Rights are not subject to popularity, not subject to majority rule of any government. Rights are rights not only when they are acceptable to the prevailing political winds, rights are guaranteed to protect minorities from those winds. If Harper's Conservatives, or any other group, want to limit minority rights let them begin the long arduous process of changing the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
When Harper says “Most Canadians believe that it is offensive that someone would hide their identity at the very moment where they are committing to join the Canadian family.” and that "the majority of ‘moderate Muslims’ support the niqab ban", it's an attack on a distinguishable minority and it's pandering to the ignorance and fear of his political base. He may be correct about the opinion of the majority, but it's meaningless.
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it are subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society. Everyone, citizen or legal resident, has the following fundamental freedoms: freedom of conscience and religion; freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication; freedom of peaceful assembly; and freedom of association.
15. (1) of the Charter says: "Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability." Harper and his ultra right-wing ilk are attempting to divide and conquer Canadians for their own political gain. Every Canadian that goes on to vote for this fascist asshole should understand that sooner or later they will be next.
Legal experts agree that this divisive law will never stand up to the avalanche of challenges in the Supreme Court, Harpo knows that. This is political bullshit timed and designed to generate votes, it will be thrown out. But it clearly shows how important our rights are in view of the Anti-Terrorism Bill C-51 which seeks to destroy Canadian rights to protest and impede environmentally destructive capitalist 'growth' by saying those actions 'might' hinder economic security.
When Harper says: "the niqab is contrary to our own values", we should all understand immediately it's Harpo who seeks to undermine Canadian values not Islam, not Muslims, not the niqab wearers who see themselves as being faithful to their religion. IMO everyone everywhere has the right to believe in whatever imaginary being or religious delusion they choose without fear or intimidation by any government or group.