Quebec premier won't say whether the 1995 sovereignty referendum was stolen
After being rebuffed by the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), the national assembly is back at it again, ordering the CEO on Friday to lift the veil of secrecy on the illegal financing of the No camp in the 1995 referendum.
Premier François Legault avoided saying that the referendum was stolen, as supporters of the "Yes" side maintain.
In the house, the Minister responsible for Democratic Institutions, Jean-François Roberge, had a motion passed for the Chief Electoral Officer to disclose the documents and testimony of the Grenier Commission, which was charged with investigating the affair in 2007.
The result of the 1995 referendum on sovereignty was very close, and the sovereignist camp has often accused its opponents of the No vote of circumventing the rules on referendum campaign spending.
At a press conference, Legault said that he wanted to "get to the bottom of this," but avoided saying that the referendum had been stolen.
"We don't have all the information at the moment. When we have all the information, I will be able to answer your question," he said during his review of the parliamentary session.
Two weeks ago, the Parti Québécois (PQ) unanimously passed a motion calling on the Chief Electoral Officer to reveal everything.
Chief Electoral Officer Jean-François Blanchet, however, indicated that the PQ-led motion was unlikely to allow "full disclosure of the testimony and documents in question."
Among other things, he referred to "the prejudicial nature that certain documents could still contain."
Blanchet said that "it was not so clear, the order of the national assembly." summarised the
"The motion we tabled is clearly worded as an order of the National Assembly," said government house leader Simon Jolin-Barrette.
It orders the Chief Electoral Officer to "disclose and make public all the testimony and documents of the Grenier Commission as soon as possible."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on June 9, 2023.