Veiled voting OK

The federal government has quietly dropped the idea of forcing veiled women to show their faces if they want to vote in Canadian elections.

OTTAWA — The federal government has quietly dropped the idea of forcing veiled women to show their faces if they want to vote in Canadian elections.

The loss of interest comes just as the issue of face coverings is heating up overseas, with President Nicolas Sarkozy declaring that the Islamic burka is “not welcome” in France.

Steven Fletcher, Canada’s minister of state for democratic reform, confirmed Thursday that the government has no plan to proceed with legislation requiring voters to uncover their faces.

The issue came to a boil in Canada in 2007, during three hotly contested federal byelections in Quebec where debate was already raging over how far the province should go to accommodate cultural differences.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper blasted Elections Canada after the independent electoral watchdog refused to require veiled byelection voters to show their faces at polling stations.

Opposition Liberals, New Democrats and Bloc Quebecois joined the chorus of condemnation.

er and the issue was examined more closely.

Chief electoral officer Marc Mayrand noted that the recently adopted changes to the Canada Elections Act did not, in fact, authorize the agency to compel visual identification of voters.

Moreover, it was pointed out that thousands of Canadians have no photo ID. Requiring them to show their faces would be meaningless without photo identification against which to verify their identities.

By the time the government introduced a law to compel visual identification, Liberal and NDP support had pretty much dried up. The bill died when last fall’s election was called.

Just Posted

Town of Sylvan Lake has big ideas for lakeshore

Day mooring docks wanted but first water licence needed from province

Everything from coffee makers to coats in latest Canada Games sale

Sale runs 1 to 7 p.m. at Games office at Bower Place mall

Red Deer business moves away from overdose prevention site

At least one Red Deer business has moved away from the temporary… Continue reading

Canada Revenue Agency tax services back online after ‘hardware’ problems

OTTAWA — The websites Canadians use to file their taxes online were… Continue reading

Roof structures failed before Radiohead stage came down, inquest hears

TORONTO — Metal structures meant to hold a roof over a stage… Continue reading

Business tax relief is a sound idea

NDP leader should avoid picking winners and losers

Svechnikov scores in overtime, Carolina beats Montreal 2-1

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Carolina Hurricanes struggled to beat Montreal goaltender Carey… Continue reading

Canadian men’s soccer squad off to Gold Cup with 4-1 win over French Guiana

VANCOUER, B.C. — Canada’s men’s soccer team is looking to the future… Continue reading

Inquest into fatal Radiohead stage collapse set to get underway in Toronto

TORONTO — An inquest is set to get underway today into the… Continue reading

The Latest: Streisand apologizes for Jackson comments

NEW YORK — The Latest on Barbra Streisand’s comments about the sexual… Continue reading

Pricey Titanic wreck tours hope to bring new life to a century-old story

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Adventure tourists with money in the bank have… Continue reading

Most Read