The Harper government has passed its controversial Noble Voters Act, which will require all potential voters to answer three riddles and “establish their virtue true” before casting a ballot.
“This is in no way about disenfranchising voters,” said Pierre Poilievre, Chair of the Committee for Voter Disenfranchisement. “This is about respecting democracy. The other parties will tell you that every citizen of a certain age should get to vote, but that just cheapens the whole process. We’re the only party willing to say that getting to vote is as valuable as crossing a bridge you really want to cross or marrying some mystical princess with a weird father.”
It is expected that this bill will considerably lower voter turnout, as it dictates that those who ring the Gong of Democracy and then answer a riddle incorrectly will be beheaded. Critics have also expressed concern that government-released sample riddles indicate a bias in favour of applicants whose views are more closely aligned with Conservatives policies.
The sample riddles include ‘What is the sound of one hand clapping for all the jobs created by the Keystone XL pipeline?’ and ‘If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, why is that economically beneficial to Canada’s export based economy?’
These sample riddles were included as part of a study guide for those who intend to attempt to vote. Though the guide stresses that these riddles are less knowledge-based and more a ‘moral aptitude test,’ it is suggested that you have a working knowledge of:
- Murdoch Mysteries
- The Group of Seven
- The contents of the “Tickle Trunk”
- A Great Game: The Forgotten Leafs & The Rise of Professional Hockey, by Stephen Harper
- The Secret Group of Seven
Despite these government efforts to prepare potential voters for the riddles, opposition to the bill has been strong. It is particularly vociferous in Quebec, where there has been outrage over the sample riddle ‘What has four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and one leg at night?’ and its answer ‘Lucien Bouchard.’