NDP threshold for Quebec secession actually less than 50 per cent

The Canadian Press
Associated Press

OTTAWA - Depending on how many showed up to vote, fewer than half of Quebec's eligible voters could trigger the breakup of the country if the NDP's proposed rules for another independence referendum were to be adopted.

The party has drawn criticism for insisting that a bare majority of 50 per cent plus one vote should be sufficient to trigger negotiations on Quebec secession.

But the threshold is actually lower than that due to the NDP's deliberate decision not to take voter turnout into account.

Toronto MP Craig Scott, author of the party's proposed "unity bill," says 50-plus-one would apply regardless of how many Quebecers actually turned out to cast ballots.

He doubts voter turnout on such a momentous question would be a problem, noting that 94 per cent of Quebecers cast ballots in the 1995 referendum.

But even with 94 per cent turnout, a bare majority would translate into only 47 per cent of eligible voters deciding the fate of the country.