How much time does it take for a "united country" to enshrine the distinct character of a quarter of its population in its supreme law to make it feel at home?... ten years?... twenty years?... thirty years?... who knows... How many referendums does it take to call them neverendums?... two and the possibility of a third one.
The Québécois were offered the possibility to create their own country twice, in 1980 and 1995. On both occasion, the answer was "No". Yet, the Parti Québécois is alive and well, working on a third referendum. When will the last referendum take place?... or has it already taken place?
In the aftermath of the narrow results of 1995, Lucien Bouchard referred to the "winning conditions" as a prerequisite for the holding of a third referendum. He never got to explain what these conditions are, but he knew they had to be there. You see... after losing the first referendum with 40% of the votes and losing the second one with 49%, anything below would leave the sovereignty movement with nowhere to go. Regardless of the outcome, a third referendum would be the last one.
But what are these "winning conditions"? Do they involve some secret plot by the sovereigntists? In fact, they simply call for a faux pas in Ottawa while there is a sovereigntist government in Québec... no more... no less...
What kind of faux pas?... think of the Meech Lake Accord failure in 1990. By the end of that year, support for sovereignty neared 70%. Think of the AdScam. By the end of 2005, support for sovereignty broke through the 50% barrier. Had there been a sovereigntist government at the helm of the province to pop the question, you'd have had "winning conditions".
What can the Parti Québécois do? Apart from getting elected and being on the lookout for an opportunity, it can't do much. Don't look up to the sovereigntists to tell you if the last referendum is behind or in front of us. They won't admit it, but they don't know.
Imagine... Québec said "Yes" twice to Canada... Ottawa is the one controlling the agenda... offering nothing to unlock the constitutional status quo... hoping for the issue to go away.