“Canadian Masquerade”

by | October 23, 2015

Marco DeRossi, member of the Board of Directors for Atheist Freethinkers/Libres penseurs athées, exercised his right to vote in the 2015 federal election wearing the costume featured in the photo below:


DeRossi shares his experience in an article entitled “Canadian Masquerade“:

Just to set things up for you, Zunera Ishaq is the fundamentalist Muslim woman who, after a two-year legal battle, obtained permission from the Federal Appeal Court to take the citizenship oath while wearing her niqab.

Ms. Ishaq maintains that her battle to wear the niqab while taking the oath is merely a personal choice. However, according to Ms. Tahir Gora of the Canadian Coalition of Progressive Muslim Organizations, Ms. Ishaq is motivated by political considerations. In fact, Zunera Ishaq works as a volunteer for an organization linked to Jamaat-e-Islami, whose military wing is considered to be a terrorist organization. Up until last October 16th, her Facebook profile mentioned that she is a member of Jamaat-e-Islami and a supporter of this Pakistani political party.

Thus, she became a central figure in the 2015 federal election campaign.

In the wake of this court ruling, the Harper government announced that it would appeal to the Supreme Court. However, the other political parties took advantage of this controversy by alleging that it was only a diversion to distract us from real matters of importance. My response to all these antics is that the niqab issue is indeed one of real importance. Furthermore, it raises the question of the radical segregation between women and men, which is incompatible with fundamental democratic principles.

It was in this context that a wave of protest arose. Building on this electoral issue, Caroline Leclerc, a communications and marketing coordinator, used her Facebook page to encourage voters to cast their vote while wearing a face-covering. She succeeded in attracting more than 9000 people who indicated their intention of wearing a mask when going to vote. With a certain degree of sarcasm, Ms. Leclerc declared that:

“It is not those voting with a potato bag or other disguise on their heads who are ridiculous. What is ridiculous is that our laws allow this to occur, and we will denounce that situation.”

I endorsed this cause and went to vote wearing a mask, feeling a little ridiculous and uncomfortably hot; I was nevertheless reassured by the fact that several others had done the same. At the polling station, no-one asked me to remove my mask. I was asked for my driver’s license (with photo?!?) in order to verify the address inscribed on my voter card. I was not asked many questions, nor was there any attempt to verify that I really was the man shown on the driver’s license because no-one saw my face. I asked the people staffing the table if I needed to expose my face, and they replied that that was unnecessary because “we recognize you by your eyes.”

As a result of these events, the consequences of the Federal Appeal Court decision are unacceptable because it is now permissible to present oneself anywhere with the face covered, with no obligation to prove one’s identity. The repercussions of this situation go far beyond a simple masked ball. It will now be possible to defy the Montreal municipal by-law P-6 whose purpose is precisely to prevent street demonstrations with face-coverings.

If there is no longer any requirement to show one’s face for identification purposes, may we from now on have driver’s license (or passport) photos taken while wearing a mask? Such are the consequences of multiculturalism of the Trudeau (father and son!) variety. Now that we are saddled with a government which allows absurdities under the guise of freedom of religion, we are the laughing stock of the world.

A very grim Halloween indeed.

9 thoughts on ““Canadian Masquerade”

  1. Indi

    This is an insane post, symptomatic of the intellectual rot spreading among Canadian atheists whenever the “Muslim problem” comes up. Par for the course, it’s not only completely off the rails rationally, it doesn’t even get the basic facts right.

    The reason you’re allowed to vote in a face mask is because YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO SHOW PHOTO ID. And you never were; this is not some dark conspiracy recently put in place by the Trudeaus or “multiculturalists”. (How would that even make any friggin’ sense? The rules that this election is running by were determined by the *HARPER* government. The “Trudeau government” didn’t even exist until it was over! And Harper had a *majority* – he could have put in whatever rules he damn well pleased… so how, other than lunatic paranoia, did this get to be Trudeau’s fault?)

    You don’t need photo ID to vote, and this has nothing to do with the citizenship oath bullshit. You can show up to vote with a credit card and a power bill, and that’s *ALWAYS* been true. And it’s by deliberate design: voter ID laws that require things like photo ID prevent millions of people from voting, who don’t have photo ID for various reasons… and it’s usually the most vulnerable members of society who get shafted. So you don’t need a photo ID to vote, and if you don’t need photo ID to vote, why the fuck would it be necessary to show your face at all? What would be the point?

    You *DO* need photos on driver’s licences and passports, for what I would have thought is the bleedingly obvious reason that those items are for special privileges. You don’t have a constitutional right to drive; it’s a privilege. You don’t have a constitutional right to *leave* Canada and waltz back in without being stopped and checked (though you do have a right to move about anywhere you please *within* Canada).

    But voting is not a privilege, it is a constitutional right… and there is no constitutional requirement to have photo ID or walk around barefaced, so by simple logic, citizens should be free to exercise their constitutional right vote without forcing those things on them unless it is utterly necessary. And it’s not utterly necessary to see someone’s face when they’re voting, obviously, because voting doesn’t require photo ID.

    In Canada, you’ve been allowed to vote without photo ID or showing your face since the birth of the country – for almost 150 years. So why is there a problem now? Oh, right… because of Muslims. But no Islamophobia here. Nope, nuh-uh. This is *totally* something else, right? Right?

    1. Veronica Abbass Post author


      You don’t have to shout; I can hear you!

      I’m sure DeRossi knows that Justin Trudeau had nothing to do with election rules. The Trudeau comment, which you misread, has to do with the consequences of multiculturalism, which was Pierre Trudeau’s idea, and it looks like Justin Trudeau will continue to embrace the embarrassment that is official multiculturalism.

      Your accusations of Islamophobia are getting tired and repetitive. What do you think of religionaphobia?

      1. Indi

        > I’m sure DeRossi knows that Justin Trudeau had nothing to do with election rules. The Trudeau comment, which you misread, has to do with the consequences of multiculturalism, which was Pierre Trudeau’s idea, and it looks like Justin Trudeau will continue to embrace the embarrassment that is official multiculturalism.

        Bull. Shit.

        As I pointed out, these rules have been in place since LONG before multiculturalism was a thing… in fact, since long before Pierre Trudeau was even born. This has nothing at all to do with the “consequences” of multiculturalism, either real or existing only in the imagination of paranoid lunatics. DeRossi was just being a clueless idiot. There’s no point denying that, or trying to defend his cluelessness.

        > Your accusations of Islamophobia are getting tired and repetitive. What do you think of religionaphobia?

        They are being repeated because it’s still happening. If you’re tired of hearing them, the easy fix is to stop being islamophobic.

        What’s happening here is clearly not merely a problem with “religion”. It is quite clearly a specific reaction to the (imagined) Muslim factor. It can’t get any more obvious: it starts out with talking about the citizenship oath case (which as I pointed out, is utterly irrelevant to the facts of voter identification, but clearly in DeRossi’s muddled mind there is a link) and *specifically* states that the whole “protest” is in that context, saying “the niqab issue is indeed one of real importance”.

        But for the record, even IF this were just legitimately a case of “religionaphobia”, there would still be a problem. The “phobia” part refers to the fact that the response is *IRRATIONAL*. *That* is the problem, not mere distaste for Islam. *I* don’t like Islam – I think it’s stupid, barbaric, and long overdue to be tossed into history’s dustbin for bad ideas. But I *insist* on reacting to Islam *rationally*. Nothing about DeRossi’s post is rational, even without observing the factual cluelessness – in fact, it’s so hilariously irrational, I would suspect it of being a poe.

      2. CAPS

        ALL CAPS works better than *this* does. T’would be nice if we could have html elements allowed.

  2. Ronald

    As long as security is maintained, I can’t think of a reason to complain about niqabs, BUT only as long as Muslim women are in no way pressured into wearing niqabs (or burqas) by their religion, or culture, or anything else. In the West we are finally achieving a semblance of equality between the sexes, let’s not take a giant step backwards and allow a growing segment of the population to visibly oppress their own female contingent. Rule of law, equality before the law, that’s our culture and we can’t let these central parts of it go for abstract, superficial, faddish reasons of “Political Correctness”.

    Having said that, how easy is it to convince oneself that Muslim women would WANT to cover their faces, except for their eyes? In my case, pretty hard to believe that more than a very few would choose it for themselves. It fits well with arranged marriage, but badly with Western “love-marriage” (what some other cultures call our idea of marrying someone because you love them).

  3. dusttodust

    Thank you Indi. I read the OP and couldn’t place my distaste. Sheesh this whole stupid topic of Islamophobia and not liking people wearing tents is getting ridiculous. When this came up and seemed to touch a nerve among too many people for my liking, I felt entirely ashamed of my fellow Canadians. You bunch of racist hicks. I’m astonished at how that blew up into an issue. THE CHICK’S IDENTITY HAD BEEN VERIFIED BEFORE SHE STARTED THE “CEREMONY”! Why give a rats ass about what she wears!?
    To Ronald: pressured eh!? Well I’m pressured by this stupid backwards Puritanical society that I have to wear clothes to begin with! I should jolly well be free to wear or not wear whatever I like…particularly if the air temperature is warm. Apparently I’ve evolved substantial reduction in body hair so as not to be able to use it as warmth. So clothes it is when cold.
    Sure…I have opinions about the perceived symbolism about wearing a tent but we live in a mostly free country. Wear whatever the fuck you like. Be prepared to face scorn and ridicule for wearing the waist of your pants at your knees but hey it’s your business. Or maybe what you wear might keep you back from progressing work-wise… but hey it’s your business.
    It’s the same argument made about abortion. Don’t like abortion and what it does…don’t have one. But don’t be telling someone else not to have one. Don’t like the symbolism about wearing a tent…don’t wear one. But don’t be telling others not to.

    Crap! by the way….good riddance Harpo.

  4. steve oberski

    I personally was considering an FSM niqab (for males only) this election.

    It would feature an inverted colander placed firmly over the head with a demure and modest veil of uncooked spaghetinni noodles depending from the colander rim thus protecting the wearer from the salacious stares and lustful thoughts of those without any semblance of impulse control and protecting the property rights of the owner of said male.

    I would be the last to “tell” others what they can and can not wear but I would certainly employ all available tools in the market place of ideas to point out how incredibly damaging this tribal custom actually is, with satire, irony and parody being among the most useful.

    1. Joe

      That would be freedom of expression, not freedom of religion, unless you actually intend to wear it every time you leave your home. Both are freedoms guaranteed by the charter, but the courts don’t necessarily treat them as equivalent protections. Also, there are acceptable gender specific ways to disguise oneself in our culture… Cosmetics for women, facial hair for men… Etc..

      Will you be mocking men who feel beards are a cultural, religious requirement?
      You might find bearded men a less easy target for mockery though… But if you are that brave, I would love to see a video of it… Heheh.


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