The federal government has no plans to move forward with proposed legislation to force veiled women to show their faces when voting, the minister of state for democratic reform said Thursday.
Dmitri Soudas, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, confirmed the government still supports the idea of forcing voters to reveal their faces, but said the bill doesn’t have opposition support. “The bottom line is even if we were to proceed with legislation, it would be voted down immediately,” Soudas said.
The government introduced the bill in October 2007, a month after an Elections Canada ruling allowed Muslim women to vote with their faces covered by burkas or niqabs during three Quebec byelections. That decision infuriated the government, and Harper accused Elections Canada of subverting the will of Parliament, which several months earlier had unanimously adopted legislation beefing up voter identification requirements.