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Canadian court rules mayoral race wasn’t bought with cinnamon rolls



The political dispute that engulfed the village of Pouce Coupe in British Columbia had been going on for months. Center: Six cinnamon rolls that one candidate said were used to butter voters in October’s tight mayoral race.

The village of 800 people has been “the subject of several political storms far out of proportion to its size,” B.C. Supreme Court Justice Ward K. Branch lamented in his ruling last week – a decision that rejected former Mayor Lorraine Michetti’s request to have it overturned. election results.

A month after losing to Danielle Veach by a margin of five votes, 84-79, Michetti filed a motion to overthrow her opponent and disqualify her from office for at least seven years. According to the court document, tensions in Pouce Coupe boiled over after Veach hosted a “Tea and Talk” campaign event at a local pizzeria.

The September 18 case was touted by Veach as a way for voters to “enjoy tea or coffee with a delicious cinnamon roll and ask questions, get to know me and my plans for improve our community”. According to court documents, Veach spent C$44.50 on drinks and pastries and then tipped the restaurant C$50, a total amount equal to approximately $70.

These refreshments, however, would later become the basis of Michetti’s petition, in which she claimed that the gift of food amounted to buying votes and had “resulted in [Veach] win the elections. »

Branch, the judge, then had to decide whether the snacks violated election rules that specifically prohibit “offering[ing] induce an elector to vote or not to vote, or to vote for a particular candidate.

Michetti and Veach did not respond to requests for comment from The Washington Post.

During a four-day hearing, witnesses, some of whom had attended ‘Tea and Talk’, told the court that cinnamon rolls and coffee were not enough to sway their votes. One, Lisa Saffran, said she found the suggestion “totally ridiculous”. In the end, Branch came to agree with their assessment, judging that “the simple drinks and buns provided here didn’t cross the line.” [the] line.”

“I find Ms. Veach’s purpose in providing the very limited refreshments here was simple human decency and politeness, especially as this was an early weekend gathering,” Branch concluded.

Rosa Parks Peanut Butter Pancakes offer a delicious taste of history

Emily J. Arendt, a history professor at Montana State University Billings, told the Post that — whether it’s cinnamon rolls in Canada or corn dogs at the Iowa State Fair — politics and food go together like bread and butter.

“Politics is social activity, and social activity has always included food,” Arendt said. “And so anytime you have community gatherings, food is a big part of that. Since politics is so fundamentally about bringing people together in a community, it makes sense to me that you would also see food being brought in.

Throughout the colonial era and the 19th century, country events overflowing with alcohol and food were so typical that they inspired at least two terms, Arendt said: “treating” and “hosing down the planters with bumbo”. George Washington himself wasn’t above dripping booze before Election Day – his campaign served up 144 gallons of rum, punch, hard cider and beer in his (victorious) race to a seat in the Virginia House of Burgesses.

But in food politics, “the pinnacle of presidential or candidate success” was having a cake named after you, Arendt said – à la the Washington Cake, Harrison Cake, Madison Cake or Jackson Jumbles.

After it became a crime, Watergate became cake

Politicians these days are more likely to carry on the tradition by munching on local food or hosting “hot food nights,” as Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) did during her presidential campaign. of 2020, when she fed voters with casserole dishes. Must-have in Minnesota.

The last time a cinnamon roll entered the world of politics appears to be in 2019, when current Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg mocked him for eating one like a chicken wing . And while the Swedish pastry has even inspired an annual celebration — Cinnamon Roll Day falls on October 4 — it’s not enough to curry favor with voters.

At least not according to those who testified before the Directorate General of Justice.

My “vote cannot be bought with a cup of coffee and a cinnamon roll,” Saffran, the witness, told the court.

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