From Canada Free Press
In these days of identity politics and hyphenated nationalities it’s easy to forget the simple slogan a Canadian beer company has been using for the better part of two decades: “I am Canadian!”
And while I’m not much into beer, I’m totally into the slogan because I’m a naturalized citizen and now consider myself very much a Canadian and have wholeheartedly adopted Canadian values. Moreover, I’m sure I have contributed to Canadian values to some small degree over the years because these values are based on freedom fairness, acceptance, diversity, social responsibility and most importantly, laws. All of these are values with which I am very much in accord and seek to preserve.
As a Canadian, I personally do not care what people wear, albeit I can’t deny raising an eyebrow every now and then when I see people at the mall in their pajamas or I encounter a human form swathed completely in black with only a small slit for the eyes. This seems especially odd on a hot summer’s day, but hey, people are entitled to dress however they wish.
But this ‘entitlement’ has certain limitations that have recently come to light as one Zunera Ishaq, a devout Muslim immigrant from Pakistan, insists that she should be able to take the oath of citizenship while wearing her niqab.
Much debate has arisen from this issue with a judge ruling that, indeed Ms Ishaq had that right and the Federal Government promising to appeal the ruling.
This debate has now become an election issue falling squarely between left and right with the Left (Justin Trudeau in this case) accusing the government of “pandering to people’s fears,” and the Conservatives, in the words of Prime Minister Harper claiming Canada to be “a society that is transparent, open and where people are equal.”
Personally, I believe that both arguments are specious and Ms Ishaq’s demand that she be sworn in under niqab is a request to contravene Canadian law. First of all, while Canada is indeed committed to being culturally tolerant, it is also a nation where laws trump cultural concerns, or religious concerns for that matter. If you disbelieve this, just try to refuse to bake a wedding cake or print the invitations for a gay wedding.
And the oath of citizenship is a legal proceeding, not a cultural one. As such in a legal proceeding would-be citizens should be held to the same legal standard as other citizens, regardless of religious, cultural or other mores.
The oath of citizenship is administered by a judge in a court of law and as such, falls very much under the laws of deportment before a court. Legally, masked individuals are prohibited from giving evidence before the court and must bare their faces for passport and driver’s license photos, even though accommodations are usually made to have the images taken by a woman. Ms Ishaq must adhere to the same legal standards as the rest of us and I’m sure there is a way to satisfy both sides, but I suspect pushing the envelope is much more important in this case.
Leftists shuffling the deck to find the discrimination or victim cards aren’t helping matters very much in that these merely serve to cloud the issue, cause confusion, and in the words of Justin Trudeau “pander to people’s fears.”
Evidence of this is offered in Ms Ishaq’s fallacious assertion that losing her right to wear niqab in citizenship court might ultimately lead to the curtailment of Sikh men’s freedom to wear turbans.
Just to set the record straight, the issue of turbans was settled some 40 years ago and since then Sikhs have become police officers and are wearing turbans on the job, so Ms Ishaq needs to pander to some other fears.
For what it’s worth, if Ms Ishaq is uncomfortable taking an oath of citizenship in a country that requires individuals to swear oaths with an uncovered face during a legal proceeding, I suggest that she move to a country that doesn’t have this type of restrictive regime. In fact, I’m prepared to assist her by helping to crowdfund her moving expenses.
“Canada is indeed committed to being culturally tolerant, it is also a nation where laws trump cultural concerns, or religious concerns for that matter. “
Yep…… as PM Harper has stated many times….one law for all. If you can’t abide by our laws then move to another country where you feel you can. Don’t come here expecting to have preferential treatment.