Scottish-Canadians pose different views ahead of referendum

Two Toronto Scots share their thoughts on Thursday's Scottish independence vote

Angus McPhee, a math teacher of Scottish decent, proudly wears his Scottish attire in support of the independence vote.  Paolo Maquiraya

Two Toronto men proudly wear their Scottish attire the day before the Scottish people make one of the most important decisions of their lives.

One man, a staunch independence supporter, has always considered Scotland as a distinct nation from England. The other man, who mostly stays on the fence, says he can see good things on both sides of the issue. Both are Scottish-Canadian and wear the Scottish national colours in solidarity with their people.

“It’s support for the country,” George Cairns said. “I recognize it’s a very difficult decision for a lot of people to make and either way I’m thinking about the people there.”

Angus McPhee and George Cairns both teach at Blessed Cardinal Newman Catholic High School in Toronto. Both anxiously await the results of the referendum on Thursday that will decide whether or not Scotland will separate from the United Kingdom.

For McPhee, a math teacher, the choice is clear: Scotland has to leave Britain.

“Scotland has always been, and still is, a separate country from England,” he said.

Even though his family landed in Nova Scotia over 230 years ago, McPhee says he still takes great pride in his heritage and that it shows whenever he discusses the referendum.

“I consider myself to be Canadian, but also Scottish,” McPhee said. “It’s basically a pride of place.”

Cairns’ story is different: an English teacher, he moved from Scotland to Canada in 1988 at the age of 17. He says that he’s one of the few people that remains undecided on which side to support.

“I’m right in the middle,” Cairns said. “I wouldn’t really know how I would vote unless I was at the polling station.”

Cairns says he can stay undecided because he doesn’t have to cast a ballot on Thursday.

“I don’t have to vote so it’s easy for me,” he said.

The polls have already opened on the historic referendum. The vote is expected to be close.

About this article

By: Paolo Maquiraya
Copy editor: Nicholas Misketi
Posted: Sep 18 2014 6:09 am
Filed under: News