Ex-elections chief Pierre F. Côté dies

Posted By: Richard Deschamps · 6/18/2013 10:39:00 AM

Pierre F. Côté, the longtime former Quebec director-general of elections, has died at the age of 85.

He was a Quebec City lawyer whose first involvement in politics was as René Lévesque's chief of staff, while Lévesque served as natural resources minister in the Liberal government of Jean Lesage.

Lévesque appointed him to the post of director-general of elections in 1978, a post he occupied until 1997.

Côté was reviled by federalists for his actions during and after the 1995 sovereignty referendum. He pressed charges against individuals and businesses from outside Quebec in connection with the massive unity rally in Montreal, three days before the Oct. 30 vote. He had accused them of violating spending laws by transporting people to Montreal to take part in the rally.

Federalists then accused him of downplaying the unusual amount of spoiled ballots in a handful of largely federalist ridings. An investigation found there was no widespread conspiracy to steal No votes.

Photo: La Presse

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