Support for face-covering bans drops to 40% outside Quebec, poll suggests

31 per cent say wearing the niqab should be ‘discouraged but tolerated’ and only 28 per cent say the veils should be ‘welcome.

The vast majority of Quebecers support Bill 62, the Quebec government’s ban on wearing face coverings while dispensing or receiving government services, but that support drops to about 40 per cent elsewhere in Canada, an Angus-Reid Institute poll suggests.

While Bill 62 targets face coverings of any kind when dealing with public services, critics have charged it targets Muslim women who wear the niqab, a face veil considered an expression of religious devotion.

The survey question focused on the niqab itself, and nationwide, 40 per cent of respondents replied the veil should be prohibited in government offices. However, support among remaining respondents was mitigated, with 31 per cent saying wearing the veil should be “discouraged but tolerated” and only 28 per cent replying the veils should be “welcome.”

The same question applied to Quebec respondents found 70 per cent in favour of the face veil ban, 23 per cent calling for the veil to be discouraged but tolerated and only eight per cent saying it should be welcome.

The perception of the face covering ban varied from one region to another outside Quebec. Complete prohibition received the most support in Alberta (46 per cent) and Saskatchewan (52 per cent), which were most likely to say niqabs should be “prohibited” at government facilities, while 41 per cent of respondents in Manitoba were the most likely to say they should be “welcome.” [Montreal Gazette] Read more