I’ve ranted a few times about the niqāb controversy here in Quebec, and I’m disappointed to see the issue being handled just the same way federally. I was going to rant again, but I see Haroon Siddiqui has already done so in the Toronto Star, and better than I could have anyways. Once again, all our political parties from left to right, without exception, are being total idiots. (Why do none of them point out that thousands of Canadians routinely vote by mail without showing any ID at all, as I myself did in the most recent election?) The only difference this time is that Elections Canada has stood up to its critics, unlike Elections Quebec. Good grief.
And speaking of stupid Canadian politicians, I was very disappointed (although not at all surprised) to see Canada join the US, Australia, and New Zealand in voting against the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples this week, on the grounds that it “doesn’t recognize Canada’s need to balance indigenous rights with those of others”, i.e., it’s too nice to natives. Having just returned from a Cree community on James Bay (more on that later), I hardly think current policy would suffer from a swing in that direction. His lack of substantive action on this notwithstanding, Jean Chretien had at least supported signing the non-binding draft declaration, perhaps showing that he’d learnt a thing or two from his time as Minister of Indian Affairs, but clearly Harper wasn’t going to have anything to do with this.
One quick, related anecdote from our trip: on our way back, talking to his father on a cellphone, the four-year-old we were travelling with described himself as having returned to Canada. I liked how clear it was to him that we had visited a completely different country.
I have a few hours of work left, and then I’m off to my first choir rehearsal of the season. Whee!