Source: Toronto Star
OTTAWA—A Federal Court of Appeal panel has dismissed a government appeal over a ban on face coverings at citizenship ceremonies.
The three justices ruled from the bench, saying they wanted to proceed quickly so that Zunera Ishaq can obtain her citizenship in time to vote in the Oct. 19 federal election.
Ishaq, a 29-year-old woman with devout Muslim beliefs who came to Ontario from Pakistan in 2008, refused to take part in a citizenship ceremony because she would have to show her face.
The Harper government’s rule banning face coverings at such ceremonies was earlier found unlawful by the Federal Court. Justice Department lawyer Peter Southey argued unsuccessfully that the lower court justice made errors in his original decision to overturn the ban.
But Appeal Justice Mary Gleason said the court saw no reason to interfere with the earlier ruling.
The ban on face coverings sparked a bitter debate in the House of Commons when it was first announced.