Ontario MPPs to defy Speaker and wear kaffiyehs to Queen’s Park


Published May 1, 2024 at 9:02 pm

keffiyeh, ontario legislature, MPPs, ban, defiance

Multiple MPPs from different provincial parties plan to wear the kaffiyeh on Monday (May 6) at Queen’s Park in defiance of the Speaker’s decision to ban the scarf, announced the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) on Wednesday (May 1).

Earlier this year, Ted Arnott, Wellington-Halton Hills MPP and Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, banned the checkered scarf typically worn in Arab cultures and which has come to symbolize solidarity with Palestinians earlier this year.

Arnott said kaffiyehs are being worn to make a political statement. Premier Doug Ford and the remaining three provincial party leaders have all asked for the ban to be overturned.

The NCCM called it an “unjustifiable and unprecedented ruling.”

“Every party leader, including Premier Ford and Opposition Leader Marit Stiles, have stated on the record that they are opposed to the ban,” said the NCCM in a statement.

“Dozens of highly regarded lawyers and legal scholars have opined to us that the Speaker’s ruling is ultra vires his powers, due to, among others, improper purpose, and that the power of the parliamentary privilege is constrained in relation to human rights violations.”

The NCCM added that it is the ‘People’s House,’ not the Speaker’s house.

“Everyone should feel welcome there,” they said. “This is a non-partisan issue.”

The Muslim council said Ontarians will be there watching.

“We look forward to seeing all MPPs take action behind their words on Monday,” they added.

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