There are problems with Canada’s electoral laws. As currently written, in order to vote a person has to have a street address. The authors of the law did not stop to think that, as written, the law would disenfranchise large numbers of rural voters who have only a post office box number. It would also take the right to vote from the homeless, but perhaps poor people don’t count anyway. So the Canadian Conservative government stepped up to the plate to address the urgent need to amend the law. The new law was introduced on October 26, to deal with the most pressing shortcoming of the voting act — the danger that some woman might try to vote wearing a niqab. All parties in parliament have joined this charade, just in time for Halloween. Why this pressing need for the new law? Has anyone identified a single case where someone wearing a niqab voted or tried to vote? In order to understand where this legislative foolishness comes from, you need to remember the code adopted by Hérouxville, Quebec (stoning women and genital mutilation not permitted) and Hérouxville’s clone Mario Dumont, head of Quebec’s official opposition party, Action Démocratique. As a result of his Muslim-bashing, the Quebec government set up a commission to hold hearings on “reasonable accommodation” for minorities. Action Démocratique is a right-wing party, like the federal conservatives, and its activists have aided Conservative candidates federally, so Stephen Harper, the Conservative Prime Minister, is doing a good turn for Dumont and appealing to the same Quebec reactionary populism in keeping the kettle boiling. In a preview to Halloween, several people voted in the recent federal by-elections in Quebec wearing masks and paper bags, to mock the right of niqab-clad women to vote. The only sane comment among politicians on all this madness comes from the deputy leader of the federal Liberal Party, Michael Ignatieff, who expressed concern that the Quebec “reasonable accommodation” debate was being introduced into the Commons. Of course, Quebec is also now bringing in its own no-niqab voting bill for provincial elections.