Canadians oppose niqab during citizenship ceremony, poll suggests
A new public opinion survey by Forum Research finds that 67 per cent of Canadians oppose women wearing the niqab during citizenship ceremonies.
Two-thirds of Canadians oppose allowing women to wear the face-covering niqab during citizenship ceremonies, a new poll by Forum Research suggests.
The public opinion survey, conducted Friday and Saturday, found that 67 per cent of respondents oppose the idea, while fewer than a quarter (22 per cent) are in support. Ten per cent are undecided.
A total of 1,370 Canadian adults took part in the survey.
Regionally, opposition was highest in Quebec, where 87 per cent of respondents oppose the niqab during citizenship ceremonies, and lowest in the Atlantic provinces, where 54 per cent of respondents oppose the idea.
Sixty-three per cent oppose it in Ontario.
The issue has come to public prominence after Zunera Ishaq refused to take off her niqab during the oath swearing portion of her citizenship ceremony.
She put her ceremony on hold last year in order to ask the Federal Court to rule on a Conservative government policy requiring that she take off her niqab during the ceremony.
The Federal Court later ruled the policy illegal and struck it down, but the federal government says it intends to appeal.
The Forum poll found close to half of Canadians (45 per cent) said the niqab is not offensive to Canadians in general, and 57 per cent don’t find it personally offensive.
But 57 per cent of Canadians believe the niqab is oppressive to women, while 24 per cent do not, and 19 per cent have no opinion.
Meanwhile on the federal political scene, the Forum poll found 36 per cent of respondents support the federal Liberal party, 32 per cent would vote for Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, and 21 per cent favour the New Democratic Party.
The Liberals would capture a slim minority of 138 seats in the 338 seat House of Commons, Forum said.
“We can’t say that the niqab controversy has damaged the Liberals, but it has clearly not helped the Conservatives. While Canadians agree the niqab has no place in citizenship ceremonies, they do not find it offensive, either to themselves or to the others,” Forum Research president Lorne Bozinoff said in a statement.
Bozinoff went on to say that given the niqab issue directly affects only a small number of Canadian women, it will be little more than a side issue in the general election this fall.
The poll was conducted using an interactive voice response telephone survey of randomly selected adults. The results are considered accurate plus or minus 3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.