Whereas I personally think that women would assimilate much better into Canadian society without going around wearing such ridiculous garb, it doesn’t matter what I think.
There is an Indian doctor in my town whose wife decided she wasn’t going to wear a sari anymore and started wearing jeans. He protested at first, but she essentially said, “We live in America now. I’m not going to dress that way anymore. If you want to divorce me over this, I get half.” He stopped protesting and they are married still.
According to this article titled ‘Veiled threats’ from The Gazette (Montreal), which is cited in a Wikipedia article on the niqab, Salam Elmenyawi, head of the Muslim Council of Montreal, had estimated back in 2007 that only about 10 to 15 women in the entire province of Quebec might have shown up to vote that year wearing a niqab. But given the controversy that was created at the time, he wasn’t sure that any would turn out to vote.
That was 8 years ago. I would think that this issue would have been resolved by now.
The niquab the woman is wearing in the Guardian article is really not much more than a scarf and clearly she is not trying to hide her identity (as the cited Conservative statement implies) by any stretch of the imagination. On the contrary, she has been fully identified and is merely trying to express her Muslim identity.
I am certain that the officials at the ceremony knew exactly who she was, and they knew that she had completed all of the naturalization requirements over an extended period of time, or she wouldn’t have been allowed to participate in the ceremony in the first place.
What if the person were Joseph Merrick? Or a burn victim who didn’t feel comfortable showing their face during the ceremony? Would the state then argue that that person had to “openly, proudly and publicly declare their loyalty to their fellow citizens and country without their face hidden”?
I am sure this only became an issue because some official involved with that ceremony made it an issue. And I wonder how they went about telling her that she couldn’t wear that veil?
Besides, a federal appeals court has already found the ban on veils to be unlawful. I guess the state wants to take it all the way to the supreme court so that it can be settled once and for all.
I would really just like to know what legal argument the state is trying to use in court?