Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Can We Talk, For a Moment?

Can we just agree that the 1995 Referendum was a complete fraud? Seriously, the whole Option Canada thing; they spent 539 460$ (what, no decimal?) illegaly - ten bucks for every vote past the 50% mark. Yes, it was illegal. Yes, it was corrupt and yes, the No side should feel ashamed.

But the Yes side wasn't lilly-white and completely pure either. That's the problem, both sides did some seriously shady business; the referendum itself was shady! The question was obtuse, unclear and deceitful and the whole thing should have been declared invalid on that basis alone - that is essentially what the Clarity Act did - so revisiting the event twelve years after the fact is relatively futile. In fact, that the statute of limitations on any illegal activities was surpassed seven years ago; the pursuit of the truth is a waste of taxpayer money at this point. Anyone who wishes to employ an independent party to inquire into the truth, using private funding, may do so without any interference, but I refuse to continue wasting money on something we cannot do anything about!

The Yes side, it's been admitted and played down, disqualified No votes and disenfranchised No voters. The No side spent hundreds of thousands in a mad dash to save the situation at the last moment and spent hundreds of millions of dollars after the fact trying to "promote Canada's image" in Québec. The latter offense is still being prosecuted and the former is unprosecutable. The Yes side got away clean because the system was so decentralized that there was no specific person at whose feet the blame could be laid, but it is still clear that criminal and undemocratic practices were employed.

So we write it off; 1980 and 1995 should be written off as wasteful exercises in how not to run a referendum.

We have the Clarity Act now; it's a good law and, assuming it is observed, any referendum held from here on in will be fair and genuinely representative. The only problem this would leave is the inherent problem of democracy, but it's a problem most people are willing to live with.

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