New Canadian citizens must remove any face coverings, such as the Islamic niqab or burqa, while they take the oath of citizenship, the country's immigration minister said Monday.
Jason Kenney said most Canadians have misgivings about Islamic face coverings and said new Canadians should take the oath in view of their fellow citizens. He said he has received complaints from lawmakers and citizenship judges who say it's difficult to ensure that individuals whose faces are covered are actually reciting the oath.
The Conservative minister called the issue a matter of deep principle that goes to the heart of Canada's identity and the country's values of openness and equality. He said women who feel obliged to have their faces covered in public often come from a cultural milieu that treats women as property rather than equal human beings