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Harper wants niqab ban in public service, Trudeau disagrees

Emily Chan, CTVNews.ca 
Published Wednesday, October 7, 2015 11:33AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 7, 2015 3:18PM EDT

While other party leaders accuse the Conservative campaign of stirring up divisions over the niqab, Stephen Harper is standing behind his promise to consider forbidding federal civil servants from wearing face-covering veils.

On Wednesday, the Conservative Party leader said, if elected, his government would examine a Quebec bill that imposes a similar ban on provincial public servants.

Quebec’s Liberal government introduced Bill 62 in June.

Zunera Ishaq

Zunera Ishaq talks to reporters outside the Federal Court of Appeal after her case was heard on whether she can wear a niqab while taking her citizenship oath, in Ottawa on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015. (Patrick Doyle / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

In addition to forbidding the niqab in government offices, it would prevent people working in policing, health care, education, and publically funded daycares from wearing the covering. It would also ban the veil for people using public services.

“I believe the Quebec government has been handling this very controversial issue in a very responsible manner,” Harper said while speaking in Saskatoon on Wednesday. “And we will do exactly the same thing in Ottawa.”

Earlier Wednesday morning, Trudeau accused Harper of trying to use the niqab issue to “distract and deflect from his failures on the economy.”

“This is yet another example of Mr. Harper doing anything he can to deflect from the fact that, after ten years of a failed economic approach, Canadians want change,” Trudeau said during a campaign stop in London, Ont.

“He is stirring up the politics of fear and division in a way that, quite frankly, is unworthy of the office he holds,” Trudeau said. “His priorities are in the wrong place.”

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair has also accused Harper of using the niqab issue as a way to distract from other problems in the country

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