Monday, November 13, 2006

Ah, municipal elections

...that triennial time when I remember that Canada does in fact have state-funded religious indoctrination.

Favourite moment of the experience: Going to line up to get my ballot, and watching the woman at the voting roster hassle the guy in front of me for being an atheist. I go up next, and she asks "Catholic or Protestant?"

"Uh, neither."

(under her breath) "Same thing."

For my non-Canadian readers, in Ontario the constitution in fact mandates that the government supports a separate, Catholic school board distinct from the public system. (The problems involved in getting a Protestant and Catholic federation to settle down...) The elections for both public and Catholic boards are held at the same, but you only get to vote in one (apparently) so I had to state my religious preference, or lack thereof.

I'll point out, briefly, that this state-funded religious board a) makes Ontario the land that the 19th century forgot, and b) has had us tagged at least twice (1999, 2005) by the UN for discrimination against non-Catholic religious schools. Quebec, for it's part, no longer maintains the religious division but has two secular boards - English and French.

Anyway, back to the crazy lady in the ballot line. I can't figure out why she would say Catholic or Protestant? "Public or Catholic" would have been shorter, syllabically, and more accurate. My suspicion is that this particular volunteer came from the school - I was voting in a Catholic school gymnasium* - and given her age I suspect the religious distinction is more important to her than the political distinction.

Anyway, I voted just fine notwithstanding the crazy lady, and my ballot went in to a scanning machine that looked distressingly like a paper shredder or a photocopier. Depending on who's rigging the election how, my vote has either disappeared or has been repeated over and over.

*The first time I've been in a school gymnasium - regardless of denomination - since the last election in Canada... in January. Dammit, I didn't like high school gyms when I was in high school. Why must elections force me back there?

1 comment:

celestialspeedster said...

I was actually required to watch my ballot get sucked by the ballot machine and its resemblance to a shredder was a passing thought for me, too.

Technology is a wonderful thing but why were the voting booths so tiny? I could barely fit my head in one.