In the final stretch of the Canadian federal election we have been plunged into a discussion about cultural practices and what people (women in particular) should be allowed to wear. Our current (and hopefully about to be former) Conservative Prime Minister believes that the government should tell women what to wear. He believes that women who wear a niqab should be prevented from becoming Canadian citizens, even when they have completed all of the steps, including removing their niqab to prove identity to a female immigration officer. Apparently a total of two women have ever opted to wear a niqab when reciting the citizenship oath during the citizenship ceremony. Not exactly a burning issue and yet Stephen Harper has decided to make it an election issue. Or perhaps more accurately, an election distraction. He doesn't want us to talk about the stagnant economy, his former colleagues and appointees convicted and on trial, refugees, his secretive, manipulative style of government, income inequality or anything to actually support women in this country.
Last October, I wrote a post about my city being attacked. I live in Ottawa and it is our capital city. Last fall one man, who was apparently living with a mental illness, succeeded in killing a reservist on ceremonial guard duty at the National War Memorial and then made it to Parliament Hill and into our Parliament Building before being shot and killed by security personnel in the building.
In that post I argued that there are many greater risks to our personal safety from car crashes and the like than terrorist attacks. I also asked that our politicians show restraint in responding to this attack on the home of our democracy. Sadly they took a different route. [Read more…]