Opinion Polls

Indigenous Rights Survey

The Montreal Economic Institute (MEI) commissioned Ipsos to poll Quebecers’ opinions about the rights that indigenous people should have.

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Interview (in French) with Michel Kelly-Gagnon (Midi Pile, KYK Radio, December 9, 2020)


Media release – Poll: Quebecers against special rights or a blocking right for First Nations

Montreal, December 9, 2020 – With the federal government tabling a bill last week aiming to make the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples applicable to Canada, a clear majority of Quebecers are opposed to them having special or additional rights, compared to what all Quebecers enjoy. According to an Ipsos poll commissioned by the MEI, 55% of Quebecers think Indigenous people should have the same rights as them, no more and no less.


  • 65% of Quebecers intending to vote for the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) think that Indigenous people should not have any special rights. Only among Québec Solidaire (QS) voters does a plurality of people favour special rights for Indigenous people (44%).
  • 50% of CAQ voters think it is either the provincial or the federal government that should have the final word in cases of economic projects on land claimed by First Nations. Only 28% of them think that Indigenous people should have a veto right or blocking power in these matters. In contrast, 60% of QS voters think the final word should belong to Indigenous people.
  • 72% of CAQ voters think Indigenous governments should either have the powers and level of autonomy associated with municipal governments or no more than they have now. Conversely, only 5% of them think that Indigenous people should have powers comparable to those of the federal government.

“Quebecers think it’s important for Indigenous people and non-Indigenous people to have the same rights. They are opposed, though, to special or additional rights that certain politicians seem to want to grant to First Nations,” says Michel Kelly-Gagnon, President and CEO of the MEI.

“While people are not currently aware of the potential scope of the UN’s Declaration, an obvious result of this poll is that a clear majority of Quebecers is opposed to the effects of its application in Canada,” continues Mr. Kelly-Gagnon.

“This Declaration will likely grant First Nations a de facto veto right over many important economic projects. There’s Hydro-Québec’s project to export electricity to Massachusetts, for instance, among many others. Yet it is only a minority of Quebecers who think that Indigenous people alone should make these decisions that affect all Quebecers,” concludes the MEI President.

The online poll was conducted from November 27 to December 1st, 2020 among a representative sample of 801 Quebecers aged 18 years and over.

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The Montreal Economic Institute is an independent public policy think tank. Through its publications, media appearances, and advisory services to policy-makers, the MEI stimulates public policy debate and reforms based on sound economics and entrepreneurship.


Interview requests: Maria Lily Shaw, Economist, MEI. Tel.: 514 273-0969 x 2230 / Cell. 438-728-6603 / Email: mlilyshaw@iedm.org

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