The Canadian government of Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper showed new immigrants that Canadian and Western values are paramount in Canada on Monday when it banned face coverings for Muslim women at citizenship swearing-in ceremonies. The prohibition occurred after the country's immigration minister, Jason Kenney, had received complaints from citizenship judges and other ceremony participants that it is "hard to tell whether veiled individuals are actually reciting the oath.
"Allowing a group to hide their faces while they are becoming members of our community is counter to Canada's commitment to openness, equality and social cohesion," Kenney stated.
The wearing of the Muslim face-veil was becoming a growing problem at citizenship ceremonies. Government officials across the country were being confronted "every week" with veil-wearing women. This went against the grain of the government's belief that taking the citizenship oath, according to Kenney, was "a public declaration that you are joining the Canadian family and it must be taken freely and openly." In fact, Kenney called it "frankly bizarre" that regulations had allowed for face coverings at the ceremonies in the first place.