Canada Gives Muslims A Pass On Visual Identification For Elections

More accurately, Elections Canada — the agency that oversees elections in our neighbor to the north — has granted an exception for Muslim women to show their faces at polling stations for identification. The action by the agency defies the nation’s Parliament, which specifically required facial identification for voters:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper blasted Elections Canada Sunday for going against a parliamentary ruling by allowing Muslim women to wear veils and burkas while voting.
The move goes directly against a unanimous vote in the House of Commons this past spring to make visual identification mandatory when casting a ballot.
“I profoundly disagree with the decision,” Harper told reporters in Sydney, Australia where he is attending the APEC conference. “We just adopted this past sitting, in the spring, Bill C-31, a law designed to have the visual identification of voters. That’s the purpose of the law.
“That was the law voted virtually unanimously by Parliament and I think that this decision goes in an entirely different direction,” he continued.

Unanimity continued today on this point, as the Liberals agreed with Harper on EC’s overreach. Stephane Dion told reporters in Vancouver that they would ask EC to rethink their position. Both Dion and Harper pointed out the obvious fact that Parliament creates the laws, and agencies like EC have the mission of enforcing them, not unilaterally modify them to suit their own purposes.
EC, meanwhile, insists they know what they’re doing. “Elections Canada goes around the world helping other countries with their elections,” she said. “I think the officials at Elections Canada know how to make sure that the voting is accurate.” They claim that having another registered voter in the same polling division swear to the veiled voter’s identity will be just as secure as actually checking ID against an unveiled face. If that were true, then it would seem a waste of time to have picture IDs at all, which EC doesn’t address.
One might assume Muslim women rejoiced at the decision by EC to grant them special status. However, as it turns out, Muslims never asked for the exemption, and they don’t want it:

A spokesperson with the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations in Montreal said Muslim women were never consulted on whether they even wanted the exception.
“My jaw dropped. I was very surprised. Muslim women wearing the Niqab, which is the face veil, never made the request to have to keep it on while they vote,” said spokeswoman Sarah Elgazzar, speaking to CTV Montreal. …
“It’s absolutely unnecessary. Those women wearing a niqab always identify themselves when they need to identify themselves. The photo I.D. they show to people at the ballot box is a photo without a face veil. So people will clearly be seeing their faces,” she said.

So here we have Parliament telling EC that all voters must show their faces for proper identification at polling stations, and Muslims agreeing that they see no problem with this — and still EC persists in its strangely paternalistic fashion. It sounds as though the Commons needs to clean house at Elections Canada.

22 thoughts on “Canada Gives Muslims A Pass On Visual Identification For Elections”

  1. Being a Canuck I can say, so what else is new?
    These are the joys of living with the clots our
    governments have put in charge of things.
    Canada eh?

  2. Just another example of the brilliant leadership of the never-ending bureaucracy v. the here-today, gone-tomorrow politicians.
    How dare these clods in Ottawa question their betters?

  3. Ugly women in Canada, can rejoice.
    Instead of scaring the dogs, they can just cover up. No one needs to see their ugly pusses.
    On the other hand? If we only instituted a qualification to vote; being an ability to read and write English. We’d take care of this problem, BIG TIME.
    By the way, how to the covered wonders even show ya they have a right to vote? They tattoo citizens, over there, now?

  4. Hopefully, a Conservative majority government can put to flight these bodies of bureaucrats who have, through the years, assassinated common sense and made a mockery of common law.

  5. The Big Pharoah had this to say on the subject:
    I was sitting with my landlord enjoying a cup of tea while discussing the Shura council elections that was held the day after.
    “My brother is a Shura council member and he’s running again,” he told me.
    “Who is running against him” I asked.
    “An elder from the Hawara tribe,” he said. “But we’ll win. We won all the past elections. Our women vote countless times.”
    “How?” I asked.
    “See, we cover our women from head to toe even if they don’t usually wear the full cover. These women enter the polling station countless times. When the police officer says something, we tell him that we’re conservative and our women do not appear to male strangers and they can’t show their faces,” he explained laughtingly.

  6. I’m really fed up with this! If they can’t show their faces and get proper ID, then they should just stay home! THIS IS AMERICA and we have laws! Not that you’d notice with all the PC loons bending over backwards so no one except AMERICANS get insulted! Buy a ticket, get in line, follow the rules or GET OUT!

  7. TomB — that’s easy as they’re the ones crushed underneath a wall. But in that case it’s ok as it is a different culture and all cultures are equal except that Western culture is worse.
    FedUp — this is in Canada, not America (U.S.)

  8. RBJ…. I realize that, but we have that happening here – muslims want driver’s licenses, but they don’t want to be photographed because of their ‘religion’. Sorry, but it’s already here and will get worse!

  9. If I read this correctly, the EC can override the (almost unanimous) law passed by Parliament because they disagree with it?
    How does this differ from the dictatorship of chavez ? I’m am really stunned by our northern neighbors. If this is true, Canadians had better rise up before it’s too late.
    Oh wait, they took most of your guns a while back….

  10. How many agencies or commissions in Canada, which I assume are part of the government, are allowed to openly ignore laws passed by the Parliament?

  11. I think this decision by Elections Canada is silly, but EC points out that they are not ignoring the law, it just seems that all the politicians that voted for the law back in June didn’t actually read (or understand) what the law said. It requires you to prove your identity and residence, but gives a number of ways to do it. Note, I have not and cannot be bothered to read the law myself.
    EC said if the law was amended to require photo ID, they would enforce it.

  12. haroldmcintyre writes: “Hopefully, a Conservative majority government can put to flight these bodies of bureaucrats who have, through the years, assassinated common sense and made a mockery of common law.”
    Harold, I hate to burst your bubble, but it was the Conservatives own recent law (June 2007) that Elections Canada is enforcing.
    So much for common sense…

  13. FedUp
    Add those Muslim taxi drivers, who wouldn’t pickup drunk person (one girl died in Ottawa, Canada that way, but it is strictly hush – hush). Ad those, who wouldn’t pick up a blind person with the guide dog (I think Vancouver, also Canada), or look too Jewish (I am making this one up), or ate too much pork, or whatever.

  14. Come next Canadian election, I feel like going to Montreal, wear a burqa, and vote. How would they know I’m not a Canadian citizen? I’ll have someone vouch for me. Any questioning of my identity and I’ll sue for discrimination. I hope there’s another vote for Quebec independence too. I’ll vote for Quebec to be annexed to the US as the 51st state.

  15. The worst part about this isn’t that some people will be allowed to vote without showing their faces, but that Elections Canada just completely ignored statute in making its ruling.
    This is a big deal. When those tasked to enforce the law refuse to do so, isn’t that basically revolution?

  16. Its like our administration failing to spend appropriated money for things it doesn’t care for like border security or our judicial writing laws where their superior expertise is necessary i.e. everything.

  17. OK, I went and tracked down what looked to be the relevant portions of the Canadian Elections Act, and it appears the EC is correct, according to the letter of the law. The Elections Act does have a section allowing an elector who has already provided proper identification to vouch for another elector who has no identification.
    I’ve also read Bill C-31 and having an elector vouch for another still seems to be an option (however, I am neither a lawyer nor a politician, so I may be misreading these)

  18. I am going to vote with a veil on my ID and bring a friend to swear that it is mine. Good for the gander.

  19. So if they allow Muslims to vote this way, then any Canadian woman should be able to vote with a veil concealing their identity. If not then they are discriminating against non-Muslim women who want for spiritial or other valid reasons to cover their faces.
    I say, if all conservative Canadian women go to the polls next election in full veils, this law will be over-turned very quickly!

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