Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Quebec's veiled voters: no face but still a voice at the polls..!

Canada already had the secret ballot; has the new ruling from Elections Canada, allowing voting while wearing a veil, now brought us the secret voter..?

According to this report on Quebec's by-elections yesterday, over thirty voters followed their veiled threats and went to the polls in veils.... as well as masks, costumes and other variations on a theme. Their aim was to ridicule the Elections Canada directive that allows women to vote while wearing burqas or niqabs, essentially concealing their face while voting.

Here is a video , from a Quebec television news program, showing a wide range of these protestors. (If I find the video in a format that allows me to embed it within this post, I will, but until then you'll have to visit the news site in order to see it) The journalist describes several cases he had seen throughout the day, including a voter who was allowed to vote without removing his motorcycle helmet. Wait for the voter at 0:57 of the video, shown wearing a curtain ..! And allowed to vote.

The Journal de Montreal had some reporters on-scene as a masked gentleman followed the letter of the new law as he cast his ballot. Voting in a mask on principle: [my translation]

"Our soldiers wage war and die in the name of democracy while our politicians, here, do nothing to protect our democratic rights."

Joseph Basciano is nailed to his wheelchair due to deformities with his limbs. This does not prevent him, at 52 years of age, from wanting to express his point of view. Yesterday, despite his heavy handicap, he wanted to vote in Outremont with his ski mask over his head. Voting veiled, just like muslim women may now do with their burqa or their niqab.

"Because religions, no matter which ones, have nothing to do with politics. And it is not against a particular religion. It is a question of principle. Politicians have done nothing to prevent voting while one's face is veiled. Now, they have promised to [prevent it] but I do trust them", explains M. Basciano...

"The scrutineer refused to let me vote. He demanded that I remove my hood. Which I would not do. I am being deprived of my rights. It's politics of one weight, two scales."
"If you [reporters] hadn't been there, they would never have let me vote with my mask on. But they would have allowed women to do it for religious reasons."

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