By Susana Mas
Conservatives doubled down on their position that women should not wear face coverings during citizenship ceremonies, saying the government would take the matter to the Supreme Court, while vowing to reintroduce the niqab ban within 100 days of re-election.
On Tuesday, the Federal Court of Appeal dismissed the government’s appeal of an earlier Federal Court ruling that declared the ban on face coverings at such ceremonies was unlawful.
- Read the reasons given from the bench at Tuesday’s Federal Court of Appeal hearing
- Baloney meter: Is niqab ban needed to prove citizenship applicant’s ID?
- ANALYSIS | Conservatives’ niqab ban shaped by Quebec’s secular charter
- ANALYSIS | Conservatives’ doomed legislation will be back during the campaign
The decision stemmed from the case of Zunera Ishaq, a 29-year-old woman with devout Muslim beliefs who came to Ontario from Pakistan in 2008. She refused to take part in a citizenship ceremony because she would have to show her face under a ban introduced in 2011.
The three-judge panel ruled from the bench, saying they wanted to proceed quickly so that Ishaq could obtain her citizenship in time to vote in the Oct. 19 federal election.
One of Ishaq’s lawyers, Marlys Edwardh, said the Immigration Department would be contacted this week so she could attend a citizenship ceremony — accompanied by her lawyers “just in case.”
New legislation promised
The Conservative campaign moved swiftly on Wednesday, lining up key Tory heavyweights to reassert their position on the niqab, less than 24 hours after suffering the latest in a series of losses before the courts.
Chris Alexander issued a one-line statement saying the government will seek leave to appeal the case to the Supreme Court of Canada.
In June, with days to go before Parliament adjourned for the summer, the Conservatives proposed legislation requiring all would-be Canadians to show their face while taking the oath of citizenship. The Oath of Citizenship Act died on the order paper. Click here to continue reading Niqab Canada