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Canadian Political Miscalculation? Quebec's Referendum 95

  • George Feaver


‘IT LOOKS TO ME DISTINCTLY LIKE CANADIAN FEDERALISM'S referendum to lose’, I wrote late last winter, anticipating the call from Jacques Parizeau's provincial Parti Québécois for the second referendum on Quebec ‘sovereignty’ in fifteen years, expected sometime in 1995. Thank goodness I took the precaution to add: ‘bearing in mind, of course, that from the sovereignists’ angle of vision, it appears to be their referendum to lose, too.’ But I confess I meant the qualification to be taken as tongue-in-cheek rather than as a serious guess about what then seemed likely to lie ahead. Certainly the auguries, had the PQ decided to go ahead with its referendum in early 1995, suggested that the federalists in Quebec would probably have carried the day as decisively as they had in 1980, when almost 60 per cent of Quebeckers rejected René Lévesque's first PQ referendum on ‘sovereignty-association’.



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1 ‘Canadian Political Arithmetic: Quebec, and Canada, after Charlottetown’, Government and Opposition , Vol. 30, No. 2, Spring, 1995, pp. 163–78.

2 Excepting the vast northern areas of Quebec claimed by the Cree and the Inuit, who, in their own referendums held on 25 and 26 October, voted overwhelmingly to stay in Canada.

3 Haliburton, T. C., The Clockmaker: or, the sayings and doings of Sam Slick of Slickville, Halifax, 1836, ch xxxi.

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Canadian Political Miscalculation? Quebec's Referendum 95

  • George Feaver


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