By Graeme MacKay, Editorial Cartoonist, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday September 22, 2015
Stephen Harper ‘playing a very divisive game’ with niqabs, Tom Mulcair says
Stephen Harper is “playing a very divisive game” with his government’s effort to impose a ban on niqabs during the citizenship oath, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair said Monday, just days before a French-language debate in Quebec — a province in which identity politics continues to drive a wedge between voters.
“I’m not about the politics of fear and division. Mr. Harper is going to always go after that. If he senses that there’s something there that can divide Canadians one against the other, he’ll do it,” said Mulcair during a morning campaign stop in Nova Scotia.
The Bloc Québécois has also taken up the issue, saying it would go even further than the Tories and impose a ban on face coverings during citizenship ceremonies and in the voting booth.
For his part, Mulcair has had to negotiate a tricky path on the issue. His party needs to retain the hard-won votes it secured in Quebec in 2011, but cannot risk losing support in the diverse suburbs of Toronto and Vancouver, where voters appear to be opposed to the government’s effort to impose a ban.
Part of his approach has been to accuse Harper of dog-whistle politics.
“He talks about ‘old stock Canadians,'” Mulcair said this morning, alluding to a comment Harper made during last week’s leaders’ debate in Calgary.
“That’s a code word. He knows what he’s doing when he does that.”
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said earlier this week that the Grits have “always been crystal clear” about their opposition to a ban on niqabs and other veils. (Source: CBC News)