Please don't portray the niqab issue as a Muslim issue. The vast majority of Canadian Muslims think that the traditional veil is clearly a mark of separation, and consider it an element of the fanatical side of Islam. A tiny percentage of stubborn members of Muslim community is causing unnecessary tension between the government and Muslim community on one hand, and between the Muslim community and society at large on the other.
When the Muslim Canadian Congress called for an outright ban on the wearing of the niqab or the burka, they have gone too far. But that doesn't mean that we have to celebrate such restrictive clothing. Apart from the degrading and misogynistic aspects of burkas and niqabs, they offend against a fundamental implicit tenet of our society.
In the 25 years I have called Canada home, I have seen a steady rise of Muslim women being strangled in the pernicious black tent that is passed off to naïve and guilt-ridden white, mainstream Canadians as an essential Islamic practice. The niqab and burka have nothing to do with Islam. They're the political flags of the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, the Taliban, al-Qaida and Saudi Arabia. Now I learn I have not only to fight the medieval, theocratic adherents of my faith for a safe space for myself, I have to battle the Federal Court of Canada as well.
The 14-year-old boy in the burka buying liquor from the LCBO was a big story recently -- and the problem is not 14-year-old grade 8 boys buying booze, but of anyone wearing a burka or veil, rarely being questioned. Who can blame the LCBO cashier for not risking the wrath of human rights zealots? The greater implications of this burka-and-booze story is that it could happen anywhere. The burka is an ideal disguise in our country, because we are so sensitized to pretending it's normal, that we are reluctant to cause a scene by asking questions.
Bill C-309 states that anyone who commits an illegal act while wearing a mask at a protest can face 10 years in prison. While we are grateful for such a bill, it isn't good enough. If someone carries a loaded gun while committing a crime, it can be assumed he is willing to use it; I'd argue that any person wearing a mask or disguise at any controversial protest is up to no good, and can be assumed to be contemplating illegal behaviour.