It's hard to believe that it was 15 years ago when the country sat perched on the abyss as voters in Quebec went to the polls to determine whether they wished to remain in the Canadian federation or start the process that would lead to the creation of a new nation.
Fortunately, the 'no' forces won the Quebec referendum of 1995 and the federation was saved. Despite the efforts of the Bloc Quebecois and provincial Parti Quebecois, separation is not the catchphrase it once was and there are few outside Canada's largest province thinking about sovereignty and the possibility that another vote could happen.
It was interesting earlier this week when Lucien Bouchard, the man who took Quebecers within a whisker of separation, said sovereignty is no longer achievable and suggested the Parti Quebecois become more focused on other issues.
Bouchard is correct in his assumption that there are more pressing needs within Quebec, but that doesn't mean we should allow ourselves to be lulled into a false sense of security when it comes to the sovereigty question.
As much as we wish the sovereignty boogeyman would go away, there are many in the province pushing the separation agenda and the day will come again when voters in Quebec turf the provincial Liberals and hand the reigns of power back to the Parti Quebecois. It probably won't take long for that party to once again fan the flames of separation and start the wheels spinning toward another vote.
Outside Quebec, Canadians need to develop a greater understanding of that province and its role within Canada. Ideally, years of constitutional discord can be overcome with a new agreement that officially brings the province into the constitution.
Failing that, we can only hope that common sense prevails and the conditions that existed 15 years ago aren't recreated any time soon. We can only hope that we have grown as a nation and never again will be forced so close to the edge.