Saturday, July 20, 2013

Lies, crimes and referendums


The Clarity Act's main purpose is to prevent a fraudulent secessionist referendum. In 1995 (and to a lesser extent, in 1980), the Parti Québécois presented a trick question to confuse Quebecers as to what exactly they were voting for. Exit polls in 1995 showed that many 'Yes' voters in particular thought they were voting for renewed federalism, a new partnership with Canada, and other distortions and misinformation 

Is that how you want to create a country, on lies and innuendo? 

In 1995, we know Mr. Parizeau was aiming for a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) all along. His so-called "partnership" offer to the ROC was not sincere. Next time, Quebecers will know that the proverbial cart will not be put before the horse. 

Thanks to the Clarity Act, Quebecers - all Quebecers - can decide their fate in confidence. If we must have another referendum it will be done under the rule of law without ill-defined terms like "sovereignty" and "sovereignty-association" muddying up the debate. To those who advocate a separate Quebec, produce your arguments and let the people decide.

These are the words of a typical federalist.  The premise underlining all this is the idea that evil separatists want a completely separate and independent Quebec in order to create their racially pure country. However, those evil separatists know that if they told their diabolical plan to everyone, the vast majority of Quebecers would reject it. You see, most Quebecers are nice enough but they aren't too bright and they can easily be fooled by the evil separatists.

Thankfully, the good people in Ottawa have found a solution. It’s called the Clarity Act. Now if those evil separatists try to have another referendum, Ottawa will decide if the question was clear enough for the simple-minded Quebecer. And even if a majority vote YES, you have to assume that a good portion of them were unable to understand the question so 50% + 1 is nowhere near enough. What is enough? Well, that’ll be decided later.

I am so sick of hearing this type of crap. This guy also claims that there were 85,000+ stolen 'No' votes in the 1995 referendum. Never mind that the total number spoiled votes in the 1995 referendum was 86 501 (1.82%), which is pretty average in any election. He assumes that they were all NO votes without any evidence.  The 1992 pan-Canadian referendum had a 2.18% spoiled vote rate and a far more cryptic question but strangely enough, it was the federal government calling that referendum, not the evil separatists.

It’s true, there were a few incidents in 1995 of vote counters showing a bias against NO votes when judging their validity but that issue was addressed diligently and thoroughly by the Chief Returning Officer immediately after the referendum. Former Quebec Chief Justice Alan B. Gold's report, vetted by three respected law professors from three different universities, concluded that the spoiled ballots resulted from the reprehensible but isolated actions of a few individuals working independently and that no evidence was found indicating a widespread plot to take away people's right to vote. Moreover, the law was changed shortly thereafter to prevent recurrence. Nonetheless, the myth of the stolen NO votes lives on. I believe it lives on because it is a way of countering the accusations of true criminality that took place during that referendum.

The reality is that the majority of the sleaze, corruption and dishonesty has clearly come from the federalist side in our referendums and it has been so egregious that I don’t consider that we've had, so far, a clear referendum on the issue of Quebec’s political status.

1980


The 1980 referendum was to give René Levesque’s Parti Québécois government a mandate to negotiate Sovereignty-Association which would create a sovereign Quebec within a Canadian framework. It was not proposing a complete break with Canada and would have been followed by a second referendum to decide the final status of Quebec. This was the question asked to Quebecers:

"The Government of Quebec has made public its proposal to negotiate a new agreement with the rest of Canada, based on the equality of nations; this agreement would enable Quebec to acquire the exclusive power to make its laws, levy its taxes and establish relations abroad — in other words, sovereignty — and at the same time to maintain with Canada an economic association including a common currency; any change in political status resulting from these negotiations will only be implemented with popular approval through another referendum; on these terms, do you give the Government of Quebec the mandate to negotiate the proposed agreement between Quebec and Canada?"

The campaign seems to be remembered mainly for a couple of rather insignificant gaffs committed by the YES side e.g. the Yvette comment by PQ cabinet minister Lise Payette. Mrs Payette denounced women supporters of the "No" side as Yvettes (the name of a docile young girl in an old school manual). She went so far as calling Claude Ryan's wife, Madeleine, an Yvette. This backfired spectacularly as the Yvettes, led by Madeleine Ryan, held a number of political rallies in response to her remarks.

Another gaff was an off-the-cuff remark made by Lévesque himself. Lévesque had made the error of telling a group of Mexican journalists that the referendum was showing Trudeau's “Elliott side”. By this he meant that Trudeau seemed more preoccupied by the interests of English Canadians than by the interests of French Canadians. This was depicted as an ethnocentric remark which infuriated Trudeau or at least he feigned outrage and used this remark to paint Lévesque as someone who only considered people of French ancestry as real Quebecers. Trudeau made an emotional speech in which he named prominent Quebecers with Irish, English or Aboriginal names and asked "Are they not Quebecers?”.

What is usually forgotten is that the campaign was not between Sovereignty-Association and the status quo. The NO side knew that a majority of Quebecers were not happy with the constitutional order in Canada and wanted more autonomy for Quebec. So, the NO side made this a fight between Sovereignty-Association and a Renewed Federalism. What this renewed federalism meant was not entirely clear but this was something the Quebec Liberal leader, Claude Ryan, had been going on about for a while. At first, it was a sort of asymmetrical federalism with a special status for Quebec but later morphed in a more decentralized federation after realizing that English Canada was not going to go for the special status idea. What is clear is that it meant more power for Quebec.

Pierre Trudeau said on several occasions that he had no intention of negotiating Sovereignty-Association with René Lévesque making a YES vote possibly pointless as a victory for the YES side would only give Lévesque a mandate to negotiate. But the clincher was when Trudeau said in Montreal's Paul Sauvé arena a few days before the referendum that he would interpret a NO vote as a mandate for a renewed federalism.  He knew what Quebecers would understand by those words and he knew that he had no intention of giving them anything of the kind.  

Instead they got the unilateral repatriation of the constitution in 1982 without Quebec’s consent. This was a complete betrayal of Trudeau's promise to Quebecers. The Canadian government imposed on Quebec a substantial reduction in the powers of Quebec’s National Assembly. Quebec also had imposed on it an amending formula that has turned out to be a constitutional straitjacket. This was viewed in Quebec as a complete break of the dualistic pact of 1867 between the two founding nations and a denial of their existence as distinct nation.

Trudeau even ignored the recommendations of his own national unity task force.  In 1979, the Pepin-Robarts task force on national unity released its report. The Pepin-Robarts report said this: Quebec is distinctive, and within a viable Canada it should have all the powers necessary to maintain and develop its distinctive character. Any other solution short of this would lead to the rupture of Canada. The Pepin-Robarts report said that in 1979. Three years later, we got a Constitution that paid absolutely no regard to those statements.

Ryan, with his ideas about a renewed federalism, was left out and betrayed, as were all Quebecers who had voted NO expecting an answer to some of Quebec’s longstanding demands. Some Liberals, like Claude Forget, the provincial Liberal spokesman on constitutional affairs would try to rewrite history and claim that no such promises were ever made. However, Ryan would later write the following about Trudeau’s actions: "When he committed himself a few days before the referendum, in a speech delivered at Montreal's Paul Sauvé arena, to reform of the Canadian federal system, several people, including the author of this book (i.e. Claude Ryan) had understood that what he had in mind was an operation that would be designed and carried out along with his referendum allies. ... But Trudeau had his own agenda, which was not that of the Quebec Liberal Party."

The federalist that I quoted at the beginning of this article stated that in 1995 many YES voters believed they were voting for a renewed federalism, a new partnership with Canada… I don’t believe that for a second but it is irrefutable that many NO voters in 1980 were voting for a renewed federalism along the lines stipulated by Claude Ryan but that was certainly not what they got. Is this not deception?

1995


In the 1995 referendum, when polls were showing that the YES side was leading, the federal government decided that Quebec referendum laws did not apply to it and that victory had to be achieved at any cost. This not only led to the well-known but legally dubious Unity Rally, it also led to the creation of the mysterious Option Canada.

Option Canada could be described as an illegal electoral slush fund. It was created and managed secretly - Quebec's Chief Returning Officer learned of its existence when a Montreal daily broke the story in March 1997. It was granted money under the false pretext of supporting linguistic duality. The accounting documents show that those who dreamed it up had the clear intention of violating the Quebec Referendum Act by funneling some $5 million into the NO campaign and thereby almost doubling that side's resources. Most of the money went into the ad campaign, foreshadowing the ad scam that rocked the Liberal government years later. The secretive pay rolling of campaign "volunteers" also foreshadowed the wads of cash used for similar purposes as Judge Gomery revealed.

Option Canada thus differs from other slush funds in that it was a creation of the Government of Canada run by the Liberal Party. That is the crux of the problem because it is a case of the government secretly and illegally funding a movement in order to defeat a legitimate and democratic political movement. Some might shrug that off saying that it was done to save Canada. If so, what principle will they be able to raise to oppose similar underhanded manoeuvres aimed at defeating other legitimate democratic movements elsewhere in the country?

This network of corruption would later be the same corrupt network behind the sponsorship scandal (ad scam). Those crimes were investigated to some degree during the Gomery inquiry but the scope of the investigation was limited. What was done during the referendum, which is a far more serious crime against the people of Quebec and democracy itself was never properly investigated.  Yet the people behind these crimes are the same ones who would later impose their anti-democratic Clarity Act with its ill-defined terms ostensibly to prevent separatist tricks and deceptions. Orwell would be impressed!

Conclusion


Quebec has gone through many changes to its political status throughout its history. In 1759, it was done through military force and conquest. In 1840, it was forced into a union with Upper-Canada after its rebellion was brutally crushed. This union was made with the expressed intention of marginalizing and assimilating Francophones. In 1867, the province of Canada joined Confederation by a simple act of parliament. It's true that a slim majority of Quebec representatives voted to join Confederation but it was as the Courrier du Canada was to put it at the time: "la moins mauvaise des choses dans un monde fort mauvais" (the least harmful thing in a world of harmful things). Independence was never on offer. Confederation at least gave us our state back: The Province of Quebec. There was no referendum as the Rouge party was calling for, there was no clear question and there was no clear majority.

In recent decades, Quebecers have chosen a more democratic route for deciding their political fate: the referendum. There should be clarity and honesty in Quebec's next referendum on sovereignty but Ottawa has no place in dictating its terms or policing its honesty as it has absolutely no credibility in the matter. It would be like Bernie Madoff policing Wall Street.


15 comments:

  1. Thanks for another great text, veritasEtjusticia. I learned a few things I didn't know yet and I had never made the link between the alleged manipulation of voters in the 1995 question and the obvious one that Trudeau made in 1980.

    I had never seen that picture of Trudeau either, cool one ;)

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  2. My take on the 1995 referendum : The cheating won imperialists their 0,6% majority, 54 288 votes advantage:

    - >56000 voters never really existed.

    - Hundreds of thousand roCians who came for the – illegally sponsored – Love-In voted the next day using a disposition in the law permitting ex-Québec residents the right to vote.

    - >40 000 immigrants were lead to move to Montréal in 1995 and instructed to vote NO at the referendum to save canada and their newly acquired citizenship.

    - 30 million dollars were illegally spent by the federal government in this campaign which was 600% beyond the legal limit.

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  3. I think that if another referendum on Quebec independence is held, then Pauline Marois should make it absolutely clear to Quebecers that were Quebec to separate from Canada, then the Republic of Quebec would no longer receive equalization payments from Canadian provinces such as Alberta, British Columbia, etc. It would be just that: an independent republic.

    If it didn't work out for them, then they would have the prerogative of approaching France or the United States and negotiating some kind of association or union with one of those nations. If they wished to return to Canada, then I personally wouldn't be opposed to treating them like the Prodigal Son and welcoming them back, but even I would insist on no more referendums or threats to separate. I cannot speak for all anglophone Canadians, however.

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    1. Québec receives nothing from any other province. And while Québec receives ~8 billion in equalization it send 70-80 billion to the federal government.

      The day Québec gets rid of the roCanada, its income will double instantly and the roC will shrink by 25 %.

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    2. Where do you get your figures? The numbers you give are totally incorrect.

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    3. Canada Libre: check out (wwww.iedm.org/fr/node/2703). Yes, the article is from May 2006, but I understand that Quebec's relative position has slid a bit further since then, though not exponentially.

      Like it or not, the economic engines of M.O.C. (Most of Canada) are Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia at the present time. Quebec persists as a "have-not province."

      If Quebecers feel they can make a go of it on their own and that they'll be better off economically, culturally etc., then fine. Just don't expect any more transfer payments from the Western Provinces or Ontario in the event of Quebec independence, for example.

      As for your comment about the name "Canada", it is a Native Indian word, and neither a French nor an English one (the same with "Saskatchewan", "Manitoba", "Ontario", "Toronto" and so forth).

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    5. jacquesAugust 1, 2013 at 12:45 AM :

      Your link point to : Economic Note on the cost to Quebec society of the government contribution to aluminum firms' projects. ??

      As for the economic situation. you are saying that Québec while it is submitted to the anglo-keunédieune fédération, Québec is poorer than others. That makes sense, what's would the fédération be good for anglos if not for that ???

      "Canada", it is a Native Indian word. Yes. So ??

      When coming for the foundation of Québec city in 1608, Samuel de Champlain was saying "aller en Canada".

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    6. Canada Libre: I think that the federation is best for everyone in the country.

      Samuel de Champlain was correct, yes. However, as a British Columbian, I consider myself as Canadian as anyone in Quebec, or Nova Scotia, or Yukon, or anywhere else in the country. Although I like the U.S. in general, I'm not a U.S. citizen.

      Anyhow, here is an Albertan's point of view. Please check it out and comment on it.

      (www.albertaagenda.ca/equalization.htm)

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  4. Like Bernie Madoff policing Wall Street. Love it! Orwell would too. Thank you for dotting a few i's for us.

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  5. Bonjour veritasEtjusticia; svp contacte-moi à canadalibre@gmail.com

    Merci,
    CL

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  6. Jacques : « an Albertan's point of view. Please check it out and comment on it.
    (www.albertaagenda.ca/equalization.htm) »

    The usual crap.

    Quebec, Alberta and Equalization

    Québec has paid for over a hundred years to make and keep Alberta alive. Québec has paid for two transcontinental railroads – not one: TWO -, Québec has paid for a transcontinental highway, Québec has paid to send the army to eradicate the Indians and Métis, Québec has paid to import immigrants from Europe to the Prairies for free, Québec has paid for giving free lands to those, Québec has paid for materials to build shelters and grocery to survive their first year, Québec has paid for all that while anglo-imperialists imposed economic segregation so harsh on the real Canadiens more than half our people was forced into permanent exile to the USA to survive – we were not welcome in the West, no free land for Frogs -, Québec has paid to subsidize the culture of wheat, Québec has paid to subsidize the transportation of wheat , Québec has paid to make the tar sand exploitation feasible – Alberta has received $60 billion between 1979 and 1999 - Québec has paid to bail out the economy of Alberta during the 1980’s recession, Québec has paid to save the banks that were going bankrupt there, etc..

    And today we pay over $ 3 billion (more money per capita than the equalization to Québec) in annual subsidies to foreign oil companies that destroy Alberta and export the oil while Québec still pays to import it from elsewhere.

    That is what it is to be colonized. We have paid, we still pay and we get denigrated all the times.

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    1. Canada Libre, please check out:

      www.nodogsoranglophones.blogspot.com/2012/11/quebec-propagandists-get-dose-of-reality.html

      According to the arguments (and evidence) presented therein, Quebec receives about $1.45 for every dollar which it sends to Ottawa.

      Also, please google, "Quebec debt clock real time" and check out the link. In the FAQ section, they talk about some of the stuff we've been discussing.

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  7. You lie. The numbers are for 2011, not for today, not now.

    If the same applied to 2012 and 2013 you would sure know about that.

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