Ignatieff supports Quebec's niqab ban - Macleans.ca

Ignatieff supports Quebec’s niqab ban

Liberal leader calls it a “good balance”


Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff has come out in favour of Quebec’s newly-announced ban on niqabs, saying the provincial government had “found a good balance.” “The Quebec government is trying to make sure that in civic and public places that freedom of religion is respected but at the same time on the other side citizens come forward and reveal themselves when they are demanding public service,” Ignatieff said. “We watch the Quebec debate with interest.” Ignatieff made the statement as he arrived for the first day of the Liberals’ “Canada at 150” conference in Montreal, where the party is expected to hash out the ideas and issues that will form the basis for a future political platform.

Globe and Mail

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Ignatieff supports Quebec’s niqab ban

  1. The government has no place regulating what people wear. I agree with spirit of trying to get muslim women to adapt western mores but this is not the way to do it.

    "In kicking off the conference, Mr. Ignatieff said he expects the party to emerge “with a strong sense of the general direction of a platform.”

    " …. a strong sense of the general direction of a platform …. " wtf? What a mealy mouthed position/statement! And did Iggy really go on to say " …. we are not in a platform-writing exercise … " like the Globe claims he did? Hahahahahahahaha.

    “I've done all the seminars I need to do for the rest of my life,” he said. “I'm in politics to take action and make choices and we have to create a credible fiscal framework for Canadians.”

    But the best part was the very end, where Iggy claims to be man of action. When Iggy says things like he did about whether it's platform or not, it is obvious that he is not a man of action and still thinks he's in a seminar. Iggy has to stop the "Yeah, but no, yeah, but no" act because it's not very persuasive in making us think he can make choices.

    Iggy/Liberals showed us they are stuck on stupid this week. Who wants to vote for a party that can't count and defeats its own motion?

  2. It looks like Iggy has found the balance that works for him. Politics 1, immigrants 0.

    Quebec's niqab ban is terrible public policy. Lets assume that the niqab is an attack on Canadian values or whatever (which I don't really believe – freedom includes the freedom to adopt a subservient role). What is more likely to integrate Muslim women into Canadian society? Preventing them from using public services (like programs aimed at helping them learn English) or allowing them to?

    Indeed, this is the irony of integration policy in general. Canada does a vastly better job of integrating immigrants and minorities than countries like France or the US with more hard-line assimilationist approaches. Why? Because when you set a high bar for what it means to be Canadian or American, or whatever, people have less incentive to try to adapt in the first place. When you set a low bar, by contrast, people will adapt. Perhaps less than you like, but it is vital to think in the long-term.

    Young people in Canada meet members of other ethnic and cultural groups. Sometimes they make friends across cultural lines, and sometimes they even fall in love. This is more likely to happen when we accept that people may still be "true Canadians" despite a wide difference in values, dress, etc. Other pervasive (anti-Muslim) aspects of western culture – from movies, to alcohol, to smoking or whatever offer a myriad of temptations. We shouldn't fear the rise of other cultures – if our culture is truly worthwhile, it will do the integrating for us. Maybe it will take a few generations, but the number of people from any one group of minorities is small, while the number of old stock Canadians and westernized immigrants is large.

    I'll tell you one thing. If I was a Tory candidate in Mississauga, I would have just popped champagne corks.

  3. I think the government does have a right to ban head wear that hides your identity, and I am guessing that given a referendum, most Canadians would agree. like I think most would agree that the 10 years living in Canada before getting the old age pension should NOT be lowered to 3 years.

  4. As the airport notice says 'You are free not to comply with security process, but you will not be allowed to board the flight'. No one is talking about basic human rights violation, but complying with security, single common public standards iin a leading democracy like Canada, is mandatory. If certain citizens do not wish to comply, of course they have a right not to, but then they may not work in public positions. It is a choice they make. They chose to come to Canada, as it was a better place than the place they left and ACCEPTING Canadian way of life over their previous native land.

    Long live Canada. Well done Iggy, for having guts to state your position and believing in Canadian people's common sense.

    By the way, I am also a new Canadian, and a visible minority, and accept Canada as is.

  5. There goes my plan of wearing a niqab. Canada is still viewed as a place of freedom for many foreign countries around the world. Many immigrants sweat bucks to save money to come to Canada leaving behind the luxurious life in their motherland.


    Today, the world is changing. And sadly, so is Canada. Every person who highly viewed Canada as the best country to live in is wrong. No freedom = No happiness. As being born a Canadian, and having parents who actually came to Canada to have a better life and seeing how they struggle to survive and still survive is sad. What's more upsetting is our rights are decreasing day by day. Sooner or later, niqab will be banned everywhere.

    This is all a plan. May God save us all.

  6. A niqab is a SECURITY PROBLEM!! It is also an insult to millions of Canadian women who have had to fight for equality — starting with getting the vote. Wearing a niqab is absolutely not necessary – I'm a committed, lifelong Liberal who is the child of Liberals, and I've lived here 60 years. My father fought in WW2, my grandfather in WW1, my uncles in WW2 — this is NOT what they fought for. They fought, and died – for our freedom, and that's not freedom to bring oppression into Canada.

    • Canadian for generations or new Canadians like me, we all sacrificed for freedom. Issue is that the freedom we all so much aspire, needs to be jealously guarded., because it is so precious. We do not want to make this culture resemble another one of the countries in middle-east, where there is very little or no freedom for women. We give them clear choice – if you choose to work in public position, you choose not to wear niqab – clear and simple rule for EVERYONE, for security reasons. We are not asking for anything more or less than any of 33 million Canadians.

  7. like the french president said about the head tents, it is a symbol of oppression, not religion.
    people that endorse the niqab are likely to endorse sharia courts>totally at odds with our cultural values, traditions and individual rights(particularly when male muslims force females to this servile practice).
    the canadian majority clearly is against government officials allowing in any more migrants who refuse to assimilate.
    it's our country and we don't owe multiculturalism a damned thing. if some newcomers can't be satisfied that we compromised the christian heritage that built this nation to the point that our governmental system is secular, then they are free to not be here.

  8. In Michigan they banned being covered in a sheet, a tent,aKKK style outfit or anything else which obscures one's identity.

  9. How many women in Canada wear the niqab?

    There are a few I'd like to see in the niqab 24/7. Linda McQuaig is one. Then again, i don't think I'd like to see her from any distance or sporting any new-wave garment, from Burka do Madonna bra.

  10. Freedom = Freedom, when you say you can do this or you can't do this, that is not freedom, People should do whatever they like and by trying to convert people to your religion or atheism will be consider freedom, i used to vote liberal but after this iggy boy from Harvard who thinks Canada is his second residence i will never ever vote for liberal and i suggest all immigrant in big cities like Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal not to vote this ugly boy

    • Freedom does not equal freedom as far as public conduct and security is concerned and Niqab impacts both – at extreme – Freedom for Taliban to publicly behead or freedome for society elders to authorise public stoning, still happens in this day and age. That is no doubt extreme, but we draw a line somewhere – commonsense says Niquab is where the line is.

      As for Iggy boy from Harvard, either you are implying that US is a hostile country ? If you are, then why do all the Tory leaders pay pilgramage to Whitehouse wagging their tails and pledging their allegience. The truth is that Canada and US are joined at hip, and the truth is that a lot of industry leads have strong links to tax havens outside Canada (much more concern than Iggy coming from Havard)

    • I totally agree….this is going backward instead of going forward.

      I was a liberal, but won't be supporting liberals if this is the direction they are willing to take …. backward

  11. It's worth noting, to all the posters up in arms about the trampling of freedoms, that the hijab, which does not cover the face and is much, much more common.

    There's a point when religious and cultural tolerance (I would argue the niqab is more the latter than the former) becomes special treatment, and at that point we have to, very carefully, draw the line. I can't wear a mask everywhere I go, and certainly not when receiving virtually any public service, so there should be no expectation that others would be able to do so either.

    When it comes to multiculturalism, I firmly believe Canada should stand on the basic principle of equality. That means no religion, ideology, or person should be persecuted for their beliefs unless those beliefs lead to harmful actions, but also that no religion, ideology, or person should be given preferential treatment because of those beliefs either. Equality runs both ways – I'm glad to see politicians take a reasonable, and very cautious step into treating it as such.

  12. Liberal should change their name to conservative party, NDP should take advantage of this golden opportunity to get more immigrant votes.

  13. Argh – that first line should be indicating that the hijab is still allowed, which it of course should be, as it does not cover the face.

  14. I don't see any reason of voting Liberal, Immigrants vote either Liberal or NDP, its time immigrants choose the right party and i think the right party is NDP, Ask yourself what did Liberal ever done for you, they are punch of liars who say one thing and do one thing, they have flip flop many time even voted with critical legislation that effect immigrants and when it comes to voting day we say who is the liberal on this ballot! it's time to get more immigrants involved in politics and make real changes for immigrants

    • Immigrants are involved in politics; their also involved in communities. It's 10% of immigrants who cover their face and refuse to be part of society, yet politically correct clowns (like yourself) give them a voice and ignore the 90% of immigrants who come to Canada to be part of our society.

      What has the Liberal Party done for me? Not much (except for balanced budgets under Chretien); but they have done more federally than the NDP and provincially (my parents will never forgive Bob Rae for what he did to Ontario).

      Stop giving the extremists who hate gays, lesbians and gender equality a voice. You're embarrassing yourself.

  15. Funny that Iggy came out with this statement at a conference of "thinkers". He honestly couldn't think of a different way of handling this incredibly minor "problem."

    The fact that this is at all an issue really smacks of the ridiculous Islamophobia so many people carry. How many women in Canada wear the niqab? A few hundred? Will public services really be unable to function if they don't show their face? Honest, who cares?

    Charest is just trying to lock down those ex-ADQ voters who got swept up with Mario Dumont's disgusting attacks on Muslims, and Iggy is just trying to do the same.

    If anyone really thinks about this, there's a pretty easy solution: iris scanners. This technology is already being used in the Middle East to identify women wearing the niqab. It can be used here too without forcing women to violate their cultural/religious beliefs, just as we don't expect Sikh men to take their turban off when serving in the RCMP. It's a simple solution, though I certainly hope that libertarian objectors to iris scanning realize they should also oppose telling women what to wear and not to wear!

    • Whether there is one or few hundred – that is not the issue. Issue is what we as Canadians see this society evolve. We need uniform civil code for everyone, as fars as public or security is concerned – that is not discrimination, but fair and just. Once can choose to freely follow what they like in their own environment. As for the cultural / religious beliefs even Turkey has banned head scarfs in Universities, a leading muslim country. When I came to Canada (and yes, I am visible minority), I chose to accept Canada for what it is. Of course I will continue to peacefully protest if clear injustice bothers me, but not wearing Niqab in public positions, is not one of them.

      As for turbans for Sikhs, it does NOT hide the face and it is NOT a security issue, and Sikh women are socially independent and free, an evidence in itself. As for history of Sikhs in RCMP, they are fully integrated in Canadian society for over a hundred years – not asking for special priviledges that has not been accepted by the society. Have a nice day and enjoy Canada.

      • Actually, the numbers are an issue. Why do Charest, Iggy and other politicians feel the need to make such an enormous stink about (how many?) women wearing the niqab? You don't think there could be a motive for such a marginal issue other than the claim that this about security?

        So, why not respond to my suggestion: iris scanners? What do you think? Or do you prefer to have the state tell you what you can and can't wear?

        • You miss the point. You have your answer – 80% of Canadians do not agree with your view – beauty about democracy… Have a nice day…

  16. Well said MacCross. I am new Canadian and a visible minority. I fully support your view. New Canadians who want to replicate thier own original place of origin, and who feel that Canada is not the place for them, they are more than welcome to return to the place. For each person like above, there are 100 new immigrants who are grateful for being here and thankful that this country is not run by dictators, military generals or repressive royal families. We are grateful that we do not get our head chopped for saying what we think. If I ever change my mind, I will not try to make Canada like one of those countries, but might as well move there ! Saves me trouble…


    • i imagine this law would get struck down by the supreme court and then quebec would use the notwithstanding clause

  18. I come from a Muslim country, and I left Canada two weeks after my arrival, because of the shamelessness in the society here. If women were treated as objects in Muslims countries, neither me, nor my mother who covers her face, and did that during her two year stay in Canada (Ontario to be specific), would not leave this country and go back. What you're talking about could be the deception of media or places where there is not education. If a woman chooses to cover her face, she should be allowed, just like a woman wanting to go topless in public is permitted.

    Your second comment about guests is totally baseless and pointless, being that if someone comes as a guest in your house, a) he's not residing permanently, as opposed to immigrants who later become a part of Canada, and b) If you tell that "guest" that they are free to live AS THEY LIKE and when they settle, you start saying, WHOOPS, you can't wear this, you can't wear that! not only is it inhospitable, rather explains the cheapness of the character, for the lack of a better word.

    Now, since your family emigrated from Holland, and Islam is rapidly spreading there, it further explains the paranoia. Admit it, that you're rather afraid of the growth of Islam, rather than being liberal or "open minded". You're also forgetting that cultures are developed by the people living at a particular place, and it evolves and changes over time. Otherwise, let's adapt the Stone-age culture, as it was prevalent all over the world.

    The rest of your post is again filled with hatred and cheap attacks on Islamic societies based on neo-conservative propaganda, so it's fruitless to comment on that.

    Finally, if you , or your so-called liberal leaders are so much concerned about Muslims and their practice of faith, they should come clean and simply make laws that there should be no more "MUSLIMS" allowed in your province or the so called "Dutch"lands. Ask them to tear down life-size banners and advertisements in our countries inviting us to their countries, only to make us go back. If you, or your so-called leaders don't stop this, then there's always another way.

    • Aqeeq you sounded reasonable enough until you started using the expression "so-called leaders". Then when you mentioned that "there is another way", I seriously doubted your sincerity as someone who values freedom; I am not very clear on what that other way be, care to explain?

  19. In other news, Ignatieff announced he will be bringing a new proposal to the “Canada at 150 Forum” to decriminalize assault.

    “I feel this moderate stance strikes a good balance between leaving someone alone altogether and murdering them,” Ignatieff said. “The Liberal Party is trying to make sure that Canadians' right not to be murdered is respected, but that at the same time pissed off people get to vent a little, know what I'm sayin'?”

  20. I honestly saw Michael Ignateiff in a Conference in front of the Parliement say, we are Canada not France if a Muslim woman chooses to wear niqab, it is her right! This was at least 1 month and a 1/2 ago, now he is changing his mind. Typical politician, I guess the charter of Rights like the US Constitution means nothing, eh? I guess now whenever my Canadian friends talk about our Constitutional Rights, now I can talk about Canadians. I wonder what they will ban next?

  21. The government is crossing the line here ! What does it matter if someones wearing the niqab!? they are still canadian citizens i am outraged and apolled by this decision :( I dont understand these guys cause after every metting it seems like they have totally different opinion on things! IM JUST SAYING THAT THE NIQAB SHOULD NOT BE BANNED ANYWHERE!!!!

  22. Ignatieff supports Quebec's niqab ban

    I enjoyed the entire section you have posted.Thanks for the info.

  23. Quebec law now says – no niqab. Don't like it? Live somewhere else, period!