OTTAWA-Most Canadians doubt the federal government will resolve the nation's unity problems within the next year, a new poll shows.
But at the same time Canadians don't believe the continuing constitutional wrangling will edge the country closer to dissolution.
The Angus Reid-Southam News poll shows Canadians appear to be taking the constitutional issue philosophically, expecting little drama in a year the Quebec government has pledged to hold a referendum on sovereignty and the federal government promised to produce a package to save the nation.
Asked how they believe the constitutional issue will evolve in 1992--the so-called "Year of Decision" for national unity--59 per cent of Canadians said the country would be facing the same problems at the end of the year as at the beginning.
Fifteen per cent said the country would be closer to breaking up at the end of the year and 23 per cent said they expect some progress on keeping the nation together.
Surprisingly, expectations are almost identical among Canadians living in Quebec and those outside the province.
But Quebecers continue to view the current federal constitutional package, now being studied by a parliamentary committee, with more skepticism than people in other provinces.
While a large majority (61 per cent) of Canadians who live outside Quebec say they would rather take Ottawa's proposals than lose Quebec, Quebecers are almost evenly divided on the take-it-or-leave-it question.
In Quebec, 46 per cent would choose separation over the 28 proposals table by the federal government. On the other hand, 42 per cent would accept the package, a drop of four percentage points from a month earlier.
The proposals include provisions for recognizing the province as a distinct society, reforming the Senate, opening negotiations for native self-government as well as measures to establish an economic union administered by Ottawa.
The survey of 1,502 Canadian adults was conducted between Dec. 18 and Jan. 3 and is considered accurate plus or minus 2.5 percentage points within a 95-per-cent certainty. The margin of error is greater when determining regional views.
MONTREAL-An increasing number of Canadians--67 per cent--believe the U.S. has too much influence on the Canadian way of life, a new poll shows. In 1956, the figure was only 27 per cent.
(text of January 10, 1992 The Province article)
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