UPDATED: Vancouver South Recount: Reports of its completion are greatly exaggerated


There was a brief moment of panicked confusion at the ITQ RecountWatch desk this morning after Commenter (and blogger in her own right) Joanne noticed that Elections Canada had upgraded the status of the Vancouver South recount to “completed”. But if you check the date, it seems that those are the results as initially certified by the judge on October 24, 2008 — the day of the original (and, at the time, ostensibly finalized) “partial” recount of rejected and special ballots (plus a dozen or so handpicked ballot boxes) that sparked the original controversy over whether the Conservative candidate, Wai Young, had, in fact, conceded, and eventually led the judge to reverse his decision and go back to counting the remaining ballots by hand.

According to ITQ’s source on the ground in Vancouver, the hand count will resume today, as scheduled. The numbers that currently appear on the Elections Canada site were, indeed, certified by a judge, but have not yet been validated, which, as far as ITQ understands the process, will not occur until everyone in Vancouver South is satisfied with the results of the recount.

(Incidentally, we’ve been told  – unofficially, of course – that there has been almost no movement in the numbers since the recount got back underway on Friday – by the end of the day, the margin had changed by just one vote– in Ujjal Dosanjh’s favour, no less. Oh, if only we were in British Columbia to chronicle the hijinx in realtime, although I bet the judge wouldn’t look kindly on a liveblogger in his counting room.)

For the full Vancouver South Recount backstory – well, the ITQ version thereof, anyway  – start here.

UPDATE: According to the Vancouver Sun, with more than 80% of the boxes counted, the margin has shrunk to 21 (from 22). They’re hoping to finish up tomorrow.


UPDATED: Vancouver South Recount: Reports of its completion are greatly exaggerated

  1. …Oh, if only we were in British Columbia to chronicle the hijinx in realtime…

    You and me both. Thanks for the update, Kady.

    And I’m going to admit my ‘Joanne-Come-Lately’ status to the Kady Nation when I ask the following question that has been perplexing me for weeks:

    What does ‘ITQ’ stand for? Thanks.

  2. Yes, and it indicates the recount is “completed” on the Elections Canada Judicial Recounts summary page as well (I’d add the link, but that would probably put this into comment purgatory).

    I suspect it’s just the normal clerical routine of updating things in a database according to the paperwork that’s received, in the order it’s received.

    Thus, your effort to transmit the latest real news from on-the-ground reports out west is appreciated.

  3. ITQ means Inside the Queensway, and it vexed me for weeks originally, too.

  4. Joanne – ITQ = Inside The Queensway! (For the record, I didn’t pick the name, but I’ve sort of developed a grudging affection for it over the last year and a half.)

    Pundits’ Guide: Hopefully we’ll have real, honest-to-goodness results soon. This inching towards closure has to be stressful for all concerned.

  5. It wouldn’t be at all surprising if this one stays the same. After all, in recent history, recounts very rarely seem to change the result on Canadian elections. This is due to the fact that the standard of what constitutes a valid ballot has softened so much. Back in the day, there used to be all kinds of disputed ballots. A tick mark instead of an X was not considered acceptable, nor was using pen, or even going outside the lines with your X, believe it or not. Now, pretty much anything that clearly signals voter intent is accepted, which is as it should be.

    This leaves open the question of exactly how that result in Quebec flipped on a re-count. No one has provided any details on that, which is strange…

  6. Joanne – ITQ = Inside The Queensway!

    Thanks, Kady & Mike. That solves one mystery.

    Now we’ll just want for the answer to the other.

  7. “ITQ means inside the Queensway, it vexed me for weeks originally too”

    Please define for a Western Canadian. It seems to be used alot.

    Is it like, “they said”? “They” being the faceless truth etc.

  8. “Please define for a Western Canadian. It seems to be used alot.”

    The “Queensway” is a highway running through Ottawa that usually separates “downtown” from the rest of the city and outlying areas

    Politics in Ottawa, naturally occurs downtown, hence, inside the Queensway.

  9. >> “ITQ means inside the Queensway, it vexed me for weeks originally too”

    > Please define for a Western Canadian.

    The Queensway is the freeway that runs East-West through Ottawa. If something is “inside the Queensway” (i.e. north of the freeway), it is within a stone’s throw of Parliament Hill. So if something is only of interest inside the Queensway, it is only of interest to political junkies, etc.

  10. It’s basically a Canadianized version of “inside the beltway”; the major difference being that real live DC’ers actually use the phrase “inside the beltway”.

  11. @Bec & Anon: It’s also extra-ordinarily derivative of the US phrase “inside the beltway”. The US version actually makes since — the I495/I95 Beltway around Washington DC encircles the city, so you can be “inside” it, like so many lobbyists and public servants. Ottawa’s Queensway (Hwys 417 & 174) runs east-west and so “inside the queensway” makes no sense. North of the Queensway would include lots of places very far from Ottawa (like Iqaluit…) Something like “Beat Cop of the Parliamentary Precinct” would be more logical blog title….

    I don’t think a whole lot of people use the phrase; I’ve only heard it at all in the last few years. As I said, it’s pretty derivative.

  12. A friend of mine tried to turn “North of Queen Street” into a catch phrase, but it didn’t take. Tragically, I fear Law and Order: Parliamentary Victims Unit would lead to nasty letters from NBC’s trademark lawyers, but a girl can dream. (My original suggestion was actually “BlackBerry Jungle”, but as I said earlier, ITQ has kind of grown on me.)

  13. Now I am ITK about ITQ.

    Many thanks to everyone here for taking the time to clear this up.

  14. okay, recounts rarely lead to an upset, but didn’t that just happen in Quebec? Bloc to Liberal seat? what caused enough of those votes to change?

    and why was Dosanjh’s vote total 600 higher on election night. An honest counting mistake, or something more nefarious.

    I am usually against paranoid conspiracy theories, but there are some whispered rumours out here on the West Coast re. some shenanigans that went on in Van South. Sounds like a job for a fearless investigative reporter!

  15. yeah, let’s divert the eyes away from Lunn’s team and its belligerent troika of schemes to throw off the voters before they got to the booth.
    Van South is simple. Count the ballots again – the winner gets the spoils. Marty can read whatever he wants in the disembowelled ballot boxes.

  16. Marty – Well, they’re more than halfway through the boxes, and I think they’re hoping to finish the count by the end of the day, so if there are, in fact, 600 suspicious ballots, they’ll eventually be uncovered. (My guess is that it was a data entry error, since it was corrected by the next day — before the recount had even begun.)

    Dan the Van – I’ve heard that the RCMP are refusing to investigate the mysterious robocalls the weekend before the election – the ones that were rigged to look like they came from the local NDP constituency association. Hopefully that’s just a vicious rumour.

  17. Re: ‘Inside the beltway’, if you ever drove up the beltway in morning rush hour, and saw how the drivers with government plates drive, you’d know why the US Government is screwed up.


  18. 80% of the polls have now been counted, according to the Vancouver Sun.

    Recount continues tomorrow.

  19. Joanne – I just updated my post with the Vancouver Sun link – great minds think alike!

  20. It matters not that the result will / might remain the same. It matters that, in close results, the voters and candidates have confidence in the result.

    Which makes the option of surveying a handful of ballot boxes during a mandatory recount, frankly, nuts.

    And which makes a candidate’s apparent ability to call the whole thing off before it’s done (or before the few remaining contested ballots would obviously not change any result), frankly, not mandatory. It’s just negative option recounting; we’ll recount until you tell us to stop. A major disrespect of the voter, and if that possibility is in the law, it must be removed.

  21. MYL – I think I agree with you on removing it as an option for a mandatory recount, but I do think it should be available for a second candidate who successfully applies for a recount, but realizes after the process has gotten underway that there is no chance he or she will be able to make up the difference.

  22. Again, it appears that Young either misunderstood the judge’s question or didn’t have her Harper approved marching orders while in lock-up. But if the CON army wants to paint this as part of a big conspiracy, justice denied, don’t let reality get in your way MYL.

  23. Kady, the option of abandoning something that is mandatory makes a mockery of the word mandatory.

    Dan, check your meds. I am part of no army, and I see no conspiracy. If one must be a CON soldier for wanting the will of the people to carry…

  24. MYL – But requested recounts *aren’t* mandatory — they’re purely elective, provided that the applicant convinces a judge that there may have been procedural errors or miscounted votes. That’s why I don’t necessarily think the same rules should apply as far as requiring a full ballot by ballot to take place even if the applicant has conceded. (Vancouver South is, of course, a mandatory recount, so would not be affected.)

  25. Sorry, Kady, I was agreeing with you. On re-read, I was agreeing with you awkwardly. We are on precisely the same page, I think, about mandatory recount vs. candidate’s elective challenges.

  26. …great minds think alike!

    Heh. And Kady, I’m going to agree with you on your reply to MYL. There is a huge difference between a mandatory vs. requested recount, and the latter may even be subject to costs being assumed by the applicant, depending on the circumstances (as I understand it).

    So it only makes sense for the applicant to call off the process once he or she realizes that pursuing the situation even further is futile (as was the case in Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca when the number of disputed ballots was less than the spread between the two candidates.)

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