Monday, May 2, 2011

May 2:
Canadians Get Out and Vote!
--Preferably for a Party that Will Still Respect You in the Morning

"People in other parts of the world are giving their lives for the right to vote in elections. Why is it that we take this right so much for granted that so many of us do not even bother to exercise this right, or complain about how often we must take the time and trouble?"--From counterweights

Three broad points are made by the above illustration. First and most importantly, while people are literally dieing for the right to vote, it is downright offensive for those who have it not to exercise that right. If you don't like any of the options, at least go and spoil your ballot, or write in a candidate/party (which will also spoil it)--it's the democratic thing to do. Second, specific groups like women and ethnic minorities have often had to work much harder to get the right to vote, even after men of the dominant culture had it--make your voice heard, at least in this way. Third, it doesn't matter what you look like or what you wear, if you can make an X you can vote. Symbols on the ballot will help you know for which party you are voting.

These are the 4 parties with current representation in Parliament--Conservative Party of Canada, Liberal Party of Canada, Bloc Québécois, New Democratic Party. Other federal parties registered with Elections Canada and so eligible for votes  include: Communist Party of Canada, Green Party of Canada, Libertarian Party of Canada, Marijuana Party of Canada, Rhinoceros Party of Canada, to name a few of all those listed here. Others have not yet registered or been allowed to register with Elections Canada: National-Socialist Party of Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador First Party, Sex Party, Work Less Party, to name a few of those listed here.

The leaders of the 4 parties with current representation, and The Green Party: Stephen Harper (C), Michael Ignatieff (L), Jack Layton (NDP), Elizabeth May (G), Gilles Duceppe (BQ).

Voting information, including where you can vote, and how to vote even if you aren't registered yet by registering at the polling station (NB identification requirements for registration and for voting--photo not obligatory). See also FAQs.

Voting information is available in 27 heritage languages, including Arabic, Bengali, Farsi, Somali, Urdu, and other languages (Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Hebrew, Spanish) of more recent arrivals (Gujarati, Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil, Tagalog) as well as the languages of earlier arrivals (Croatian, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Serbian, Romanian, Russian, Ukrainian, Vietnamese).

One final but important point. No woman has ever tried to vote in Canada while wearing the niqab, but women have the right to do so, since all Canadians have the right to vote without photo ID, as long as they have 2 other suitable pieces of identification. This is important because in the past, provincially (Quebec, 2007) and federally (2008), fear mongerers tried to claim they had, and to have the electoral laws changed in media res.

Related Post:
France Enforces Its "Burqa Ban" Starting April 11, 2011: Part III Et tu, Canada?

Your comments, thoughts, impressions, and experiences?

Addendum: I voted at 9:45 this morning. I had to register to vote since I didn't have a pre-sent card, and was voting strategically ie in the one of two ridings where I have the legal right to vote that is close enough for my vote to make more of a difference. After I was registered, I asked about the possibility for voting with a niqab on. The woman who registered me, said, Oh, different ID [ie no photo ID like I used] to prove name and address [the eligible pieces of ID are in the lists for all voters linked above, and below on the Elections Canada site].



Wendy said...

I voted in the advance polls. Waiting to see how it turns out today but not optimistic about a good result.

Chiara said...

If Harper wins a majority...well, he will be worse than with a minority. He campaigned fear-mongering all the way.

I guess my opinion of him comes as no revelation to regular readers. :D


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