Quebec renews burqa ban debate in parliament

A bitter debate over identity, religion and tolerance has resumed in the Canadian province of Quebec, as parliamentary hearings begin on proposed legislation that would ban anyone wearing a face covering from receiving public services in the province.

The bill, tabled by the provincial Liberals last year, aims to address the issue of state neutrality and provide a framework for religious accommodation requests.

But much of the public discussion of the bill has focused on its attempt to ban face coverings. The provincial government has said there are no public employees in the province who cover their faces, meaning the legislation is likely directed at Muslim women who wear the niqab or burqa.