Trudeau Government drops Niqab Appeal

Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship John McCallum

The Trudeau government have officially dropped the appeal in the Zunera Ishaq case.  Ishaq is a Pakistani Muslim who arrived in Canada in 2008.  She refused to take the oath of citizenship without wearing the niqab; a garment that covers a woman’s face.  the former Conservative government established a rule banning it from Citizenship ceremonies.  Ishaq successfully appealed the ruling to the federal court, which ruled in her favour.

The Conservatives filed an appeal to the Supreme Court to stay the ruling last month. They were denied, and Ishaq was allowed to take the oath while wearing the niqab.  Ministers John McCallum (Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship), and Jody Wilson-Raybould (Justice) released a statement announcing the Liberals’ decision stating in part: “The government respects the decision of both courts and will not seek further appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada”.

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The issue became an election issue as the Conservatives promised to formalize the niqab ban, and announced a promise to create a “barbaric practises” hotline if they were re-elected.  On October 19 the Conservatives lost the election to Justin Trudeau and the Liberals.  “Canada’s diversity is among its greatest strengths, and today we have ensured that successful citizenship candidates continue to be included in the Canadian family. We are a strong and united country because of, not in spite of, our differences,” the statement continued.

The Liberals have also reversed the ban on the long-form census, and are promising changes to Bill C51.