By Chantal Hebert, Jean Lapierre

Author note: Jean Lapierre (with)

A sly, insightful and beautifully unique publication from one among Canada's hottest political analysts, Chantal Hébert, and certainly one of Quebec's most sensible political broadcasters, Jean Lapierre.

Only the main fearless of political newshounds may dare to open the outdated wounds of the 1995 Quebec referendum, a still-murky episode in Canadian background that keeps to defy our figuring out. The referendum introduced one of many world's such a lot profitable democracies to the threshold of the unknown, and but Quebecers' attitudes towards sovereignty proceed to baffle the country's political type. Interviewing 17 key political leaders from the duelling referendum camps, Hébert and Lapierre start with an easy premise: asking what have been those political leaders' plans if the vote had long gone the opposite direction. Even 2 many years later, their solutions may perhaps surprise you. And in asking an unforeseen query, those veteran political observers cleverly reveal the fractures, tensions and fears that proceed to form Canada today.

Literary Awards
Finalist – QWF Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-Fiction (2014)

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The finance minister’s watch used to be no longer a lonely affair. Martin had a military of officers at his command. That evening, all fingers have been on deck. “I imagine there have been extra humans there that evening than on a standard workday,” he remembers. “But while the consequences began coming in you will have heard a pin drop. We have been very worried. ” within the occasion of a certain victory, this is able to be the 1st of many sleepless nights for Martin’s staff; the unenviable activity of softening the blow of a federalist referendum defeat within the monetary markets at domestic and overseas will be theirs. Martin’s preliminary venture was once to shop for Canada, its threatened loonie and its monetary infrastructure a few respiring room whereas the country’s political management regrouped and found out a manner ahead. no matter if the minister succeeded in mitigating the preliminary industry jitters that stood to hit the greenback and the banks—starting with the Quebec-based institutions—time will be of the essence. Canada must get its post-Yes act jointly speedily. It used to be a on condition that after a federalist defeat nobody may think it was once company as traditional in Canada. however the minister and his officers must make their such a lot credible case that their executive was once strong and up to speed, whether in fact its international had simply crashed. To get a receptive listening to, Martin may first need to persuade the Canada-savvy industry watchers that Jean Chrétien as major minister and he as finance minister weren't via advantage in their Quebec political roots earlier their sell-by date. That stood to be a problem. If the end result used to be a slender definite vote, he wanted the marketplace analysts and the monetary commentators to not leap to the belief that Canada could get a divorce or, in need of that, that any reconfiguration of the rustic might at the very least be resolved in an orderly approach. Pulling a resounding rabbit out of the skinny air to be had within the country’s unprepared capital will require the abilities of a practiced political conjurer. a section greater than a decade later, Paul Martin may lose the leading ministerial activity after basically inconclusive years in Parliament Hill’s nook place of work. but he says the ache of gazing his hard-won take hold of on strength slip away within the 2006 election pales opposed to the angst he felt on referendum evening. “It used to be the longest evening in my life—longer than the evening I misplaced the election. ” It was once not only the federation as Canadians knew it—and as Martin essentially enjoyed it—that hung within the stability. For the minister of finance, the referendum vote used to be own in additional methods than simply the patriotic one, and the stakes have been as excessive as they have been for the leading minister that he was hoping to 1 day change. Like Humpty Dumpty, Canada’s strongest minister was once considering an excellent fall from a excessive Quebec wall; if it occurred, it might be very tough to stick the damaged items of his advanced political personality jointly. For one, a convinced vote stood to doom the pursuits of an aspiring major minister who happened—as he did—to carry a seat in Quebec. even though an Ontarian by means of start, Martin had positioned down deep roots in Montreal.

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