Goodbye to all that -

Goodbye to all that


Chris Selley memorializes the veiled-voter debate.

The first law that was supposed to do that is now in effect. But all it does is instruct poll clerks, having determined that a voter’s name and address are on the register, to ask for either one piece of photo ID that lists the voter’s home address or “two pieces of 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.” So not only does it not ban veiled voting, in other words, but it doesn’t even require photo ID.

Nevertheless, when Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand said as much, he was pilloried. “We just adopted this spring… a law designed to have the visual identification of voters,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper fumed. “That’s the purpose of the law,” he added, astonishingly. Not satisfied with his boss’s gaffe, Tory MP Joe Preston—a real live member of the committee that OKed the legislation, apparently without having read it—then upped the ante. “I’d love for [Mayrand] to come here and try to explain to us what he doesn’t understand,” he said, causing numerous heads to explode in the few Canadian newsrooms that actually noticed what was going on.

One of the first public events I attended after arriving in Ottawa was Marc Mayrand’s press conference to respond to all this. For a half hour he sat and calmly refuted his interrogators as reporter after reporter told him how sorely mistaken he was. Then everyone went back to their offices, read the law and realized he was right. Probably one of the five best performances I’ve witnessed in these two years.


Goodbye to all that

  1. The whole thing was a sham issue championed by a sham Prime Minister.

  2. Poor Chris Selley. The guy gets laid off from Maclean's, but Macleans still posts his stuff. I hope he at least gets a royalty check when you guys use his content…

    • He's better over there. Immersed in a dense fog of right-wing stupidity, he shines.

  3. I want to see a list of said top five.

  4. I can't recall one journalist ever confronting any MP over this issue. Not one. All of you wasted our time over this and had us starting to believe that it's *we* who are crazy and not our political class.

  5. I believe Kady was pretty adamant that this law was more than merely dumb…

  6. I still can't believe anyone on Parliament Hill ever wanted civl servants to do something other than what the law tells them to do, but repeatedly that's just what Harper's government has asked of them.

    There should be mandatory MP citizenship classes, not half day orientations, but the Full Forsey with an exam and published results.

  7. As I recall, Kady also reminded everybody (more than once) that you can't really insist that those voting in person have to show picture id if other people are allowed to vote by mail.

    • inge, you beat me to it.

      This issue came to a head in the midst of the "reasonable accommodation" hearings in Quebec, which helped highlight how a few small town bigots can hijack a provincial, then national, political agenda — all without having to learn to read.

      Harper lied about this matter too, as did his ministers and MPs. They lied repeatedly because the facts didn't match their political bluster. Just like they lied about what the election laws actually say about "in-and-out" financing.

      They have no problem lying, such as about relying on the Bloc/NDP, the legality (not wisdom) of coalitions in a parliament, meeting/not meeting with and offering/not offering Chuck Cadman inducements, etc.

      Sad, really.

    • Many journalists reported on the incoherence/idiocy of the whole thing but I don't remember one cornering an MP and asking him/her to explain it. Maybe a missed an episode of the Braaawdcast, mind you.

      It wasn't rocket science to figure out how absurd the legislation was.

  8. Selley: According to Elections Canada, not a single elector attempted to vote with her face covered in the last federal election

    If this is true, I'm stunned that so much ink was spilled on this non-issue.

    • Well I'm wearing a ski mask next time just to prove the point

  9. By the way, this story was a triumph of the blogosphere. Blogger Red Tory got a jump on the MSM and all of our elected reps by–shock! horror!–actually reading the legislation in question and pointing out that hey! all the parties ranting indignantly had just signed it barely a month before. The fake indignation died fairly swiftly after that.

  10. What I want to know is why do we never get to see the video of numerous heads exploding in Canadian newsrooms?