Previewing the upcoming federal election with an earful of MacLean’s

The months have ticked by and apparently they will continue to do so regardless of whether or whether not I write this blog. Seven months seems like a tidy break. With Canada is a brief nine day blip away from a federal election, I dove into the political section of a recent MacLean’s Magazine and took an update.

Making headlines over the past week has been the issue of niqabs at citizenship ceremonies. Alongside the issue itself, it seems there is an open acknowledgment of Stephen Harper’s insistence on bringing that rather narrow conversation to the forefront of the campaign. Evan Solomon calls it a “dead cat” issue, essentially a distraction to avoid focus from some of the more significant, widespread and urgent challenges the country.

I find it frustrating. Personally, I am against a ban, but it’s not something I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about and I’m not steadfast on this issue. Still – I can’t recall the article from memory, but it was a recent bit of Metro coverage that underlined how incredibly narrow this issue it is: within a particular religion, within one gender group, it is a specific subset of people who would need to (or not need to) remove the face covering for a few minutes of time. The cockamamie coverage of “Niqabs-during-citizenship” is incredibly disproportionate to the extent that it would affect Canada’s actual governance over the next four years.

I guess anyone can throw a dead cat on the table, but nobody is obligated to play with it! The willingness of the other parties to engage and the media to cover, speculate and print is both unnecessary and disappointing. We have nine days!! Let’s see what else we can bring to the table over the next week.

Update: A couple of hours after publishing this post, I read an article by Tabatha Southey staunchly disagreeing with my perspective. Her point is that when a political party is targeting a specific ethnic group in effort to gain some polling points, that’s something that needs to be addressed, narrowness of the issue be damned. (Southey’s article also features animal references!)  – Oct 12.


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