By now, you know that a Federal Court has ruled against the Government of Canada that wanted veils/face coverings removed for the “ceremonial” part of the citizenship ceremony to become a Canadian citizen. (more specifically, niqabs, and apparently hijabs). You also know that Prime Minister Harper has decided to go on a rant about that, calling it against Canadian values, etc.. and the Conservative Party is fundraising on the issue.
I can go on about how this is attempting to appeal to the base fears and prejudices of Canadian society, and how they’re trying to cynically use this issue to help win the upcoming election, but I’m looking at it from a much longer term view. That being, Harper and his supporters can rant and rave all they want about Canadian values being violated by these face coverings, but the courts will ultimately decide whether there is any validity to those charges.. or whether this is a Charter issue and that the religious rights of the minority must be protected.
My question is: if Harper (hopefully not) is still in office when the Supreme Court ultimately rules on this, and if the SCC rules against him (which I believe is a very strong possibility – given the government’s dismal track record of losing court cases because they were unconstitutional), would he use the Notwithstanding Clause to overrule the court? Maybe someone should ask him.
PS – Apologies for the delay in blogging. I’ve been a bit occupied of late, but there is another blogpost coming later this week however, with Carolyn Bennett and a lot of candidates visiting Brantford-Brant and my friend/candidate there Danielle Takacs for a roundtable with the 6 Nations people to listen to their concerns and issues)