Controversy over face-covering niqab exposes rift in federal NDP caucus

Global News

OTTAWA – Controversy over the face-covering niqab worn by some Muslim women has exposed a rift among New Democrat MPs.

Alexandre Boulerice, one of the party’s most prominent Quebec MPs, says he doesn’t believe public servants should be allowed to cover their faces.

But two of the party’s veteran MPs – Winnipeg’s Pat Martin and Ottawa’s Paul Dewar – disagree.

“I don’t care if people wear a paper bag on their head when they go to work,” Martin said Friday. “It’s none of our business.”

That said, Martin added that he has no problem with Boulerice’s suggestion that a pan-Canadian commission – along the lines of Quebec’s Bouchard-Taylor commission in 2007 – should be created to find a consensus on how far the country should go to accommodate minority cultural and religious practices.

READ MORE: Montreal woman to file complaint after judge imposes no hijab rule

However, Dewar, whose riding…

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