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The Trudeau And Levesque War

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Vive Le Quebec Libre:
The Trudeau & Levesque War

Yuvitra Jeyaraman
Mr. Paul Klassen
4th of April 2015
Social Studies Research Essay
“Gens du pays, c 'est votre tour, De vous laisser parler d 'amour”, those were the only words to be heard across the arena, as Rene Levesque, then Prime Minister of Quebec delivered his speech on the defeat of the Sovereignty Association Referendum. His speech, “À la prochaine fois” (“Until next time”) was one that he hoped to never deliver during his lifetime. On May 20th, 1980, the long awaited referendum that would lead to negotiations with Canada for the province, Quebec, resulted in a resounding no, with a 59.5% vote. (Lévesque, 1980) The defeat marked a resounding blow and stalemate to Levesque’s hopes of establishing an independent Quebec and defeating his long term rival, Pierre Trudeau. In an emotionally wrought campaign that swept the nation, the outcome of the referendum was determined by Quebec Prime Minister, Rene Levesque’s inability to manipulate ambiguous language where Trudeau succeeded, swaying the largely uncertain voters in favour of the federalists. Though the two principles of the respective sides contradicted each other, and was thus, the underlying cause of the referendum, it was the personal nature of the conflict between Trudeau and Levesque coupled with the manipulation of language that would ultimately influence the results of the referendum.
Perhaps the greatest irony of the 1980 Quebec Referendum was
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