Brown, Poilievre trade shots over niqab ban as Conservative leadership race heats up_freckle removal face wash

Brown, Poilievre trade shots over niqab ban as Conservative leadership race heats upConservative leadership candidate Patrick Brown launched an attack Monday on his opponent Pierre Poilievre, accusing the Conservative MP of supporting "discriminatory policies" that target immigrants.

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Patrick Brown says his Conservative leadership opponent has supported discriminatory policies

John Paul Tasker · CBC News(Canadian Press)

Conservative leadership candidate Patrick Brown launched an attack Monday on his opponent Pierre Poilievre, accusing the Conservative MP of supporting "discriminatory policies" that target immigrants.

Poilievre, the MP for the Ottawa-area riding of Carleton considered the front-runner in the race, pitched new policies Monday that he said will make it easier for skilled immigrants to practice their professions in Canada. He vowed to take on what he called "money-grabbing gatekeepers" who determine whether an immigrant is qualified to work in Canada.

But Brown, the current mayor of Brampton, Ont., said Poilievre "has no credibility announcing any sort of policy which largely impacts minority communities such as immigration because he's never publicly stood against policies that disproportionately impact them."

Brown accused Poilievre of supporting the proposed "niqab ban" at citizenship ceremonies and a hotline to report "barbaric cultural practices" such as sexual slavery or "honour" killings — two elements of the 2015 Conservative election platform. Critics said these policy positions were part of a cynical attempt to mobilize anti-immigrant votes, while supporters said they were meant to protect Canadian values of secularism and gender equality.

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Some Conservatives have cited the party's past support for these policies to explain its lacklustre support among some immigrant communities in the 2019 and 2021 federal election campaigns.

A post-election report prepared for former party leader Erin O'Toole zeroed in on the party's poor performance with so-called "ethnic voters." The report's author, former Conservative MP James Cumming, concluded the party stumbled in the 2021 campaign in must-win regions like the Greater Toronto Area and greater Vancouver in part because of lingering resentment over the "niqab ban" and the hotline.

Poilievre was a cabinet minister when the former Conservative government first pitched these ideas ahead of the 2015 contest.

Poilievre defends niqab policy in 2015

At an Oct. 2015 press conference during that year's election campaign, Poilievre defended the policy of forcing Muslim women to remove the niqab while they recite the oath of citizenship.

Poilievre said it was "completely reasonable" to ask someone to show their face and the party would not "succumb to political correctness" by accommodating the veil at such an important event. He said wearing a niqab at a citizenship ceremony is "not in line with Canadian values."

"The reason we ask people to show up in person is because we want to witness them giving their oath of allegiance to this country. We don't let people fax it in, make a phone call or send an email. We bring them in person because it is a sacred moment of citizenship and of loyalty to country that must be witnessed by one's peers and that cannot be done if one's face is covered," Poilievre said at the time.

He also suggested the niqab policy might be extended to other areas of federal jurisdiction.

WATCH: Pierre Poilievre is asked about niqab ban

Pierre Poilievre asked about niqab ban for public servants

6 years agoDuration 1:40Conservative candidate Pierre Poilievre defends party position on ban at citizenship ceremony.News|Corrections and Clarifications

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