This happened at a polling station in Edmonton during advanced polling last weekend.

Cowboy voter at advance poll was protesting niqab at citizenship ceremony


As a protest of wearing a niqab to vote or to swear a citizenship oath, this guy’s stunt was an abject failure. He got it wrong. He was allowed to vote, as he should have been, the same as someone wearing a religious face covering. He didn’t actually prove anything.

However, in the story it also mentions what brought this on.

He was in court last month, supporting his partner who had to testify, when he was asked by the court clerk to remove his hat. When he responded that it was his cultural practice to wear his hat, he was told that he would be physically removed from the courtroom if he failed to comply.

Before an election, a woman wearing a hijab in Quebec was told by a judge that she could not appear without removing the head garment. The judge was thoroughly lambasted by many people as being culturally intolerant or even racist. Some political leaders said that the judge was wrong to not let the woman testify.

Here’s the thing. After thinking about it… for quite a while,  I also came to the conclusion that the judge was being intolerant and should have heard the case. How the hell does a woman wearing a niqab affect the judge’s ability to effectively do her job? The excuse that one should show respect for the Court by removing head coverings is not a good enough reason to cause this woman what could be profound personal anguish if forced to remove her religious garment.

Here’s the thing though, justice needs to not only be applied equally, it needs to be seen to be applied equally. That means no special rules based on religion, especially in a courtroom.

To me, this means that he should have never been asked to remove his hat in the courtroom. Was he just doing it to be an ass? Most likely. Unfortunately, being an ass doesn’t automatically mean that he was wrong.

He should not have been asked to remove his hat, and if politicians such as Justin Trudeau, Tom Mulcair, and Marc Garneau are true to their word, they will defend his right to wear what he wants.

After all, just a few months ago all three vowed to defend the right to wear what you want, even if it was unpopular.