Thursday, September 24, 2015

Jail solves everything

A Green Party candidate in the Canadian election has a bit of a PR problem.  You see she is of the school of belief that when someone is being oppressed by others the solution is to take the oppressed person and put them in jail.  To help, you understand.

More precisely Lynda Briguene thinks that wearing the niqab should be banned in all public spaces in Canada.  Which is definitely against the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and certainly would be struck down by the courts immediately, but nonetheless we have a 'serious' political candidate who thinks the government should be carefully making sure people don't wear too much clothing.

Briguene has taken a beating over this, not least from members of her own party who do not agree with her stance.  It is reminiscent of conservative stances on drug use and sex work - solve the problem of people being in a bad situation by imprisoning them!  Nothing can go wrong with that and surely prison will help sort their lives out and make things better.

This illustrates one issue I have with voting Green.  Although the party's candidates will no doubt be very environmentally conscious, which is good, they will also have all kinds of random ideas about government that I really might not like.  There isn't as much uniformity there as with the other parties, and I certainly don't want to put socially right wing people into government just to get a more environmentally conscious person in there.

The thing that gets me though is that even though a large number of people (on the left, primarily) will say that this is wrong and the government should not interfere in clothing choices by sending in the guns they will instantly defend the status quo... which includes imprisoning people based on the choice to go without clothes, or without clothes covering specific bits of the person.

We ought to let people wear the clothes they want, including 'None' if that is the way they roll.  If we are concerned about patriarchal oppression that leads to niqabs being worn unhappily let us work on the oppression first, rather than the niqab, which *can* be a symptom, but is not the disease itself.


  1. They probably wouldn't just ban the niqab... they'd probably make it an anti-mask law (which would make it not unconstitutional). Of which Canada currently has one, thanks to the Reformatories... you can get 10 years for covering your face during a riot or unlawful assembly.

    The big problem with making a law like this is that it just results in oppressing them more. At least before they could go outside.

    1. This law also has the byproduct of making it illegal to protest in heavily sub-zero weather. Scarves around the face may help prevent frostbite, but they also bar the government from taking your photo!