January 24, 2022

Conservative MP Tim Uppal sorry for role in ‘divisiveness’ of Harper-era policies

A former Conservative cabinet minister is apologizing for not pushing against his party’s culturally divisive policies of the Stephen Harper era, including an effort to ban face coverings during citizenship ceremonies.

In a Facebook post, Tory MP Tim Uppal says he has been talking to people about how to make all Canadians feel safe following the deadly attack this month on a Muslim family in London, Ont.

READ MORE: London attack suspect charged with terrorism 

Watch above: Some Global News videos about a deadly attack on a Muslim family in London, Ont.

Story continues below advertisement

As minister of state for multiculturalism in the Harper government, Uppal was the spokesman for a bill to ban wearing the niqab while taking the oath of citizenship.

READ MORE: Court rejects feds’ appeal for stay in niqab case

Campaigning for re-election in 2015, the party also proposed a “barbaric cultural practices” hotline people could call to tell authorities about the supposedly objectionable practices of others.

Uppal says after the Liberals beat the Conservatives at the polls, he spent considerably more time talking to Canadians outside the partisan political bubble.

READ MORE: Conservatives crank up the cultural identity heat before final French debate

He says it was through these conversations that he came to understand how the niqab policy and other pronouncements during the election campaign alienated Muslim Canadians and contributed to the growing problem of Islamophobia in Canada.

“When it came to these policies, I should have used my seat at the table to push against divisiveness that promoted the notion of the other,” he said in the Facebook post. “I regret not being a stronger voice and sincerely apologize for my role.”

Many have parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles who blazed the trail for them in Canada because they believed it would provide their families with a safer and prosperous future, Uppal said.

Story continues below advertisement

“The Canada that they believed in was one that held, in its core, the belief that your race, your religion, your gender, or your sexuality would be accepted here,” he wrote.

“It is up to us all to make Canada a better place.”

Uppal, who returned to Parliament in 2019 after being defeated four years earlier, said he is “proud to stand” with Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole due to his commitment to equality.

Watch below: Some recent videos about Erin O’Toole.

Asked Monday if the Conservatives owe an apology to the Muslim community over past policies, O’Toole said “all parties need to do better.”

“I’m proud that my members are reaching out to members of the Muslim community, reaching out trying to build trust with Canadians,” he said.

Story continues below advertisement

“We have to build trust with more and more Canadians before the next election, and I’m committed to do that.”




© 2021 The Canadian Press

Related Posts

ANALYSIS: Nasal lube, DIY COVID-19 tests and the reality of covering summits in a pandemic – National

June 17, 2021

June 17, 2021

“Ralph Goodale will scrum with reporters at the media centre this afternoon.” Scrum. I couldn’t believe my ears. For...

Commons committee calls for reforms in lobbying measures after WE Charity scandal – National

June 10, 2021

June 10, 2021

A parliamentary committee issued a scathing report Thursday on the Trudeau government’s now-cancelled deal with WE Charity that includes...

Scoping documents for ‘Nova Scotia Shootings Review’ drafted less than 2 weeks after attack

May 26, 2021

May 26, 2021

Less than two weeks after the massacre that left 22 Nova Scotians dead, officials within the federal Public Safety...

Residential schools: What we know about their history and how many died – National

June 1, 2021

June 1, 2021

Warning: Some of the details in this story may be disturbing to some readers. Discretion is advised. Survivors have...

Catholic church’s ‘lack of commitment’ to share residential school records under scrutiny – National

June 3, 2021

June 3, 2021

Warning: Some of the details in this story may be disturbing to some readers. Discretion is advised.  The Catholic...

Senior military leaders golfing with Vance raises concerns about ‘fairness’ in probes: Freeland – National

June 14, 2021

June 14, 2021

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says she understands and sympathizes with concerns being raised about “the possibility of real...

Trudeau government set to apologize to Italian Canadians for war internment

May 27, 2021

May 27, 2021

It is a stretch of road lined with postcard perfect views and promises of escape and a sense of...

‘Terribly saddened’: Trudeau laments residential school graves discovery in Saskatchewan

June 24, 2021

June 24, 2021

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he is “terribly saddened” following the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves at the...

N.S. First Nation further delays lobster fishing, saying it risks losing traps

June 2, 2021

June 2, 2021

By Michael Tutton The Canadian Press Posted June 2, 2021 2:14 pm Smaller font ...

Reports that U.S. border to Canada could reopen on June 22 untrue: sources

May 26, 2021

May 26, 2021

U.S. government sources tell Global News that reports they will unilaterally reopen the border with Canada on June 22...

The U.S. updated COVID-19 rules for fully vaccinated citizens 41 days ago. When will Canada? – National

June 23, 2021

June 23, 2021

More than a month after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated their COVID-19 guidance for fully...

Bennett faces call to resign after linking JWR residential school tweet with pension eligibility – National

June 25, 2021

June 25, 2021

The Union of BC Indian Chiefs is calling on Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett to resign following a text...

Seven more B.C. mayors support Vancouver’s push for drug decriminalization

June 11, 2021

June 11, 2021

VANCOUVER – A plan by the City of Vancouver to gain Health Canada approval to decriminalize small amounts of...

Classified U.K. defense papers found in ‘soggy heap’ at bus stop: report – National

June 27, 2021

June 27, 2021

Sensitive defense documents containing details about the British military have been found at a bus stop in England, the...

Trump and allies pressured Arizona officials to overturn election, new records show – National

July 3, 2021

July 3, 2021

Newly released records show the top Republicans in Arizona’s largest county dodged calls from Donald Trump and his allies...