The niqab debate is raging in Ottawa.
Justin Trudeau and Thomas Mulcair say the Conservative government is simply fear-mongering. Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the “overwhelming majority” of Canadians, including moderate Muslims, support the Conservative government’s opposition to face veils at citizenship ceremonies. Some new polls suggest he might be right.
The Forum Research poll was conducted exclusively for CityNews of Toronto voters, and showed that Torontonians broadly support a ban on face veils at citizenship ceremonies. 57% oppose allowing women to wear the niqab during citizenship ceremonies, compared to 27% in favour. Among those who identify as ‘Muslim and Middle Eastern,’ 48% oppose allowing the niqab at the ceremony, whereas 38% support. Admittedly, the sample size for this demographic was only 11 respondents, meaning the result has a high margin of error.
Stephen Harper also called the niqab “anti-woman” in the House of Commons on Tuesday. His comments gave rise to the derisive hashtag #DressCodePM on twitter. But what do Canadians think?
This same poll found that a plurality of Torontonians agree the niqab is a symbol of oppression. 46% agree it oppresses women, whereas 25% disagree. Among those who identify as ‘Muslim and Middle Eastern,’ 25% agree it oppresses women, and 26% disagree.
Source: Forum Research, conducted exclusively for CityNews, March 12, 2015
This EKOS poll, which was published on iPOLITICS, further suggests how Canadians feel about niqabs being worn at citizenship ceremonies. Its results are consistent with Forum Research in that 64% responded that niqabs should not be allowed at citizenship ceremonies.
As you can see, regardless of one’s age, level of education, birthplace, or party affiliation, a majority of respondents in every category, including individuals that identify as liberal or NDP, oppose wearing the niqab at citizenship ceremonies. Some commentators have suggested that the Conservative's policy could alienate new Canadians, but the data seems to suggest broad support for this measure.
Source: EKOS, published on iPOLITICS, March 12, 2015
Even results from the CBC’s Power and Politics’ completely unscientific ballot box question found that overwhelmingly, a whopping 73% of Canadians believe the niqab is an insult to the dignity of women. These numbers could be considered shocking given the ideological leanings of the viewers of this CBC program.
Source: CBC News, March 12, 2015
It appears clear how Canadians feel about the niqab. But does it matter? Justin Trudeau’s chief advisor, Gerald Butts, tweeted earlier today: “This is Canada, people. We don’t decide whose rights we protect by public opinion polls. Do we? #cdnpoli”
Well at least he recognizes where Canadians overwhelmingly stand on this issue.
What do you think?
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