Sensing a winner, Stephen Harper kept the niqab issue alive this week by saying he may try to ban them in the civil service.
I'm of two minds about the niqab, so one half argued with the other half last week.
Conclusion: Don't sweat the niqab, no big deal.
I'll let a friend from the Coast, Don Hunter, argue the other side. Hunter is a journalist, author and — after 50 plus years in Canada — still a limey.
Says Hunter via email:
"The issue is accommodation and its consequences, especially as demonstrated in Europe.
"The urge to accommodate immigrant-Muslim needs/wants/wishes in the UK has turned the country into a haven of special-interest power, with the Muslims at the head of the line, where traditional values and standards have been discarded under the pressure of Muslim demands - and, of course - at the risk of offending the newcomers by trying to retain those values and standards.
"In parts of North London, there are posses of Muslim Patrols - young men who control the streets and order non-Muslim (white) women whose manner of dress they find anti-Islamic (normal fashion) and degrading. They order them gone. The area is under strictly Muslim control.
"In the northern cities of Bradford and Preston, there are major Muslims-controlled sections that are recognized as no-go for white folks.
"Schools in various parts of the UK have been banned from serving sausage and ham in their meals program because, of course, the Muslims object to those on the menu. Others have been required to serve only halal (permissible) meats.
"In the last five years there have been at least three cases where gangs of men, identified in the press as being of Pakistan/Muslim background, have spent years "grooming" young girls (always white), first by raping them and then pimping them out. When finally the gangs were jailed, police admitted that they had known of the activities but were afraid of being labelled racists if they had acted.
"Muslims held protests at RAF bases when bodies of British soldiers were returned from Afghanistan because "they had been killing our people in our country."
"Councils have banned the display of the cross of St. George (on St. George's Day) for fear of offending 'other cultures.'
"Last week in Europe, young male 'refugees' destroyed care packages of food and clothing that one would think they really needed, because they were from the Red Cross. The cross of course being the offender.
"Denmark for two years now has been offering Muslim immigrants assistance to return to their homelands, in the hope that their social benefits budget might recover.
"All this, and so much more, because of accommodation.
"Most people in the West who subscribe to a faith live a life in which their religion is in one compartment. The extreme Muslims don't have compartments - their religion is their politics, their way of life, their reason for living. They are fanatical about it and will stop at nothing to advance the cause and destroy anyone who doesn't share it.
"The niqab is a tiny but significant element of that fanaticism."
— Chuck Poulsen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.