IS THE NIQAB BECOMING 'THE ISSUE' IN THE FEDERAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN?

Oct 08, 2015

By Jane Brown

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Stephen Harper’s stance that he would consider a ban on niqabs worn by anyone working for the federal government is becoming a hot topic in the election. But is it relevant?

The leaders of the two largest federal public service unions say they are not aware of a single member who wears a niqab face covering. And they’re accusing the Conservative Leader of trying to distract voters with his plan to consider a ban on the wearing of face coverings in public sector work places.

If it’s a tactic, it may be working. A new Forum Research poll reveals that 20 percent of Canadian voters say the niqab issue will influence their vote, while 10 percent say it’s a very important issue.

The idea of a ban on niqabs for federal government workers has prompted condemnation from Muslim groups, premiers and Stephen Harper’s chief rivals.

“He’s looking to divide Canadians. The role of a prime minister is to build bridges from ethnic group to ethnic group, from province to province, from religion to religion. That’s what a prime minister does, is to bring us together as a country. Stephen Harper’s just reminding us every time he does this, why he doesn’t deserve to be the prime minister of Canada,” explained NDP Leader Tom Mulcair.

Both Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau are on the same side of this issue.

“This is yet again, another example of of Mr. Harper doing anything he can to deflect from the fact that after ten years of a failed economic approach, Canadians want change,” Trudeau said at a campaign stop in London, Ontario.

Stephen Harper says the Conservatives are examining Quebec’s Bill 64, which requires Muslim women or others who wear face coverings to remove them if they want to work in the public sector — or do business with government officials.

Harper is praising the Quebec Liberal government’s measured approach on the controversial issue.

The niqab issue will be the focus of discussion on Zoomer Radio’s Goldhawk Fights Back, after the 11am news.

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