What evidence highlights the significance of the 1980 and 1995 Quebec referendums in Canadian history?

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The beginning of your thesis looks good, but as you know, we need to add those three pieces of evidence that help support the claim. Some teachers call this the "chicken foot"—see attached picture. The "chicken foot" comes from the DBQ Project.

In order to help you find the information needed to complete your thesis, I will provide some research notes and ideas that you can boil down to complete your argument.

Canadian Encyclopedia: this source tells us that separatism in Canada grew as a movement to separate Quebec from Canada. It mentions that there have been several groups that sought independence, but that in the 1980 referendum, the idea was coupled with a new Constitution. That would be a major event in Canadian history, as they have only had two different referendums that changed the Constitution. The 1995 referendum changed the idea of referendum away from separation and instead towards economic reform. This would have changed the relationship between English and French Canada.

History.com: This source focuses on 1995 and how a narrow voting margin (50.6% in favor and 49.4% opposed) voted to remain within the federation of Canada. This was a vote that would have separated Quebec from Canada, and it would have become an independent country and entity. This is an important development because it shows that Quebec is torn between being independent and French and being part of the rest of Canada, English-speaking parts included. The source, quoted below, succinctly sums up the importance of this:

Far narrower than the 1980 margin, the 1995 referendum was the most serious threat to Canadian unity in the country’s 128-year existence, carrying with it the possibility of losing nearly one-third of Canada’s population if the Oui vote won.

The Guardian: This article from 2015 argues that Quebec should not be independent and lays out some arguments to describe why. While this does not come directly from the 1980 and 1995 referendums, it could be used to show that the referendums are still relevant and that many Quebec citizens still argue about whether independence would be helpful or harmful to their place in Canada.

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The thesis statement "The 1980 and 1995 referendums in Quebec to separate from Canada was a significant event in Canadian History" should be revised to give an indication of how they were significant to Canadian history.

The 1980 referendum formally posed the idea of Quebec's sovereignty from Canada.  Rene Levesque asked his fellow Quebecois to mandate the negotiate for "sovereignty-association" for Quebec.  Since Quebec was distinct in its language, its political outlook, and its culture, perhaps separation from Canada was an option.  While the resulting vote proved unsuccessful, the impact of the referendum stems not so much from its success, but from the subsequent political history of Canada, particularly concerning the future of Quebec.  The 1980 referendum ensured that the sovereignty of Quebec would continue to be a question in need of a solution.

In 1995, the vote proved even narrower than the one held in 1980, thus making the question of Quebec's role in the Canadian confederation even more uncertain.  As a result of the 1995 referendum, Parliament recognized Quebec as a distinct society with its own language, culture, and customs.  This acknowledgement is extremely important in terms of Quebec's separatism.  What this does is set Quebec apart from the other Canadian provinces and set the stage for the question of Quebec's separatism to continue.  From this measure, it is clear that Parliament is williing to grant Quebec a degree of separation, albeit not political separation.

The other two initiatives in the 1995 referendum focus on granting even more power formerly held by the Canadian government to the provincial government in Quebec.  Like the first initiative, the second and third initiatives only continue to keep the question of Quebec's sovereignty open.

The importance of the 1980 referendum for the question of Quebec's separatism cannot be underestimated.  It served as the formal declaration that it would be a matter the Canadian government must address, setting up the referendum 15 years later.  Ultimately, the fact that the 1995 referendum failed by less than a 1% margin gives clear evidence to the importance of Quebec's separatism, particularly among the residents of Quebec.  In addition, the Canadian government acknowledging Quebec's push for sovereignty, granting them the recognition of being a distinct society with its own language and culture demonstrates the significance of the 1995 referendum for the question of Quebec's sovereignty.

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