An Alberta Progressive Conservative leadership hopeful wants Muslim Canadians to know they have and will always be welcome in Alberta — but the message has some wondering when Jason Kenney changed his tune.
The former federal immigration minister posted a video to YouTube Tuesday, condemning Sunday's shooting attack at a Quebec mosque that left six people dead and 19 injured. (Watch the video embedded above.)
Kenney highlights how Alberta was home to Canada's first mosque and that current Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi is the first Muslim to lead a major Canadian city.
"Let us all find ways to embrace our Muslim friends and all people of faith to ensure that this continues to be a place of freedom and security for generations to come," he said.
He also thanked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his "thoughtful and compassionate words" following the attack.
However, it's a stance that's confusing for Canadians who recall Kenney's 2011 directive forbidding Muslim women from wearing niqabs while taking the oath of citizenship.
Kenney was serving as immigration minister at the time when the ban was imposed.
At the time, Kenney said the niqab represented a view of women unacceptable in Canada.
The Conservatives fought a hard battle to uphold the ban after a Muslim woman from Mississauga, Ont. launched a lawsuit against the government after she objected to unveiling her face in public for the official oath-taking ceremony.
The government lost in Federal Court and again at the Federal Court of Appeal before going all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada to try to reinstate its ban. In the end, the government lost the fight, which cost them more than $400,000.
Despite Kenney's complicated past with the Canadian Muslim community, some see his recent support of religious freedoms as a welcome change.
Kenney took to Twitter over the weekend urging the Canadian government to welcome those stranded in the U.S. after President Donald Trump banned Syrian refugees and anyone with a passport from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the country.
Canada should offer temporary permits to welcome those stranded by the executive order, Kenney said. A move he called a "brutal, ham-fisted act of demagogic political theatre."
He also also shared a clip of his last words in the House of Commons as an MP, where he praised the role of immigrants and refugees in shaping Canada.
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