Canadian PM enrages opposition over veil ban bill

Election debate takes new turn as Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper tries to bring back veil law

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper

PM Stephen Harper is being heavily criticised by the two opposition leaders, during an election debate he brought up the issue of Muslim veiled woman while they are acquiring Canadian citizenship.

Harper supports that women should not be covered while the citizenship ceremony is taking place, seeking to bring back the law that bans women from wearing the niqab, the garment that leaves only the eyes uncovered.

The opposition is claiming that Harper is using this to gain more votes.

The PM’s vision seems to grow in the French-speaking city of Quebec, which holds 23 percent of the House of Commons, where as the Conservatives have only 5 seats in the House.

The opposition parties support that Harper's view violates the rights of Canadian citizens.

"Mr. Harper and Mr. Duceppe want to play on fear and division," Liberal leader Justin Trudeau said. "If a man can't dictate how a woman should dress, we can't have the state telling a woman how she shouldn't dress."

New Democrats leader Thomas Mulcair said that Harper wants to overshadow economic records.

"Mr. Mulcair, never, I will never say to my daughter that a woman must cover herself up because she is a woman," Harper said.

Earlier this year, when the law was banned, Harper said that he will try to appeal to bring the law back.

“I believe, and I think most Canadians believe, that it is offensive that someone would hide their identity at the very moment where they are committing to join the Canadian family,” he told reporters. “This is a society that is transparent, open, and where people are equal.”

The issue first became known by a Muslim woman from Toronto that wanted to take the oath wearing her niqab.

Zunera Ishaq, originated  from Pakistan, said that a law is “a personal attack on me and Muslim women like me.”


TRTWorld and agencies