• A man wearing a make-shift niqab during advance polls in Canada.Facebook/LE 19 OCTOBRE JE VOTE VOILÉE!
  • A voter wears a plastic bag over his head.Facebook/LE 19 OCTOBRE JE VOTE VOILÉE!
  • nullFacebook/LE 19 OCTOBRE JE VOTE VOILÉE!
  • A voter wears an interesting mask.Facebook/LE 19 OCTOBRE JE VOTE VOILÉE!
  • nullFacebook/LE 19 OCTOBRE JE VOTE VOILÉE!
  • nullFacebook/LE 19 OCTOBRE JE VOTE VOILÉE!

As Canada heads to the polls next week to vote for a new government, the make-or-break factor for rival political parties in the race seems to be the niqab - a veil worn by Muslim women to cover their faces. 

The issue has polarised the Canada election ever since Pakistan-origin Muslim Zunera Ishaq won the right to take the citizenship oath while wearing a niqab, thus squashing the ruling Conservative government's 2011 policy that banned Muslim women from wearing the veil at oath-taking ceremonies. 

The issue is now reportedly swaying voters towards the Conservatives, who have promised to bring a ban on the niqab even for public servants, a Toronto-based academic wrote in Dawn

On the other hand, the leftist New Democrat Party and the Liberals stand to suffer because of their stance on the issue of letting women decide if they want to cover their faces.

According to a government-ordered public opinion poll, a majority of Canadians were against women covering their faces, and almost most residents of Quebec voted against the niqab, according to CBC

As the issue over the niqab has taken political centrestage ahead of the Canada election, the attitude towards the court ruling allowing the veil was starkly visible during the advance polls held over the last few days, with several voters turning up in bizarre masks in protest.

Canada's federal election rules allow a person to vote while keeping their face covered, and many protesters have taken advantage of this to turn up at polling booths in weird masks and even with bags covering their heads. 

The protest was made popular by a Facebook page called 'On October 19th, I'll vote wearing a veil' in French, showing a host of voters in unique disguises and costumes. 

The creator of the page reportedly said she has become 'frustrated by the inability of governments to ban religious garb'.

According to CBC News, many were protesting against the right to vote without showing your face for identification.  

About 3.6 million voters turned up to cast their ballot during the advance polls before Canada goes for general election on 19 October.