Quebec MP Steven Blaney is running for leadership of the Conservative Party.
Mr. Blaney was first elected in 2006 in the riding of Lévis-Bellechasse. He served as Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of Public Safety under former PM Stephen Harper.
Mr. Blaney’s first policy position is that he would introduce legislation that would forbid the wearing of the niqab while voting and taking the oath of citizenship. He also said that the prohibition would extend to people working in the federal public service. He indicated he would use Section 33 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which gives Parliament little-used override powers to block any court challenges to his legislation.
Mr. Blaney said he also would give more powers to the country’s security agencies to “substantially expand their current screening capacity regarding potential national security threats.” He said those agencies have been overwhelmed with the influx of refugees from war-torn regions.
He also wants to change the citizenship test given to prospective new Canadians, to verify their “understanding and appreciation of Canada’s core principles.”
The Conservative Party will hold its leadership election on May 27, 2017.