Much like the graduated scale of any consumer survey, Stephen Harper says he “profoundly disagrees” with Election Canada’s ruling to allow Muslim women to wear their burkas or niqabs during voting.
And to think when I’m unwittingly enticed into doing a marketing survey with the promise of free anything, my decisions don’t spark such national hubbub.
Harper is kicking a fit since this past June when Bill C-31 was passed that effectively has voters identify themselves by means of photo identification, which of course cannot be confirmed if one’s face is hidden.
According to Elections Canada, for those to whom this ruling applies have the option of showing their face, bringing more than one piece of identification, or having someone from the same district vouch for him or her.
All of these options are in lieu of confirming one’s identification by merely showing their face.
Sarah Elgazzar, a spokeswoman from the Canada Council on American-Islamic relations, tells the CBC that the population of women who wear the traditional head scarf is negligible. Nevertheless, these women are also completely willing to take off their veils for the purpose of confirming their identification.
So to whom does this apply if those that wear it are willing to oblige with regular identification protocol?
No one really.
Afifa Naz, who wears a niqab, also told the CBC that she is always accommodating when faced with a situation where she has to unveil herself. It is Naz’s opinion that, “We can accommodate the needs of society while practicing our religion.”
The whole situation reeks of a general move towards oversensitivity and political correctness, which unfortunately looks like it’s going to backfire and bring even more sensationalism and stigma to the Islamic population. Granted religion and culture will dictate the policies and practices of future government, but it should also be said that reason ought not to have a diminished presence either.
Had Elections Canada taken the time to speak with more Muslim women, they may have run into some who shared the same outlook as Elgazzar and Naz.
For an organization whose sole purpose is to let the people have proper representation, they sure did miss the boat.
If only these decisions were reached in the form of those aforementioned consumer surveys, Elections Canada might have been tipped off by question #12: “Do you really want to waste people’s time with this?”