Stephen Harper says his government will consider banning public servants from wearing niqabs – rejecting the notion that some people have suggested his party is “engaging in identity politics & fuelling anti-Muslim sentiment”. Harper doesn’t believe the recent assaults on Muslim women should hinder debate when it comes to the issue of women wearing a niqab. “Look, I don’t think you can use that kind of thing to discredit legitimate political debate,” he said during a CBC interview. “Violence against women is unacceptable, which is why our government has brought forward laws to crack down on such violence.” How did this become such an explosive election issue? How many people does it truly effect? Is the niqab a legitimate election issue or smokescreen?