Justice Boswell of the Federal Court, appointed by the current Government and a thirty year card carrying Conservative, ruled in favour of Zunera Ishaq who wanted to wear a niqab at her citizenship oath ceremony. Zunera challenged the policy that Jason Kenney, the then Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, promulgated (without legislative basis) that prevented veiling at the ceremony. She had no issue with the actual policy, which required her to unveil for the purposes of establishing her identity prior to the oath (as per section 13.2 of CIC’s policy manual, CP 15: Guide to Citizenship Ceremonies). The Minister however targed veiled Muslim women (I can't imagine any other group that is affected by this action):
My interpretation is that the Minister would like this done, regardless of whether there is a legislative base and that he will use his prerogative to make policy change.
The above is from a redacted email from a CIC official.
Whatever the Minister wants, he can't rule by fiat. Canada is still a country governed by laws, not individuals:
 Despite the mandatory intentions behind the Policy though, it is the Act and the Regulations that ultimately determine whether a citizenship judge has any discretion with respect to applying the Policy.
Justice Boswell had the Rule of Law foremost in his analysis:
 Insofar as a citizenship judge has no discretion but to apply the Policy, the imposition of this mandatory duty upon a citizenship judge is contrary to paragraph 17(1)(b) of the Regulations, which requires a citizenship judge to “administer the oath of citizenship with dignity and solemnity, allowing thegreatest possible freedom in the religious solemnization or the solemn affirmation thereof” (emphasis added)
 Citizenship judges cannot exercise that function to determine what degree of freedom is possible if they instead obey the Policy’s directive to ensure that candidates for citizenship have been seen, face uncovered, taking the oath. How can a citizenship judge afford the greatest possible freedom in respect of the religious solemnization or solemn affirmation in taking the oath if the Policy requires candidates to violate or renounce a basic tenet of their religion? For instance, how could a citizenship judge afford a monk who obeys strict rules of silence the “greatest possible freedom” in taking the oath if he is required to betray his discipline and break his silence? Likewise, how could a citizenship judge afford a mute person the “greatest possible freedom” in taking the oath if such person is physically incapable of saying the oath and thus cannot be seen to take it?
The Conservative government has already stated that they will appeal Justice Boswell's reasoned decision. They will fail. This is electioneering, plain and simple. This stance on the niqab plays well in certain (vote rich) areas of this country. This is beyond unfortunate.
Playing politics is affecting innocent individuals. Judge Marengo of a Quebec court refused to hear a Rania El-Alloul, who was wearing a hijab. On welfare, she is raising three children. One of them drove while suspended and her car was impounded. She was seeking its release. This audio got my blood boiling. Rather than facilitating access to justice, the judge frustrated it. This is particularly egregious when the person concerned is impecunious and can't afford a lawyer. One of my associates, Suha Abu-Jazar wears a hijab and represents her clients in court every day. I really can't believe that this happened in Canada in 2015.
The reality is that there is a poisoned atmosphere and Muslim women are bearing the brunt of this atavistic attitude.
Minister Tim Uppal is Minister of State for Multiculturalism. His wife is also a baptized Sikh and is a lawyer for the Department of Justice (meaning she also wears a head covering). His only response to the niqab ruling and now the discreditable conduct of a Quebec judge denying a hijabi Muslima access to justice was a tepid tweet sent to me this morning after my appearance on Calgary's South Asian Radio station RedFM 106.7.
I'm really hoping that politicians, particularly in the ruling party, stop drinking the partisan Kool-Aid for a moment and defend the ability of religious minorities to access the courts and access to the full panoply of the rights and freedoms. Just because they look or comport themselves differently does not make them any less Canadian.