Bill Longstaff: Knock it off, Tom, it wasn’t the niqab

I am a long-time member of the NDP but not, I’m afraid, a member of the Tom Mulcair fan club. I didn’t support his election to leader primarily because I’ve never believed he is a committed social democrat. He seems more of an opportunistic liberal, about as left-wing as Tony Blair. (Oddly, the leading socialist ...

Bill Longstaff: Is Christ Christian? Reflections on the niqab debate.

Pondering the late unlamented election debate about the niqab, I took to wondering just what a religion is. Not the dictionary definition or what theologians say it is, but how it is practiced by its followers. Take Christianity, for example, the religion that has surrounded me all my life. As someone who has no religion, ...

Alberta Politics: Where are the ‘good Conservatives,’ prepared to speak against their party’s race-baiting tactics?

PHOTOS: Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s tactics have sparked protests, but Conservatives who should know better have been astonishingly quiet. (CommonDreams.org photo.) Below: Former St. Albert MLA Mary O’Neill, Independent MP Brent Rathgeber and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi. ST. ALBERT, Alberta The single most disheartening thing about this long 2015 federal election campaign has been the ...

wRanter.com: Cultural and religious issues dominate as election day nears

Thank God for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). I say that not because trade is an inherently Jewish issue, nor because I know for certain the recently negotiated deal will be good for Canada, especially since its details have yet to be released. Irrespective of its long-term effects, the TPP might be our only hope to ...

Alberta Politics: Lawyers, guns and money: Russia’s intervention in Syria offers a useful teaching moment for Canadians

PHOTOS: A Russian Su-34 bomber releases a bomb near the provisional ISIS capital of Raqqa in Syria. (Russian Ministry of Defence photo.) Below: Russian President Vladimir Putin, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Russia’s military intervention in the Syrian civil war has offered a unique teaching moment for Canadians about the ...

A. Picazo: No Scrutiny Please, They’re Saudi.

This op-ed appeared in The Ottawa Citizen on October 1, 2015.  In 2014, on the shores of Lake Geneva and next to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, a lavish ceremony was held to honour the recipient of the Moral Courage Award — an annual honour bestowed by UN Watch, a Geneva-based NGO dedicated to ...

Bill Longstaff: Niqab nonsense—much ado about nothing

I am no fan of the niqab. Hell, I’m no fan of religion. But if a Moslem woman wants to wear a niqab at a citizenship ceremony for religious reasons, I can’t think of a single reason why I, or the state on my behalf, should prevent her. As long, that is, as she is ...

CuriosityCat: Niqab: In defence of Thomas Mulcair

Thomas Mulcair: Man of Principle Mr. Mulcair was asked a simple question, loaded with peril, and he answered it very clearly in the last debate on foreign affairs. His answer to the question whether he agreed with the federal court’s decision regarding the right of a woman to cover her face with a niqab was ...

CuriosityCat: Niqab: In defence of Thomas Mulcair

Thomas Mulcair: Man of Principle Mr. Mulcair was asked a simple question, loaded with peril, and he answered it very clearly in the last debate on foreign affairs. His answer to the question whether he agreed with the federal court’s decision regarding the right of a woman to cover her face with a niqab was ...

Susan on the Soapbox: A Pop Quiz for Canadian Citizens

Lost in the hoopla over whether Ms Ishaq can take the Oath of Citizenship while wearing a niqab is the fact that she actually passed the citizenship test. Which made Ms Soapbox wonder:  how many Canadians, veiled or unveiled, could pass the citizenship test if they were asked to take one.* So pop quiz! Yes, ...

somecanuckchick dot com: These are the types of NDP candidates Thomas Mulcair stands behind…

These are the types of NDP candidates Thomas Mulcair stands behind… Intolerance Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie Alexandre Boulerice says the NDP is against the niqab! [VIDEO, en français!] Mégantic—L’Érable Jean-François Delisle says the NDP should reopen Constitution to deal with the niqab. FYI Jean-François Delisle has backed off his initial statement that the NDP should reopen the ...

Left Over: Let’s Not Face the Truth….

  Canadians of all stripes oppose face coverings at citizenship ceremonies: Vote Compass Conservative and BQ supporters most opposed; Liberals, NDP and Greens more mixed CBC News Posted: Sep 21, 2015 3:58 PM ET Last Updated: Sep 22, 2015 11:11 AM ET Do I think that politicians of all stripes in this election, mostly male, ...

Left Over: Let’s Not Face the Truth….

  Canadians of all stripes oppose face coverings at citizenship ceremonies: Vote Compass Conservative and BQ supporters most opposed; Liberals, NDP and Greens more mixed CBC News Posted: Sep 21, 2015 3:58 PM ET Last Updated: Sep 22, 2015 11:11 AM ET Do I think that politicians of all stripes in this election, mostly male, ...

Susan on the Soapbox: Santa Gets Citizenship, Zunera Ishaq Does Not

Citizenship is a serious matter, right? That’s why Santa Claus is a Canadian citizen but Zunera Ishaq is not. Or to put it more accurately—that’s why a man covering his face with a fake beard and dressed in a Santa suit was officially declared a Canadian citizen by Jason Kenny (twice) and issued a high ...

Bill Longstaff: Oaths, niqabs, and respecting the rules

Immigration Minister Chris Alexander made a curious statement recently when being asked about the government’s proposed Bill C-75 which states that a person taking the oath of citizenship must “swear or affirm the oath out loud and with their face uncovered,” and furthermore, “If a person is required to take the oath of citizenship at ...

Scott's DiaTribes: The Niqab Hijab etc.. real issue.

By now, you know that a Federal Court has ruled against the Government of Canada that wanted veils/face coverings removed for the “ceremonial” part of the citizenship ceremony to become a Canadian citizen. (more specifically, niqabs, and apparently hijabs). You also know that Prime Minister Harper has decided to go on a rant about that, ...

Left Over: A Secular Choice…..and the Right to Choose

Niqab controversy: Judge struck down ban without referring to charter Zunera Ishaq, a Pakistani woman and devout Muslim, seeks to wear niqab during citizenship oath By Mark Gollom, CBC News Posted: Mar 16, 2015 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Mar 16, 2015 5:20 AM ET An intelligent decision by this judge, based not on the erroneous ...

Eh Types: Mr. Harper’s Veiled Threats

What do you call a solution without a problem? If you’re Stephen Harper, you call it an election strategy. The Conservative government has been proposing solutions in desperate need of problems. That they do so at all, and the manner in which they do is ironically a big problem. Last week was their announcement that ...

Bill Longstaff: Harper fails Conservative citizenship criteria

Over the signature of Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Chris Alexander, the Conservative Party of Canada recently emailed a petition to its supporters, rallying them against face covering during citizenship oaths. Apparently Conservative ire was raised by a Federal Court of Canada decision that struck down the ban on Muslim women wearing niqabs when taking ...

Law is Cool: Islamophobia in Canada: A Primer

by Fathima Cader and Sumayya Kassamali Ten years after September 11, 2001, the term “Islamophobia,” once largely obscure, has become all but inevitable when discussing contemporary politics. As Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden became household names, Western fear of the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims has also grown. Canada has been no stranger to this phenomenon. ...

kirbycairo: The Niqab and our Discourse. . . . .

Like many of us, I have thought a great deal about the issue of the niqab in public life. The recent banning of this garment in public in France set many people thinking and talking about the question and Minister Kenney’s recent banning of the niqab in citizenship ceremonies has generated a certain amount of ...

Progressive Proselytizing: Culture Wars: The Harper Government’s ridiculous ban on the Burqa during the citizenship ceremony

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has just announced plan to ban the use of the burqa or niqab for new Canadians during the Oath of Citizenship. I was very disappointed not just with the decision, but with how the decision was made and the various justifications used to defend it. Let us consider some of Kenney’s ...

Progressive Proselytizing: Sisterwives reframes the polygamy debate

It is always easier to dispel some characterization when it is given absolutely; not just as a generalization, not just as something that exists for some people, but as something that is always true. In this case, one merely needs to find a single counterexample to disprove the claim. Polygamy is one of those subjects that seems to lend itself ...

Progressive Proselytizing: Defending the Burqa

The Netherlands is the next country in the domino chain, following France and Belgium, in which it is likely they will ban the burqa in all public places. There are many arguments against such a ban that fall very much in line with typical liberal values, and there is a vocal opposition to the bans ...