Lynda Briguène, Green Party candidate, at odds with her own party on niqab ban
'There’s no identity [with the niqab] ... so I would prefer to ban it,' says Alfred-Pellan candidate
A Quebec Green Party candidate is standing firmly behind her belief that the niqab should be banned in Canada, despite being at odds with her party's leader and many of her fellow party members on the issue.
LyndaBriguène, the Green Party candidate for Alfred-Pellan — a riding on Montreal's north shore — believes the niqab should be banned from all public spaces in the country.
We don't know who we're speaking with. Is it a woman? A man?- Lynda Briguène , Green Party candidate for Alfred-Pellan
"With the niqab, there's no face, no identity, we don't know who we're speaking with. Is it a woman? A man?" she said.
The niqab is a veil that is worn by some Muslim women and covers everything except their eyes.
Green Party leader Elizabeth May has criticized the Conservative government in the past for its stance on banning the niqab during citizenship ceremonies.
In the past, May said the whole niqab debate "creates a very hostile, emotionally charged and difficult environment" that makes it harder to work together to prevent radicalization.
Briguène said she's been asked again and again for her stance on the niqab while out knocking on doors and speaking with voters. She said that's why she decided to speak out.
"A person who has a niqab, a mask you could call it, we can't know who that person is. There's no identity. All we see is the eyes. So I would prefer to ban it," she said.
But her views aren't going over well with some of her fellow party members.
Quebec Green Party leader wants candidate booted out
Alex Tyrrell, the leader of the Quebec Green Party, is calling for Briguène's immediate dismissal, saying she showed "a profound lack of openness towards the country's religious minorities."
No law should tell women how they must or must not dress- Alex Tyrrell , leader of the Quebec Green Party
"Being personally opposed to the niqab is one thing. Wanting to pass a law to make it illegal and turning one's back on the charter of rights and freedoms is another thing," he said in a statement.
"No law should tell women how they must or must not dress in public, at work, or elsewhere."
As for Briguène, she acknowledged that her views on the niqab are her own, and not her party's.
"It's my position, not the position of the Green Party. And I'm taking all the responsibility for that view. The Green Party of Canada has nothing to do with this."