Thursday, September 6, 2007

Veil removal not required for fed vote

Thu, 2007-09-06 01:36.

John Elston
(Reporting by Brian Lilley, CFRB Ottawa Bureau Chief)

It was an explosive issue during the last provincial election in Quebec, now it is back. Elections Canada is ruling that Muslim women will not have to remove their veils in order to vote during the September 17th by-elections in Quebec.

A new federal law, which received royal assent in June of this year, will require Canadians to prove their identity before casting a ballot. Voters will be asked for government issued photo-id before being allowed to vote. Those without the required id can provide two other pieces of acceptable identification or have another voter in the district vouch for them.

While Muslim women will be asked for photo-id such as a driver's license, they will not be required to remove their veil. A spokesman for Elections Canada tells CFRB that women may choose to remove the veil but if they opt not to, they can simply provide a second piece of identification in addition to the driver's license. Women who choose not to unveil will also be given the opportunity to swear an oath and have another voter vouch for them, but Elections Canada says two veiled individuals will not be allowed to vouch for each other.


PUBLICATION: The Ottawa Sun
DATE: 2007.04.10
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: 6
BYLINE: JORGE BARRERA, NATIONAL BUREAU
WORD COUNT: 274

Muslims face unveiling Tory bill in Senate would require voters to show government-issued ID


Veiled Muslim women might be forced to show their faces at the voting booth if a government bill quietly making its way through the Senate becomes law, says Canada's new chief electoral officer.

The bill, which has passed through the House and is being studied by a Senate committee, would require voters to show government-issued photo ID at the polls.

ALTERNATIVE ID

Marc Mayrand says the bill, if passed, would plop the controversial issue of the veil, which created a stir during the recent Quebec election, on the lap of Elections Canada.

"If it passes, it will have to be addressed," Mayrand tells Sun Media. "We have to review the situation."

The bill also allows for alternative identification authorized by Elections Canada. Those without identification can have someone else registered in the same polling division vouch for them by swearing an oath.

The Muslim Canadian Congress sees no problem with the bill.

"We believe that no one who covers their face should be allowed to vote," says congress founder Tarek Fatah.

"If men came up wearing masks, they would not be allowed to vote, so why should women covering their faces be allowed to vote?" he asks.

Fatah says Muslim groups causing a stir over the issue of veils at the voting booth want to increase hostilities between the Muslim community and the rest of Canada.

The NDP has opposed the legislation, dubbing it "a Big Brother bill" because it promises to hand personal information over to political parties and candidates.

Public outrage forced Quebec's electoral officer to reverse a decision that allowed Muslim women to wear the niqab at the voting booth.

MASKED THREATS

Marcel Blanchet received calls from voters threatening to disrupt the election by wearing masks and Halloween costumes to polling stations.

Mayrand says Blanchet faced an "exceptional situation" that could have spun "out of control."

Voters are currently not required to show photo ID during federal elections.

Under the bill, Elections Canada would be required to create lifetime identifying numbers for the more than 22 million voters. Birth dates would also be included on permanent voters' lists, updated yearly and available to parties and candidates.

Federal Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddard has raised concerns about including birth dates on voters' lists

1 comment:

I'm mad as hell and I'm not taking it any more!! said...

You really have to wonder what sort of overfed, pinhead bureaucrat would think that showing two pieces of photo ID while one is wearing a veil makes any kind of sense.

This is the the thin edge of the wedge - next thing you know, we'll be having federal employees (or even politicians) wearing a veil while carrying out their official functions. Afghanada in real life!

On another note, when are we going to rein in the porn surfing habits of federal civil servants? If their provinicial counterparts are any indication, we are collectively paying a big price for their habit.