Canada introduces bill banning
Politics Watch ® News Services
October 26, 2007, updated 2:55 p.m.
|The Conservative government has introduced
legislation that would require Muslim women to unveil when
registering at polling stations in federal elections.
OTTAWA (PoliticsWatch.com) —
Canada's government introduced legislation Friday that would
require Muslim women to unveil at polling stations before voting.
The issue of veiled voting has been a hot topic in Canadian
Canada's chief electoral officer said in September
that under current election rules Muslim women whose faces were
covered could not be prevented from voting.
All four political parties represented in the House of Commons had
urged Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand to reverse his
decision days before three federal by-elections in Quebec, but he
"What we've tabled today is a piece of legislation that will require the elector to unveil themselves," Transport Minister
Lawrence Cannon told reporters on Parliament Hill.
The government bill makes one exception for visual identification for those who have recently undergone surgery and have their faces bandaged.
However, such a voter would need to present more proof of their identity than a single piece of photo identification in order to be entitled to vote
and would have to take an oath stating removing their face covering
would be harmful to his or her health.
"This has become necessary because what we've seen in by-elections in Quebec . . . we've seen cases where people have not identified themselves and willingly tried to deviate from electoral integrity."
Cannon said he'd been told that in one riding this fall people appeared at the polling stations with masks, veils and other "ridiculous
attire" to protest Mayrand's ruling.
The legislation is expected to pass in the House as the Bloc
Quebecois is likely to support the bill. A Bloc MP had already
introduced a similar private member's bill.
"I think that we have to work to make sure that everybody is equal and that we will cooperate with the government if it's good for the
electors," Bloc MP Monique Guay told reporters.
Deputy Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff expressed
reservations about the Conservative government's legislation, even
though Liberal leader Stephane Dion had been among those
urging the chief electoral officer to reverse his decision allowing
"What I don't like about this whole project is the idea that we take a bunch of women wearing veils and we make a whole big deal about
this," he told reporters after question period.
not have politicians fishing around and creating divisions between Canadians about this."
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