Justin Trudeau is emerging as the top spokesman for Canada in the event of a third referendum on sovereignty in Quebec. A new Léger poll of Quebec voters found that the Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada is seen by 27 per cent of respondents as "best positioned to defend Canadian unity in Quebec."
Mr. Trudeau comes out in front of NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair (21 per cent), with the two opposition leaders in the House of Commons easily beating Prime Minister Stephen Harper (7 per cent), who leads the Conservative Party of Canada. The leader of the Quebec Liberal Party, Philippe Couillard, is in third place at 10 per cent.
Among parties, the Liberal brand is clearly in the lead, with the provincial and federal wings gathering a combined total of 45 per cent as the political party that is best positioned to defend Canadian unity. The Liberal Party of Canada comes in first place with 23 per cent, followed by the Quebec Liberals at 22 per cent.
The NDP trails in Quebec, garnering the support of 14 per cent of respondents as a proponent of national unity. The result suggests the NDP, despite its massive victory in Quebec in the 2011 federal election, has yet to cement its place in the province as a federalist champion.
In particular, the party trails Mr. Mulcair, a fact that is likely attributable to his past career in Quebec politics and his popularity in his home province.
"Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party are 'Captain Canada.' He represents Canada in the eyes of the population, and the perception will grow as the debate over sovereignty increases," said Jean-Marc Léger, president of the Léger polling firm.
Mr. Harper's low personal score highlights the challenges he would face in a Quebec referendum campaign, with the Conservative Party seen as the best defender of unity by just 7 per cent of respondents.
The poll found 41 per cent of respondents would vote in favour of Quebec sovereignty, while 59 per cent would vote against it.