What on earth was that word Stephen Harper slipped in to the Globe debate last night? “Old stock Canadians”? It became a theme on the campaign trail today. Knocking on doors, people asked me if I had heard it and what I thought it meant.
The incredible thing is how Harper has evaded what should be significant anger over his insistence on appealing the niqab decision. Traditional Conservatives should be outraged that our outgoing Prime Minister is using public funds to ask the Supreme Court of Canada to allow an appeal. The ill-considered, politically motivated decision to challenge a woman’s right to wear a niqab to her citizenship ceremony is untenable because the citizenship act specifically says new Canadians can wear cultural costumes of their land of birth and does not give a Minister of Citizenship and Immigration the right to issue orders. This appeal has not a snow ball’s chance in hell.
Politics of division. Let it end October 19.
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There are no barriers to wearing any local or traditional costume for any group. Anyone can wear a mask. It is not preferential treatment for Islamic women who choose to wear a niqab. There is a requirement that prospective citizens confirm their identity in advance. No benefit is conferred on anyone other than the citizen if a fraudulent applicant attends a ceremony (although that hypothetical has never occurred).. So it is a huge non-issue.
I hate to see taxpayers dollars squandered on a no-win case. The minister of immigration lost the case – not due to Charter rights arguments – but because he issued a directive that had no grounding in law. He had no authority to dictate clothing choices in the act. In fact, the Citizenship Act specifically encourages people to wear significant ethnic or personally significant costumes.
Of course, I agree with much of what you said. I hope this assists in understanding my position.