OTTAWA — BRING OUT THE CLOWNS
The raging election debate over the Muslim face covering known as the niqab seemed to be spawning a bizarre protest sideshow as four days of advance polls opened Friday for the Thanksgiving long weekend.
A voter arrived at a polling station in the Montreal suburb of Dorval wearing a full clown costume, complete with rainbow-coloured hair, white rubber face mask, fake beard, bulbous red nose and a pair of over-sized red clown shoes.
According to a CBC reporter outside the polling station, the man reported he wasn’t even required to remove his clown mask to vote.
Another voter at the same station showed up with a paper bag over his head.
According to Elections Canada, voters wearing a niqab or any other facial covering are permitted to vote but may be asked to sign an oath attesting to their identity, in addition to providing the now-required two pieces of identification, including one with a home address.
HE KEEPS ON GOING, AND GOING, AND GOING …
Most of NDP Leader Tom Mulcair’s public appearances and media events have gone off without a hitch in this federal election campaign, thanks to a crack crew of technicians who meticulously prepare for each appearance.
But even though Mulcair may often appear to have the stamina of the Energizer bunny, even the most resilient politician runs out of batteries.
That seems to have been the case Friday when Mulcair appeared in Montreal to release his party’s full policy platform.
After a lengthy speech, followed by a question-and-answer session with the assembled partisans, Mulcair was answering a question from a reporter when his microphone slowly faded until his voice trailed off.
Not wanting their leader to holler his response, one of his aides quickly came to the rescue with another microphone, this one with enough power to keep up with Mulcair, who continued to take questions for the next half hour.
STEPHEN HARPER ON … STEPHEN HARPER
As Stephen Harper delivered a campaign speech Friday in which he introduced his full 159-page platform, the prime minister paused three times to air pre-taped videos of himself — with his own narration — visiting a family, pensioners and a small business owner.
The Conservative party leader, clearly fascinated at seeing the edited end product, spun around during the Richmond, B.C., campaign rally to watch himself on video on a huge screen as the pixellated Harper knocked on doors and interacted with voters.
In the short video spots, Harper chows down popcorn with a family in Richmond Hill, Ont., before departing with pats on the heads of the couple’s three children. He also visits francophones Carl Meunier and Tommy Landry at their trucking business, where he exchanges ball caps and agrees to pose with them for a photo using a selfie stick.
The Conservative party promotional videos, which aired live (and free) on several networks carrying Harper’s speech, left some reporters gaping, as they’re not accustomed to seeing the normally reserved prime minister narrating his own casual events.
The videos also provided a sharp contrast to the tense atmosphere of Thursday evening, when a protester rushed at Harper during a gathering of supporters in Surrey, B.C., and was detained by the RCMP. Two other people at the Surrey event were also hauled out after attempting to raise protest signs.
The Canadian Press