Nenshi disappointed niqab issue a ‘flashpoint’ in federal election campaign

File: Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
File: Mayor Naheed Nenshi. Global News

CALGARY – Calgary’s mayor has toned down his criticism of the Conservative government for its handling of the niqab issue.

Naheed Nenshi ripped the Conservative’s position as politically motivated and “dangerous” in an interview last week and then got into a war of words on the issue with Defence Minister Jason Kenney.

READ MORE: Nenshi fires back at Kenney for comments on niqab ban

But Nenshi, who attended a citizenship ceremony this morning, stayed away from those words, saying he was disappointed the issue has become such a “flashpoint” in the current campaign.

He is urging Canadians to vote for the Canada they want, but shied away from any criticism of the Conservative government.

Nenshi said human rights are fundamentally urban issues and immigrants primarily move to cities with the hope of living a better life.

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The issue of religious accommodation and specifically banning the wearing of face coverings during citizenship ceremonies has become one of the campaign’s most contentious issues, particularly in seat-rich Quebec.

READ MORE: Unpacking the politics – the power of the niqab 

The City of Calgary also released its “Cities Matter” report Thursday, which asks the major federal parties about how cities matter to them. The 2015 report, published online, highlights responses from the Greens, Liberals and NDP on issues including the economy, funding public transit, infrastructure and affordable housing.

A statement from the city said it expects to receive responses from the Conservative Party “very soon” which will also be posted.

Watch Mayor Nenshi launch the 2015 federal election version of below:

With files from Global News

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