The highly charged issue of face coverings worn by would-be Canadians at citizenship ceremonies was thrust into the election campaign when the Conservatives challenged a recent court decision quashing the so-called niqab ban.
On Wednesday the government announced its plans to appeal yet another court decision that tosses out the ban on face veils from citizenship oath ceremonies.
Earlier in the week the Federal Court of Appeal upheld a decision that stems from Zunera Ishaq’s challenge of the Conservative’s 2011 ban.
But on Friday the government announced that in addition to its appeal it will seek a stay on the court’s decision. In other words, Ishaq and other Muslim women who believe it’s their religious duty to wear the niqab will have to wait until the entire court process is over until they can don the garment at a ceremony.
Since the Conservatives want to take this all the way to the Supreme Court, that could take years.
In a recklessly biased bit of journalism, the Canadian Press began its story on this development with the line: “The Conservatives are seeking to throw up another roadblock to a Muslim woman’s quest to be able to vote in October.”
Ishaq, her lawyer explained, wants to vote on Oct. 19. She can’t vote until she takes the oath.
But the government isn’t throwing up a roadblock to her voting. She is. Ishaq’s not being denied citizenship. That’s all finished. She just needs to show up at the ceremony, briefly taking off the veil, to be done with it.
The impediment is one of her own choosing. Many Muslim women don’t wear face veils. Many even oppose them — such as Raheel Raza and Farzana Hassan, who have written their opinions on the matter in Sun columns.
This isn’t a barrier. A barrier is, for example, if citizenship ceremonies were only held in inaccessible spaces where people with mobility issues couldn’t access. Nobody chooses to have a disability. But people choose their religion and choose which variation of that religion to follow.
If you choose one with rules that conflict with fairly reasonable conventions — such as showing your face in important social situations — then that’s your problem.
“When you join the Canadian family in a public citizenship ceremony it is essential that that is a time when you reveal yourselves to Canadians and that is something widely supported by Canadians,” Stephen Harper said at a campaign event Friday in Calgary.
He’s right that polls have consistently shown a majority of Canadians support his position. No wonder the government is prepared to take it to the Supreme Court.
Please, Please, send them all back to their homeland before it comes to this! The civilized world will be a better place without this vermin!
Or, I prefer that our Forces just shoot them all in the head. After all, that is what they would do to us where they come from. I volunteer to enlist just to do the deed!
I agree with the ban, come join our canadian family but if you dont agree with our way of life, then you are most welcome to return to the country you came from, harsh perhaps, but I feel it would be the same way if I moved over there, I would be asked to abide by your customs.
@ ji Wiz & aSCOTT
Vermin?? ‘OUR Canadian family??’
One of the things we as Canadian s prize is one’s ability (freedom) to choose. Canada is a melting pot of all manner of people, customs and rituals. This is what makes Canada great.
It has nothing to do with a piece of cloth worn on the face whether one wears it to follow they beliefs, or protect one from the cold of winter.
How can an inanimate object cause you both to be so caustic? @ ji Wiz – Hate speech is what comes to mind when I read your post.
Frankly, I am not part of the ‘Canadian family’ you purport to be part of. Far from it – I am part of the Canadian family that respects others choices and beliefs whether I agree with them or not.
To claim to be part of the Canadian family and the Canadian mindset with statements like you have both made above, is an embarrassment to any caring, compassionate & respectful person