My aim in wearing the niqab to vote is to denounce the inequality between men and women in Canada, said Leclerc
MONTREAL, CANADA: Voters in Canada’s Quebec province showed up at polling stations in veils Monday to protest a court’s recent quashing of a widely-supported ban on the niqab.
In the Montreal suburb of Saint-Hubert, Catherine Leclerc cast her ballot covered head to toe in a black niqab.
“The niqab is not a religious symbol, it’s a political symbol, a symbol of the oppression of women, that we should not tolerate in an egalitarian society,” she said as she exited a polling station.
Niqab ban is hot button issue in Canada election debate
Several other women in Quebec cast ballots in the Canadian legislative elections wearing potato sacks over their heads and other face coverings, including one who wore a welder’s mask.
Opposition to the niqab flared up last month after a court struck down a ban on wearing the veil during citizenship ceremonies.
Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper pledged, if elected, to reinstate the prohibition supported by more than 80 per cent of Canadians.
New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair, meanwhile, lost key support in Quebec province over its opposition to the ban, falling from first to third place in the race.
“My aim in wearing the niqab to vote is to denounce the inequality between men and women in Canada,” said Leclerc. “Women fought in Quebec to be free,” added Martine, another voter.
She told AFP that a woman wearing the niqab communicates to others that she is “defeated and against our values.”