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ANTI TERROR BILL & WEARING NIQAB DURING CITIZENSHIP CEREMONY 

HERE ARE EXCERPTS FROM THE INTERVIEW ON SOUTHASIAN PULSE RADIO

Q1. Minister a debate is going on in Canada on the new Anti-terrorism Bill and the Niqab (a veil covering one’s face) issue?
Ans: The important issue is that we have to protect Canadians and preserve our diverse multicultural society. That was the theme of Justin Trudeau’s speech last week in
Toronto where he outlined how we have to respect religious freedom, and we have to preserve our multicultural fabric while at the same time taking action to make
Canada safe in this dangerous world. And I think our view is that Stephen Harper is not doing that. He is not preserving Canada as an open and tolerant society. So that is the difference between our two parties.

Q2. Regarding the Niqab issue what is Liberal Party’s stand at the
citizenship ceremony?

Ans: Well the Liberal Party’s position was to support the judges, that women have the right to wear niqab at that ceremony. You have to understand that she has shown her face to a female official in order to prove who she was before she actually acquires citizenship test. There is no problem in terms of her identity and security but once she
is in a public ceremony, she wanted to do that and the judge supported it as her right to do that and we in the Liberal party support that too because when you are in favour of religious freedom, that means that people have different lifestyle, people have different things to wear and different procedures they engage in, and whether or not they are popular with other people, the protection of religious freedoms need to be fed. So we don’t want this niqab issue to become a huge thing as issues that way more important is that a very small number of womenchoose to wear them so let’s not escalate it. But the main point is not the niqab, the main thing is that we have to teach tolerance and respect for different religions and not consider it a threat but create awareness. These are the main points. It is important to protect all Canadians and preserve our tolerant society. These are the two things what we in the Liberal Party and Justin Trudeau are trying to do and I think if our party wins, we would like to do both of those.

Q3. Why has the Liberal Party supported the anti-terrorism bill while NDP opposed it?
Ans: NDP is voting against but both Liberal and NDP are saying if they come to power they will amend the bill. They will not cancel the bill. So there is not much difference between the two but our position is that there are some things in the bill that we think are useful like no-fly lists and even and we do acknowledge that it is a more dangerous world.
So parts of the bill we like and we are in favour of but we would like to propose an amendment to have parliamentary surveillance to better guarantee people’s rights and freedom and make other amendments and if the government does not accept these amendments, which most probably they won’t, then we will propose them on our election platform and if we win elections, we will make those changes to the bill

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