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For better or worse, Quebec drove the agenda of Canadian politics throughout the second half of the 20th century. Prime ministers Louis Saint-Laurent, Pierre Trudeau, Brian Mulroney, Jean Chr├ętien and Paul Martin were all from Quebec. Just as importantly, Quebec MPs were often pivotal in the caucus of the governing party: without its Quebec seats, the government of the day would not have been in power, or at least not with a majority government. That was true as much for the Conservative governments of Diefenbaker and Mulroney (except in the landslide years of 1958 and 1984) as for the Liberal governments of Saint-Laurent, Pearson, Trudeau, Chr├ętien and Martin. And ever since the Quiet Revolution, there was the threat of separation, used by Quebec provincial politicians of all parties to put an edge on their demands.

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