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

City Hall Park construction begins next week

Construction to update Red Deer’s City Hall Park is set to begin… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Jazz at the Lake begins

The 16 annual event began Friday and runs until Sunday in Sylvan Lake

Photos: Lunchtime tunes on Alexander Way

Final concert of the summer

Clearwater regional firefighters in B.C.

Crew operating west of Prince George

PHOTOS: Samson Cree Nation Pow Wow

The Samson Cree Nation hosted its annual Pow Wow, celebrating youth last weekend

WATCH: Feasting at Red Deer Ribfest this weekend

Ribfest runs until Sunday at Rotary Recreation Park

Street Tales: Life is filled with unlearned lessons

There are days that I almost believe evolutionists in that we are… Continue reading

Canadians believe in immigration but concerned about asylum seekers: study

OTTAWA — Canadians are generally supportive of current immigration levels, a survey… Continue reading

Quebec announces plan to compensate taxi drivers after Uber’s arrival

MONTREAL — The Quebec government has outlined how it intends to compensate… Continue reading

Hospitals to see ‘delays’ in care after losing Saudi students, health group says

OTTAWA — The loss of Saudi Arabian resident physicians in Canada’s hospitals… Continue reading

PHOTOS: B.C. city wakes up to darkness under wildfire smoke

The rest of the province also dealing with thick haze as smoky skies continue

Death Valley worker has seen highest, lowest temperatures

LAS VEGAS — Thousands of tourists descend on Death Valley each summer… Continue reading

Banff’s Sunshine ski resort upset with proposed guidelines from Parks Canada

BANFF, Alta. — An internationally known ski resort in Banff National Park… Continue reading

Folk singer Ian Tyson cancels show due to ‘serious medical situation’

TORONTO — Canadian folk singer-songwriter Ian Tyson has cancelled his appearance at… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month