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North American verdicts on the provincial government elections in Quebec, Canada

IT IS important for every eligible voter in today's election to cast a ballot. Even in ridings where there is little doubt as to which candidate will win, each vote counts. That's because the total number of votes received by each of the parties province-wide will provide a gauge of the relative strengths of sovereignist and federalist sympathies. The results of the popular vote could therefore become a significant factor in the event there is a future referendum on Quebec's future. Democracy is one of our most precious assets in Canada. And voting is a privilege that should be exercised, not taken for granted.

Montreal Gazette, Canada

LIBERAL PARTY leader Charest stands firm on the fact that another referendum is something to be avoided. Bouchard of the sovereignist Parti Quebecois is keen to hold another one - even if he has to create a smokescreen by claiming that it is to promote the negotiation of Canada's social union. But the PQ has no intention of resurrecting federalism. The electorate has to give their support to Charest. He merits the confidence of all those Quebecois who are opposed to the menace that another referendum would bring.

La Tribune, Canada

QUeBEC HAS been holding a separatist sword of Damocles over Canada's head for much of the past 30 years. Twenty-two million other Canadians are tired of the dance of uncertainty. If Bouchard wins, Quebecers should think hard about whether to give him the room he needs to hold another referendum, which could drive more English speakers, business and goodwill from their province.

Chicago Tribune, US

IF MORE than half of Quebecers return a separatist government to office, it could set the stage for a snap referendum. Remember how perilously close this country came to being thrown into turmoil during the last referendum. If the separatists must win today let them face the largest federalist turnout possible. It's not only the government that's at stake. It could be the future of this country.

Ottowa Sun, Canada

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