Notley on niqabs: Rights of minorities shouldn’t be 'political football'
Josh Dehaas, CTVNews.ca
Published Thursday, October 1, 2015 6:00PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, October 1, 2015 6:11PM EDT
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley offered her views on a number of federal election issues Thursday, during a wide-ranging interview with Power Play’s Don Martin.
The conversation touched on niqabs, climate change, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the federal NDP’s recent slide in opinion polls.
Notley wouldn’t comment on whether or not women should be allowed to wear niqabs (face coverings worn by some Muslims) at citizenship ceremonies -- a practice that the Conservatives want to outlaw but that NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau would allow.
“I really just don’t think minority rights ought to be a political football,” the premier said.
Notley was coy when asked whether she believes a carbon tax -- favoured by Trudeau -- is a better strategy for Alberta than the cap-and-trade system Mulcair has proposed to counter climate change.
The question was particularly relevant after Notely said last week that cap-and-trade "may not be our best road forward,” and then clarified the day after that she supports the NDP’s “climate plan.”
Notley said Alberta needs to address climate change, but “there’s different strategies out there for how that might be done.”
She noted that her government had convened a panel to “come up with recommendations for how we can develop a meaningful climate change strategy -- not only to do our part with respect to that issue, but also to help support our industry when it’s trying to move into new markets so that there is an understanding that Alberta is doing its part.”
On the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, a huge trade deal currently being negotiated between 12 countries including in Atlanta, Ga., Notley said she is “cautiously optimistic that it will be good for Alberta business.”
“I think that, overall, for most Alberta businesses it’s going to be an opportunity for them to increase their trade opportunities,” she said, adding she hasn’t yet seen as many details as she would have liked.
Asked about whether she has any advice for Mulcair -- who has fallen behind the Liberals and Conservatives in opinion polls in recent days -- Notley advised him to “just keep talking about … the things that have had Canadians consider the NDP as an option.”
“I’m optimistic that we will have a very interesting election in a couple weeks,” she added.
Notley sat for the interview in Toronto, where she is meeting with business leaders and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.
The purpose of her trip, she said, is talk about “the fact that we are very focused on stability and clarity and ensuing we remain a very competitive place for people to invest,” while also gathering feedback.
Notley has been accused of creating uncertainty by pushing ahead with a review of the amount of royalties oil and gas companies are required to pay to the province.