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An insider’s reflections Interest outside Quebec in “what Quebec wants” ebbs and flows with the tides of passion about the “national question.” Since the beginning of the decade, as nationalist fervour seemed to die down, there has been a corresponding tendency to ignore the forces at work in Quebec politics. This is a dangerous tendency, for it risks plunging Canada into a crisis – not dissimilar to the buildup to the 1995 sovereignty referendum. As someone with long experience of Quebec politics and the Quebec Liberal Party in particular, I suggest that, short of reading a series of books,1 we can gain a useful understanding of the deeper forces at work in Quebec politics by looking at the evolution of the role of the Liberal Party up to its current status as the first minority government since 1878. I begin with a historical overview of the Liberal Party and then look at the current situation.

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