The legal entity, Alliance Quebec, has been arguing in court that ballots cast in the last referendum in 1995 should be saved and examined. Their reason: an independent and public examination of the ballots would show evidence of a concerted scheme by the Yes camp to illegally undercount the No vote. Judge Robert E. Baker (an anglophone) rejected the request and empowered Quebec’s Chief Electoral Officer to destroy the ballots.
Judge Baker’s main reason was technical: Alliance Quebec had not brought the case in a timely fashion. But Judge Baker also noted that a recount of any sort would not alter the referendum outcome, won by the federalist side by a squeaker 50.5 to 49.4 per cent, nor would it correct any improprieties committed at the time. Two earlier prosecutions for vote tampering ended in acquittals and the statute of limitations for further prosecutions has expired.
I’m with the judge. The last thing we need is to preserve these ballots so they can be pawed over by militant separatists and angryphones trying to prove the other side is a bunch of crooks.
Quebecers made the decision to remain in Canada 13 years ago. The biggest problem in the province right now is whether the Canadiens can win the game tomorrow night. There is linguistic peace and right at the moment Quebec is doing better than Ontario economically.
Except for a few malcontents on both sides Quebeckers are happy campers in the Canadian federation. (Today’s polls show that if there were an election today the federalist Jean Charest would win a majority government.)
As for the ballots. Shred them and may the RIP.
Am off to Vermont for the weekend.
Don’t forget the Kentucky Derby at 4 on Saturday on NBC.
Have a great weekend.