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The Niqab, Conrad Black and the Canadian Family

The niqab has dominated this Federal Election like no other issue yet, curiously, the word does not rate a single mention in the 159 page Conservative Platform released today. But it has not been overlooked. We are told on page 152 that aspiring citizens will have to show their faces while taking the Oath of Citizenship.

In his bid for re-election, Stephen Harper hired the Australian, Lynton Crosby, to advise him on how to craft a winning campaign out of – let’s be honest – fairly unpromising material.

It looks as if the niqab is the dead cat of the 2015 Federal Election.

Crosby’s dead cat strategy was described in these terms by London Mayor, Boris Johnson, in 2013:

“If you’re losing an argument, if you’re in a weak position, throw a dead cat on the table…

“Everyone will shout ‘Jeez, mate, there’s a dead cat on the table!’; in other words they will be talking about the dead cat, the thing you want them to talk about, and they will not be talking about the issue that has been causing you so much grief.”

I learn from the Toronto Star today that only two women in the entire country have sought to take their citizenship vows whilst veiled. Whatever your views on the niqab – for, against or indifferent - it is perfectly clear a mountain has been built out of a molehill.

The Prime Minister insists on new rules for those wishing "to join the Canadian family". But what about enforcing the rules for those who have freely chosen to leave it?

Conrad Black renounced his Canadian citizenship to become a member of the British House of Lords. And when he was released from a US prison after serving three years for fraud he was given a temporary one year resident permit to enter Canada expiring in May 2013.

He is still here.

I wonder why.

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