to live through another PQ government.
“I’ve just had it. I’ve had it with them,” she said.
Other Quebecers seem to be taking a wait-and-see approach, real estate market observers say.
Monique Assouline, a real estate broker who works in Montreal's west end, told The Canadian Press she's had both anglophone and francophone clients tell her they're not buying a home until after the election.
"Their main fear is that the PQ government will win and that the separation issue will come back up and that the prices are going to fall down," she said.
Many fear that a PQ victory will prompt an exodus of anglophone Quebecers similar to the one that occurred after the 1976 election when the party clinched a victory for the first time.
But Paul Cardinal, the manager of market analysis at the Quebec Federation of Real Estate Boards, said he’s not aware of any hesitation in the current market.
"We haven't heard about anything," he said.
At a campaign stop on Saturday, Marois addressed English-speaking Quebecers’ concerns by saying: “We'll find ways to get along.”
She also told reporters she would work to improve education for anglophones, but didn’t offer any specifics.
Real estate data shows there has been a steady increase in housing prices in Quebec between 1980 and 2011. The only years when prices dropped in both Quebec and Canada were 1995, the year the last Quebec referendum took place, and 1996.
However, the value of Quebec homes dropped to 71 per cent of the national average last year.
With a report from CTV Montreal's Rob Lurie and files from The Canadian Press