Poilievre pitches to new immigrants, as Brown attacks him over 2015 niqab ban bill

Of note:

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown and high-profile Conservative Pierre Poilievre spent Monday battling over a seven-year-old election promise to prohibit face coverings during citizenship ceremonies — a sign of what could be the makings of a tense rivalry between candidates in the Tory leadership race.

Brown, who launched his bid on Sunday, blasted longtimeOttawa-area MP Poilievre over his actions back in 2015 when the party promised to create a “barbaric cultural practices” tip line and require people’s faces to be visible during citizenship oaths.

The attack came as Poilievre spent the past few days meeting with cultural community leaders in the Greater Toronto Area and promising to cut red tape for immigrants wanting to access the necessary licences they need to work in regulated industries.Among those he met with were members of the Armenian, Muslim and Pakistani communities as well some of the party’s candidates from the area.

Regardless of who is chosen as leader Sept. 10, Conservatives know they must make inroads with immigrants and racialized Canadians if theyhope to pick up seats in the region as well as other major cities and suburbs, considered key to defeating three-term Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Poilievre pledged Monday to revive similar programs that were in place under the last Conservative leader who did well in communities of visible minorities: former prime minister Stephen Harper, at least prior to 2015.

He promised toincentivize provinces to require occupational licensing bodies to decide on an immigrant’s application within 60 days of receiving their paperwork, rather than forcing them to wait for months.

As well, Poilievre pitched offering small loans to immigrants who might need to take extra courses to gain a professional or trade licence to work in their respective field.

As Poilievre made these pledges, Brown, who is positioning himself as the candidate who stands for religious freedoms, released a statement saying the MP lacks credibility on any policy that impacts minority communities given his role in the Conservatives’ 2015 election campaign.

It was during that race when the party, then led by Harper, promised to create a tip line for so-called “barbaric cultural practices.” Conservatives at the time said it was meant to report things like forced marriage.

During that election, Poilievre was running for re-election as a candidate. He was also a member of Harper’s government when it introduced a bill banning people from wearing face coverings during citizenship ceremonies. That was ultimately struck down in court. The promise was also included in the party’s election campaign, when Harper also mused about possibly extending it to federal public servants.

Brown said Monday that Poilievre has never spoken out against these measures. The MP also has Jenni Byrne on his team, who was the party’s national campaign manager in 2015.

“This is the same campaign which platformed those two abhorrent policies, and lost the Conservatives the 2015 general election,” Brown’s statement read.

“Even if he attempts to distance himself from his silence today, it would be a hollow gesture in an insincere bid to gain votes.”

Poilievre responded Monday by calling Brown a “liar,” accusing him of mischaracterizing what Harper was doing.

“There was no niqab ban,” he said in a statement released on social media.

“I would never support that, nor did Mr. Harper. What Mr. Harper proposed was that a person’s face be visible while giving oaths at citizenship ceremonies.”

Poilievre, whose statement didn’t address the past proposal of a “barbaric cultural practices” tip line, added he would continue to support immigration and equality.

In response, National Council of Canadians CEO Mustafa Farooq tweeted that “leadership requires accountability” and pointed out some of Poilievre’s fellow MPs have apologized for what happened in 2015.

Among those is Edmonton MP Tim Uppal, a co-chair on Poilievre’s campaign, who has apologized for his role as a minister in promoting the ban on niqabs during citizenship ceremonies.Before the leadership race, Uppal said the party was still dealing with the fallout from racialized communities because of the 2015 campaign.

A post-mortem from the Conservatives’ 2021 election loss submitted in January came to a similar finding, according to three sources who spoke to The Canadian Press on the condition of anonymity.

Melissa Lantsman, a newly elected Ontario MP who is also supporting Poilievre in the race, shared on social media last fall that while she was stood in favour of banning the niqab during citizenship ceremonies in 2015, her “view has since evolved.”

Michael Diamond, a campaign strategist who, among other campaigns, worked on Peter MacKay’s 2020 Conservative leadership bid, said Brown’s attack over the issue and targeting of Byrne is a “proxy” attack on Harper, who is highly respected among the membership.

“It seems like folly to me to attack the last campaign of the man who remains the most popular figure in this party.”

He added it’s still early days in the race and cautioned that the debates playing out between the campaigns and on social media were occurring in an “echo chamber.”

Source: Poilievre pitches to new immigrants, as Brown attacks him over 2015 niqab ban bill

Senate passes bill to remove mention of ‘barbaric cultural practices’ from Harper-era law

Good.

For all the right reasons: keeping the substance while removing the identity politics bumper sticker title (Senator Salma Ataullahjan characterization of the short title as “incendiary and deeply harmful, as it targets a cultural group as a whole rather than individuals who commit the specific acts” worthy of note.

Assume the Liberal government may be considering the same approach with FGM and the upcoming citizenship guide (Conservative MP Rempel’s high profile efforts to press the issue with Minister Hussen ups the stakes):

The Senate has approved a bill that would remove mention of “barbaric cultural practices” from a law that outlaws forced marriage.

Liberal Sen. Mobina Jaffer introduced the bill in December 2015, shortly after the Liberals won the federal election and less than six months after the previous Conservative government passed the so-called “Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act” into law.

In a speech introducing her bill — which does nothing more than remove the title of that law — Jaffer said the use of the term “barbaric” is “insulting to cultures in Canada.”

“Can we reasonably call terrorists barbaric? Yes. Are certain acts against humanity barbaric? Yes. Would any reasonable person agree with these points? Yes. Do I agree with these points? Yes,” she said at the time.

“The issue here, frankly, is the pairing of the words ‘barbaric’ and ‘cultural.’ By pairing these two words, we are instead removing the agency from the individual committing an action that is clearly wrong and associating it instead with a cultural group at large. We are implying that these practices are part of cultures and that these cultures are barbaric.”

The Conservative law, called Bill S-7 when it went through parliament, sought to address the issue of forced marriage in a few ways, including by adding polygamy as a reason to deny someone’s admission to Canada, by setting 16 as the minimum age for marriage and by creating new offences related to forced and underage marriage.

It also removed provocation by “wrongful act or insult” as a partial defence in murder cases. The legislative summary for the bill cites a 2006 case at the Ontario Court of Appeal in which a man accused of killing an allegedly unfaithful wife cited “family honour” in arguing the defence of provocation was relevant. The court disagreed and said the premise that violence against women is sometimes accepted is “antithetical” to fundamental Canadian values.

The law itself remains subject to criticism from some quarters. Just this week, during a debate on archaic elements of the Criminal Code, Green Party leader Elizabeth May noted in the Commons that Bill S-7 had made illegal, or recategorized, some things that were already illegal. “I believe that the Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act belongs in the same category as banning witchcraft,” she said. (A bill going through parliament now removes pretending to practise witchcraft as a criminal offence.)

However, there is some cross-partisan consensus on the law’s title. Conservative Sen. Salma Ataullahjan agrees with Jaffer that “barbaric” is a problematic word.

The short title, “in my view, is incendiary and deeply harmful, as it targets a cultural group as a whole rather than individuals who commit the specific acts,” Ataullahjan said Monday evening in the Senate.

“Through conversations with my community, I heard from most that they felt the short title was directed solely at them and that from their perspective it served only to further stigmatize and alienate them from the community at large.”

This isn’t the first time a politician has taken issue with such language. When he was a backbench MP in 2011, now-prime minister Justin Trudeau made headlines for challenging the Conservative government’s use of the term in Canada’s citizenship guide, arguing the use of the term “barbaric” to describe “cultural practices” was not neutral enough.

“My problem with the use of the word barbaric is that it was chosen to reassure Canadians rather than actually change unacceptable behaviours,” he said on Twitter at the time, later clarifying that, yes, he did think that “all violence against women is barbaric.”

Trudeau repeated the word again last week as he responded to a question from Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel, taking issue with the government’s decision to remove a line about the illegality of female genital mutilation from the citizenship guide.

“We will continue to lead the way, pushing for an end to these barbaric practices of female genital mutilation, everywhere around the world and here in Canada,” he said.

Jaffer’s bill awaits first reading in the House of Commons.

via Senate passes bill to remove mention of ‘barbaric cultural practices’ from Harper-era law | National Post

Jen Gerson: Eyeing the Conservative leadership, MP tiptoes away from barbaric cultural practices tipline

Gerson on Leitch’s non-apology:

The Conservatives’ earlier attempts had been more subtle, successful and, frankly, defensible. There were legitimate security and logistics concerns over the Liberals’ plans to bring in more Syrian refugees, for example.

The Conservatives’ much-derided support for the niqab ban actually is a contentious issue, particularly in parts of the country that pride themselves on secularism and female social inclusion.

But the barbaric cultural practices tipline? That was a desperate shark jump. To pretend that announcement wasn’t targeting Muslims is insulting. Even those who supported the hotline must find themselves reeling at that suggestion. This wasn’t a dog whistle, it was a bullhorn.

What we put forward that day, the message was lost and I take responsibility for that

Leitch could have admitted as much, offered an unequivocal apology and a promised to do better. Instead, she only took responsibility for the fact that she failed to convey her honest good wishes for women and children.

Her message was lost, she claims.

Her message wasn’t lost. It was perfectly clear. That was the problem.

People make mistakes. In the panicked days of an election campaign, directed by a deeply controlling central leadership, it becomes easier to follow orders and justify those actions after the fact.

But Leitch is neither dumb nor politically naive. She knew, or ought to have known, what she was doing when she fronted that announcement. She either agreed with the strategy, or lacked the backbone to refuse to support it. She’s still failing to own that mistake.

Canadians can forgive a contrite politician for doing something stupid. They can even give a pass to a well-intentioned politician who espouses bad policy honestly. But no one forgives a leader who’s weak.

Source: Jen Gerson: Eyeing the Conservative leadership, MP tiptoes away from barbaric cultural practices tipline | National Post

Kellie Leitch tears up over role in barbaric cultural practices tip line – Politics – CBC News

Clear reflection and acknowledgement of a major mistake. Waiting to hear from former CIC Minister Chris Alexander whether he also has regrets:

Tory leadership candidate Kellie Leitch became visibly emotional while trying to explain her decision to front the launch of the Conservatives tip line for reporting barbaric cultural practices during the recent federal election.

The former minister in Stephen Harper’s government told CBC News Network’s Power & Politics host Rosemary Barton that she wishes she never took part in the election announcement.

“I’ve had a lot of time to think about this since the campaign took place and if could go back in time, which I can’t, I would change things,” Leitch said. “I would not have made that announcement that day.

“As minister of status of women I was focused on making sure that we eliminated violence against women and girls especially making sure we advocated for women’s rights,” she explained.

Leitch, who is also a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, said her intention was to ensure that if women and children needed to “pick up the phone” to call for help that someone would answer, but admits that “the message was lost.”

“We weren’t talking about race, we were talking about kids … but that message was completely overtaken and I regret that, and I regret that it occurred, and it shouldn’t have been done,” she said.

The Simcoe-Grey MP refused to reveal who in the Conservative Party came up with the idea for the tip line saying “this is not a time for pointing fingers at people or looking at what happened.”

When the Tories lost the election they also lost the chance to implement the promised tip line.

Source: Kellie Leitch tears up over role in barbaric cultural practices tip line – Politics – CBC News

RCMP had no idea about barbaric cultural practices snitch line pitched by Conservatives

No excuse for former Ministers Leitch and Alexander for going along with this. It would be nice to hear some sober second thought reflections from each of them:

CBC News has learned the RCMP had no idea a Conservative government would have tasked it with establishing a controversial “barbaric cultural practices” tipline.

Two former Conservative cabinet ministers held a news conference mid-campaign to tell reporters that if their party formed the next government, it would order Mounties to set up the snitch line.

Chris Alexander and Kellie Leitch said it would allow citizens to “report incidents of barbaric cultural practices here in Canada or to notify authorities that a child or woman is at risk of being victimized.”

The idea was criticized by some who pointed out such a tip line already exists — 911. Others jokingly predicted the Mounties could have found themselves investigating tips from the public that baby boys were being circumcised or that parents were getting their kids’ ears pierced.

CBC News asked the RCMP for all correspondence or other documentation related to such a proposal in an access to information request. The police force responded Wednesday.

The Mounties say they searched records in federal policing, specialized policing services, contract and aboriginal policing and the strategic policy and planning directory.

“Unfortunately, we were unable to locate records which respond to your request,” Supt. David Vautour, an officer with the access to information and privacy branch of the RCMP, wrote in a letter to CBC News.

This backs up what sources have recently told CBC News — that the idea for such a tip line was cooked up at the last minute by a small circle of people close to former prime minister and Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper with no consultation with anyone else.

Today, the Conservative Party’s Interim Leader Rona Ambrose told reporters, “I was not part of that decision, nor do I support it.”

Source: RCMP had no idea about barbaric cultural practices snitch line pitched by Conservatives – Politics – CBC News