Dear Conservative Canadians,
I share the fear of masked figures that is common in our culture, and I am more inclined than most to be put off by overt displays of religious and other affiliation. But the attempt to reduce our political debate to the level of such feelings is so shameful that it must not be allowed to succeed.
For many the niquab is an imposed symbol of male domination, but for others it is a choice based on feelings of religious commitment or maybe even just on a learned sense of what I would consider excessive modesty. But however little I empathize with the particular motives, the idea of forcing a woman to reveal herself when she does not want to feels like a kind of sexual assault.
As conservative commentator Andrew Coyne has pointed out, over the past years there have been just two women who felt unable to expose their faces in public an so were permitted to do so in private rather than during their actual citizenship ceremonies.
The cynical attempt by our current ruling party to make an issue of denying such women the right to citizenship without public violation of their privacy is something which will disgrace all of us if it is successful – or even if it seems to have been successful. So it must be made to fail.
The biggest factors contributing to our economy are external, and the actual differences between our parties on economic issues are minor compared to the harm that could be done to our social fabric by this kind of xenophobic bullying. So if you can’t bring yourself to vote for any of the alternatives, then please just stay home on the 19th. Don’t shame yourself by supporting the man who would make us a nation of small-minded bullies.
Our history proves why racial and religious division is dangerous.