Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Is your face in order?
Canada's new government: Mouth open. Yelling. Finger pointing. Bad hair.
Canada is a difficult country to manage. Almost everything in Canada is based on some type of accommodation. That's why we have Catholic Schools, RCMP officers wearing Turbans, bilingual courts and Ben Mulroney on television.
One of the main differences between Canadian conservatives and Canadian liberals is that conservatives have no interest in accommodation. They want to throw everything into a blender and have it come out pure white. It's their way or no way.
Hence the current fake debate over women wearing religious facial covering while voting. Oh, the outrage. My preference would be to have Muslim women reveal their faces when voting but if they do not wish to then it is a relatively harmless compromise to show sufficient documentation. It is also, mostly, none of my business. In no way does this compromise take away my rights, any more than the happiness of a gay couple will ruin some straight couple's marriage.
I have voted in many elections in Alberta and I cannot remember ever having a returning office look at my face. It goes more like this: take driver's license, look up address on voter register, cross voter off list. With 10's of thousands of voters passing through a polling station and a horde of returning officers, it seems unlikely that seeing someone's face would have any particular deterrent effect.
Maybe the returning officers should be required to ask you if you are gay, collect stamps, or believe in evolution. Seems like common sense to me.
I pity the first returning officer who turns away a WHITE voter because their hair has been died blue and they've grown a large porn star mustache in the intervening years since they got their driver's license photo updated.
To say that something is required because it is common sense is not an argument and has no weight because common sense is just a euphemism for my opinion. We obviously know by now that Mr. Harper is a bully and not a consensus builder. Intimidating an independent body that is commissioned to oversee election fairness is very very scary scenario. It is no different than Harper's frequent intimidation of Judges. Harper's generalissimo personality will be his undoing.
Remember, it was Stephen Harper who forced the Canadian Taxpayer to spend millions of dollars defending electoral fairness laws when Harper was the head of the National Citizen's Coalition. Who was Harper representing? Sorry, Mr. Transparency would never say.
Where was the outrage when Alberta's Provincial Progressive Conservatives were found to be at the centre of the Ward 10 voting scandal in Calgary's last civic election. In this case, a large number of mail in ballots were forged. Although they got caught, the punishment was ridiculously light, and some of the players were never even brought to trial. And, of course, no finger wagging from Mr. Harper.
Our Constitution guarantees us certain rights, such as the freedom of religion, the freedom of conscience and the right to lawfully participate in elections. Mr. Harper's intimidation cannot change that. Please recommend this post