My 10-year old granddaughter is an empathic child, easily distressed by tales of human or animal suffering. Yet in her chosen Hallowe'en costume she will appear to be carrying her head and a "blood"-stained plastic meat cleaver after having been decapitated.

I don't see her as a future recruit to ISIL, though. One needn't be a psychiatrist to understand that Hallowe'en acts as a healthy safety valve in managing childish fears. But even a 10-year-old understands that while anti-social costumes are received with good cheer on Oct. 31, they would be inappropriate at other times.

You can see where I'm headed here. To the vexation of most Canadian pundits, self-masking as a cultural norm bloomed into a hot-button issue in this election campaign. The debate continues to rage.

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