William Watson rightfully mocks the “wisdom of the voters” explanation that regularly surfaces in the wake of election results.
If the federalist party couldn’t win — which after nine years in power was unlikely — and if the reformist party was too untried, then a separatist government with only a tiny plurality may have been the best outcome possible. But it wasn’t due to the “wisdom of the Quebec voter.” I was there. The ballot I cast did not actually say “What kind of government would you like?” and then let us fill in the percentages of the popular vote we would like to see each of the parties get. Maybe it should have. Maybe that would be a better system. We now have computers smart enough to count ballots split in that way, even if we may not have a population smart enough to make the different percentages add up to 100.
But in any case, that’s not what the ballot said. What it said was “Vote for one of the following people.” You only got one choice. If you had tried to vote for more than one person, your ballot would have been cast aside as spoiled. So far as we can tell from the ballots cast, each voter wanted the party he or she chose to win 100 per cent of the vote.