The CBC is reporting that some Hutterites in southern Alberta are challenging a new provincial law that all driver’s licenses must have photos. According to the Wilson Colony—near Coaldale, east of Lethbridge—the law violates their freedom of religion. They believe that the Second Commandment, which forbids making graven images, should be understood quite literally.
Before the new law took effect in 2003, Hutterites were able to avoid having their pictures taken for their driver’s licenses, but no longer. According to the lawyer for the colony, when they seek to renew their driver’s licenses they now must submit to the photo requirement.
“As their licenses come up for renewal, they’re simply not renewing,” the attorney told the CBC. The colony used to have 37 drivers but the number has declined to 15. They are worried about the fate of their large-scale farming operation when they no longer have any licensed drivers. They are challenging the law in court in Lethbridge.
The lawyer for the Hutterites also mentioned their fear that a proposed Canadian law may require a national ID with photo. This case in Lethbridge may have an effect on the national identification issue. The government has issued temporary licenses to colony drivers until the case is decided, probably this coming summer.