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Good News, Bad News: Quebec Loses Status as Canada's Least Religious Province

Quebecois's notoriously low 'attachment to religion' finally bottoms out; however, other provinces have fallen to match it.

The Quebecois are no longer less religious than their peers in other Canadian provinces, according to a recent survey of religious practices among Canadians.

However, the news is a mixed blessing for religious leaders.

Residents of Quebec are now slightly more likely to feel an "attachment to religion" than they have been in previous years, while other Canadian residents are less likely to feel attached to religion, according to the Leger Marketing poll for the Association for Canadian Studies. Albertans shifted most dramatically along the scale.

"Recent data shows that Quebec's antipathy to religion may have bottomed," concluded Leger, "while parts of Canada, notably out West, have seen drops in attachment and favourable sentiment towards religion that have rendered the Quebec difference when it comes to this expression of identity near insignificant."

In the survey, 36 percent of Canadians said they are "very" or "somewhat" attached to religion, down from 39 percent in 2010. Attachment among Quebecers rose from 26 percent to 34 percent over that time period. Older Canadians generally still feel attached to religion—52 percent of those 65 and older said they were "very" or "somewhat" attached.

Some think Quebecer Cardinal Marc Oullet is a frontrunner to fill the papacy since Pope Benedict XVI announced his retirement on Feb. 11, several months after the Canadian survey was administered.

CT has regularly reported on Canada, including new evangelism efforts in its most prodigal province. The Canadian Council of Law Deans recently opposed the creation of the nation's first Christian law school because its community covenant would ban gay relationships. An appeals court recently mandated that a private Catholic school in Quebec teach a required religion course from a "secular" perspective. And the Canadian federal government announced last fall that it would cancel contracts for part-time prison chaplains.

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