Published: Sun, October 22, 2017
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Law restricting face coverings approved in National Assembly

Law restricting face coverings approved in National Assembly

You speak to me, I should see your face, and you should see mine.

Doctors, teachers and childcare workers were already barred from covering their faces while working with the public, as were the pupils and patients receiving those services.

The law on "burqa ban" was put together by the efforts of the province's Liberal government to address the issue of state neutrality. "It's as simple as that".

She added that the bill does not only target religious symbols as it would also apply to masked protesters, for example.

Justice Minister Stephanie Vallée said it will affect people wearing scarves, bandanas, and large sunglasses, as well as burkas or niqabs.

Demonstrators covering their faces participate in a protest called "The traditional clown's walk against the burqa ban" in Vienna, Austria October 1, 2017.

That's not sitting well with many including the union of STM employees which has said it has no interest in enforcing a law banning face coverings.

Noting that there is widespread confusion as to how the new law would be applied and who it would affect, Vallée says the province would now work with municipalities, schools and public daycares to establish clear guidelines.

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However Justin Trudeau has indicated that although he respects Quebec officials' ability to create their own laws, he is not personally in favour of the ban.

Quebec has adopted a law that would force Muslim women who wear a niqab or burka to uncover their faces to use public services.

"Yet here at the federal level, we stand up for the rights of all Canadians".

However, Muslim groups and civil rights advocates have denounced the measure, Shingler says.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims said the bill "boils down to ugly identity politics" in a furious tirade at regional lawmakers.

"This legislation is an unjustified infringement of religious freedoms", said executive director Ihsaan Gardee.

It was extended to municipal services, including public transit, in an amendment made in August.

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