The victory of the separatist Parti Quebecois (P.Q.) on November 15, 1976, set off the liveliest public debate in Canadian history. For the first time since Confederation the unity of the country is seriously threatened.
After the election the Toronto Globe and Mail made a cool analysis of the situation and concluded that the P.Q. victory “leaves us with no excuse for failure to recognize that this country is in great danger.” Donald Creighton, dean of Canadian historians, stated bluntly that the country now faces’ ‘division and possible ruin.''
No one doubts that the dangers are well founded. The P.Q. was rowned in 1967 for the express purpose of establishing political sovereignty in Quebec. Rene Levesque, the dynamic and tough-minded leader of the party, has declared on numerous occasions that independence is “an absolute necessity.” His government has already issued guidelines for a referendum and set the fall of 1979 for the first vote.