The Canadian Press
Ottawa: Treasury Board President Tony Clement says banning the wearing of face-covering veils during citizenship ceremonies is necessary to assert Canadian values of gender equality and openness.
But he says it’s not necessary to impose those same values in the workplace or in other spheres of life.
Federal public servants, for instance, are not barred from wearing the niqab, a garment that covers the face, leaving only the eyes exposed.
Clement’s puzzling distinction is fuelling the debate raging on Parliament Hill over the niqab, which Prime Minister Stephen Harper has called the product of an anti-women culture.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says the latest broadside proves his assertion that Harper and his ministers are exploiting fears about radical Islamist terrorism to deliberately stoke prejudice against Muslim Canadians.
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair is also accusing Harper of fostering intolerance and Islamophobia.
© 2015 The Canadian Press