Fulfilling a promise made during the election campaign, the Trudeau government said today it plans to drop the federal government’s appeal in the case of the Canadian woman, Zunera Ishaq, who fought to wear a niqab during her citizenship ceremony.
In a joint statement, Immigration Minister John McCallum and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said: “On November 16, 2015, the Attorney General of Canada notified the Supreme Court of Canada that it has discontinued its application for leave to appeal in the case of Minister of Citizenship and Immigration v. Ishaq.
“Canadians have their main concerns beings reflected in the last federal elections results, certainly the niqab issue is not the one.”
“The Federal Court of Canada found that the policy requiring women who wear the niqab to unveil themselves to take the Oath of Citizenship is unlawful on administrative law grounds, and the Federal Court of Appeal upheld this ruling. The government respects the decision of both courts and will not seek further appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.
“Canada’s diversity is among its greatest strengths, and today we have ensured that successful citizenship candidates continue to be included in the Canadian family. We are a strong and united country because of, not in spite of, our differences.”
Samer Majzoub, the president of the Canadian Muslim Forum, said he believes the Liberal government’s decision is the “right direction.”
“Canadians have their main concerns beings reflected in the last federal elections results, certainly the niqab issue is not the one,” he said.
The controversial debate about whether a woman should be permitted to wear a niqab during citizenship ceremonies was a failed attempt to sway voters, he said.
“We believe and hope that any divisive debate that leads to friction amongst Canadians will be set aside for [a] long period and never used for political or special interests,” he said.
Re-published in partnership with iPolitics.ca.