The Liberal government is dropping an appeal in the case of a Canadian woman who fought for the right for women to wear face veils, such as the niqab, during the Canadian citizenship ceremony.
Immigration Minister John McCallum and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould made the announcement on Monday, saying “On November 16, 2015, the Attorney General of Canada notified the Supreme Court of Canada that it has discontinued its application for leave to appeal in the case of Minister of Citizenship and Immigration v. Ishaq.”
“The Federal Court of Canada found that the policy requiring women who wear the niqab to unveil themselves to take the Oath of Citizenship is unlawful on administrative law grounds, and the Federal Court of Appeal upheld this ruling. The government respects the decision of both courts and will not seek further appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.”
The Conservatives had wanted to leave the appeal at the Supreme Court of Canada during the recent federal election campaign. Prior to the election, Stephen Harper tried to ban face coverings at Citizenship ceremonies, but the policy was overturned in the courts as unlawful, prompting Ottawa to take the issue to the Supreme Court of Canada.
During the election, Harper said a re-elected Conservative government would also look at banning public servants from wearing the niqab.