By Jamie Rieger
At the time of this writing, the lengthy campaign for the federal election was winding down, and most people had likely already decided which candidate/party they would be voting for. By the time the paper is out, the election will be over and Canadians will either be relishing in the result or dismayed and worried by it.
Stephen Harper did not do his party any favours by having such a lengthy campaign. Seventy-eight days is a long time for opponents, like Justin Trudeau, who is still wet behind the ears, to garner confidence and support. And, as the leader of the country for the past decade, opponents had ample time to pick the issues they were going to go after him for.
But, did they choose to bring up the economy, pipelines, foreign policy, or the Trans Pacific Partnership, all of which saw only minimal attention by the candidates.
Rather, Mulcair and Trudeau chose the Harper government’s requirement of a Muslim woman to remove her niqab for a citizenship swearing-in ceremony. The Harper government has never said they were against the niqab, but removing it for a Citizenship ceremony was a requirement, something only two women since 2011 have challenged.
While many Canadians believe Zunera Ishaq refused to remove her niqab for religious reasons, there have been many Muslims who have spoken up since the issue arose to say the niqab is worn for cultural reasons and not for religion. It was Ishaq’s personal choice to not remove it.
Mulcair and Trudeau took that ball and ran with it, implying that Harper is anti-Muslim and distracting the voters’ attention from things like their own platforms. Other than a few empty (and costly) promises, not much is known about either one’s stance on some of the hot topics. To be fair to Mulcair, he has indicated his opposition to the TPP and is in favour of the $15 minimum a day for child care.
This column will come out the day after the election and by then, many of us will be suffering from election hang-over, happy that the mud-slinging and fear-mongering is finished until the next election. Early indications show a large turnout, with more young voters than is typical heading to the ballot boxes. Here’s hoping they, and all voters, did their homework ahead of time and voted based on which candidate would serve them best, and not on some hyped-up agenda that serves nobody well.