Quebec doesn't want to get out of Canada, but it doesn't want any new federal domination either. This is one message of the provincial election that has just given Premier Levesque a resounding victory less than a year after an interim defeat.
The defeat came in a referendum on separatist Levesque's proposal to start negotiations toward sovereignty for Quebec. The victory came after he promised not to call such a referendum during his second five-year term --tutional change seen as strengthening Ottawa's power over the provinces.
Prime Minister Trudeau has been trying to set up a new Canadian constitution without consent of the country's 10 provincial premiers. Mr. Levesque has been conspicuous among the eight premiers who have decried Mr. Trudeau's approach.Levesque's chief opponent, Claude Ryan, belongs to Trudeau's Liberal Party and could hardly come out publicly against the prime minister.
Other factors appear to be Mr. Levesque's greater personal popularity and the fact that he could claim to have kept such promises from his first campaign as providing free medicines for the elderly. He has stopped short of independence. But he has not stopped edging in a separatist direction, as with legislation making French, Quebec's majority language, the province's official language.
Not unexpectedly, in non-French areas, the Liberals won handily. Levesque's Parti Quebecois had an almost two-to-one triumph in the provincial legislature. But the overall vote was narrower, 49 percent to 46 percent. And here is where the reaffirmed premier as well as outside observers might feel a certain caution. His popular mandate is evidently not the same as his political mandate. He will have to pursue economic and other policies good for all Quebeckers if he is not to heighten divisions within his own province whatever its rela tions with the rest of Canada.