Nenshi and ‘people like him’ are the ones politicizing niqab issue, Jason Kenney says (with a straight face)
2015/10/03 Leave a comment
The back and forth between Calgary Mayor Nenshi and senior Minister Jason Kenney on the politicization of the niqab, starting with Nenshi (who I think has it nailed):
Stephen Harper is playing a “dangerous” political game with his position on the niqab and “dog whistle politics” when he speaks about the Syrian refugee crisis, said Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
In an interview on SiriusXM’s Everything is Political, Nenshi told Evan Solomon that Harper’s decision to challenge the Federal Court of Appeal decision over the ability of a woman to wear a niqab during citizenship ceremonies is being done merely in the service of scoring political points.
“This is unbelievably dangerous stuff,” Nenshi said. “I spoke with a group of mayors and councillors from all over Alberta last week, and in my speech with all of these people from small town Alberta, I stood up and said this is disgusting and it is time for us to say stop it—to say this is enough,” Nenshi said.
He called out the Conservatives’ request for stay on the Federal Court of Appeal decision on the niqab. “They are spending millions of millions of dollars of yours and my money on what is an unwinable appeal in order to appeal to a certain political segment because they think the polls say that most people don’t want this,” Nenshi said.
Nenshi was complimentary on the stances both Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau have taken on the issue.
Hard to imagine him saying this with a straight face as he knows better (no matter how seriously he believes in the substance of the Government’s position):
But Kenney, the Conservative cabinet minister from Calgary who introduced the niqab ban, denied the Tories are seeking to gain political advantage from the issue.
“If anything’s dangerous, it would be legitimizing a medieval tribal custom that treats women as property rather than people,” Kenney, currently running for re-election in Calgary Midnapore, said in an interview Thursday.
“It seems to me that it’s the mayor and people like him who are politicizing it. I don’t think this should be an issue of contention.”
The Conservatives point to surveys showing public support for banning the niqab in citizenship ceremonies and they have jumped in the polls since the issue became prominent during the campaign, which will see voters cast their ballots on Oct. 19.
Kenney, who is currently defence minister, said Nenshi’s comments would have no impact on the campaign, either nationally or in Calgary.
And he said it would have no affect on his working relationship with Calgary’s mayor moving forward.
“We’re all used to Naheed’s running social commentary on everything. That’s nothing new,” said Kenney.