I went in to renew my driver’s license, today. On holidays, my family and I invariably put several thousand kilometers on the car, so I need to have a valid license…!
Within the past year, I’ve also obtained a new passport. In both cases, I’ve been asked to take off my glasses and not to smile. This is new; it’s not quite as new in the case of obtaining a passport (it’s been like that for about a decade now, it seems to me). What unnerves me about it is that I can only guess the reason for this measure is that I’ll look like someone you’re less likely to care about should I end up as a wanted person by the police… no smile, looking straight at the camera – this guy must be a criminal! (Images are powerful!)
I’m pictured in the files of the federal and provincial governments, and have been as long as I’ve been applying for government-issued identification. Why no smile? I like to smile in pictures! Does it make for an easier conviction should I be charged with something? I’m am still innocent until proven guilty in our justice system, correct? (…heaven forbid I should find myself on that side of the law.)
In a tough on crime agenda, making a case to limit the freedoms of people who seem to be a threat to ruling powers is everything. I worry about that with our current federal government, as well as the current provincial government. I’d rather see them both advocating for a better social net: how about health and education available and accessible to all? …that kind of priority would certainly make me smile!