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October 26, 2007

Strike two

Requiring photo identification from voters is a complicated thing to mandate. Apparently. Our New Government failed in its first attempt to impose the same standards of identification verification at polling booths as are in place at the average mom-and-pop dépanneur. And it embarrassed itself horribly in the wake of this revelation by hauling Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand before MPs to explain just where he got the flaming cheek to correctly interpret a bill the same committee had apparently not bothered to read as it swanned its way towards royal assent. I'd have felt bad for Mayrand had he not exposed the members in attendance as blithering jackasses, not that they noticed.

Fast forward a little over a month to the Throne Speech, and the Prime Minister decides to take a second kick at this wholly inconsequential can (we await with slingshots cocked the discovery of a single Muslim woman who wishes to vote while veiled). "[T]he integrity of our federal voting system will be further strengthened through measures to confirm the visual identification of voters," the Governor General intoned, promisingly. And here it is: Bill C-6, tabled today.

And glory be, they fucked it up again. This bill does not require that voters be visually identified at all—indeed, the ID requirements remain unchanged. Canadians can still "prove" their identity with "two pieces of [non-photo] identification authorized by the Chief Electoral Officer each of which establish the elector’s name and at least one of which establishes the elector’s address." But to do so, they'll have to show their faces.

So, let's follow along. The concern was that a veiled woman could provide photo ID but not have to show her face, rendering the photo ID pointless. All hail the new reality: a veiled woman can provide non-photo ID but has to show her face, rendering the unveiling pointless. Well, I should say, pointless when it comes to ensuring the integrity of our electoral system. But it's been a long time since anyone could assume with a straight face that this had anything to do with the Elections Act. It would almost be better if there were aspiring veiled voters out there—at least then we could legitimately discuss how they fit into the process. At the moment it's difficult to conclude anything except that the Tories—and any other party that doesn't come out against this in the strongest possible terms; Mr. Dion, I'm looking in your direction—are content to score points off the imagined humiliation of Muslims.

Posted by Chris Selley at October 26, 2007 05:47 PM

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I'm curious to see how how voters who mail in their ballots are going to "show their faces".

Posted by: Robert McClelland at October 26, 2007 09:46 PM

They have to mail in a snapshot with the ballot.

I am not sure if this is intended to humiliate Muslims, or to make it less likely that they would vote - sort of like making the ballots out of pigskin or something. Either way, it is embarassing to have such nitwits runing the show.

Posted by: DCardno at October 28, 2007 04:43 AM

For the first time in recorded history McClelland may have a point...but I can't for the life of me remember if there is such a thing as an absentee ballot in Canada. Advanced polls, sure, but mail in I don't honestly know.

And, yes, this is a farce. Largely because the politicians cannot bring themselves to let go of an issue which lets them score anti-immigration (or, perhaps, anti-Muslim immigration points) while purporting to protect the Canadian electoral system. This, of course, in place of an actual debate about the desirablity of immigration in general and Muslim immigration in particular. A debate which is long overdue and one which scares the living Hell out of the politicos. So they create proxies.

Chickenshits the lot of them.

Posted by: Jay Currie at October 28, 2007 05:38 AM

Remember that thing Coyne wrote about how insipid Canadian politics is ?

What's this proof # 136 ?

Yo gang, I'm starting a new party - it's called the Grow the F Up Party ( or Gee,FU for short) anyone with?

Posted by: Nbob at October 28, 2007 02:01 PM

One of those posts I wish I'd written. Well done, Chris. I find myself perversely hoping that nobody notices this stupidity and the bill gets signed into law unamended. I mean, why should we make these guys look brighter than they are?

Posted by: Dr.Dawg at October 28, 2007 09:50 PM

Bravo, Chris!

Posted by: James Bow at November 3, 2007 05:18 PM