PCs try to backtrack on previous niqab position: Liberals
[Queen’s Park] While criticizing the Quebec law that prohibits Quebec residents from receiving public services if their faces are covered, PC MPP Lisa MacLeod quoted her leader, Patrick Brown and a PC television ad: “My leader has often said ‘It doesn’t matter who you are. It doesn’t matter where you’re from.” (Hansard, October 19, 2017)
Unfortunately for MPP MacLeod, the PC ad slogan does not compensate for the fact that when the Harper government brought in a similar policy that forced new citizens to uncover their faces during citizenship ceremony, PC Party Leader Patrick Brown and PC Party President Rick Dykstra supported this policy.
Rather than condemn that policy, Patrick Brown decided to promote it. In a newsletter to his constituents, then-MP Patrick Brown showed how he truly felt about the ban, highlighting the Harper niqab/burka ban during citizenship oaths.
Ontario PC President, Rick Dykstra, who was also an MP at the time endorsed the policy, saying that “This isn’t a policy I need to defend, it’s a policy I’m prepared to endorse and promote because it’s the right thing to do.” (St. Catharines Standard, December 12, 2011).
The Supreme Court ruled that the Harper government police was “unlawful”: “The portions of the Policy and Manual that require citizenship candidates to remove face coverings or be observed taking the oath are unlawful” and rejected an appeal from the Harper government. (2015 FC 156, February 6, 2015, https://www.canlii.org/
Patrick Brown, Lisa MacLeod and the PC television ad can say what they want, but history cannot be erased.
Liberals, however, opposed this policy. As then-Immigration Minister Charles Sousa said at the time: “We are committed to creating a society where all newcomers and members of diverse communities feel welcomed and respected.” (Toronto Sun, December 12, 2011).