Harper hired Crosby shortly before the 1st Fench language debate, shortly before the niqab issue exploded onto scene in all it's wedge wielding fury. The federal courts had already ruled twice [now 3 times after Harper latest defeat] that as long as the person was willing to show their face to an election official during the pre-oath procedure to determine citizenship what they wore to the ceremony was/is immaterial.
Harper and Crosby knew all this but pushed the issue knowing that in Quebec, this issue has broader significance as it mirrors closely the recent racist debate on Quebec’s “charter of values”. Their evil plan sorta worked in that many soft NDP supporters are among the Islamophobes. It failed though in that within days the great majority of those soft NDP supporters slid over to the Libs and the Bloc camp not Cons...oops
The Niqab issue shouldn't be seen in isolation from the general context in which it was raised. This is/was part of the so-called 'war on terror' with all the racist, Islamophobic, scapegoating discourse that has come along with it. This is just part and parcel of the harper-Cons general drive to demonize Muslims as ‘the enemy’, in order to create a climate of fear and justify the Conservative policy of Empire ass-kissing at every turn.
This pandering to prejudice isn't news, back in the runp to the 2011 election The Star ran an excellent piece on the same issue. This time, a fivedays ago, The Star published: 'Toronto Star's View: Can Stephen Harper stoop any lower on the niqab?' They get A+ for consistency IMO.
The Star Star endorsed Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau for prime minister and again lashed out at Harper’s shameless pandering to anti-Muslim prejudice. At the same time The Star lauded “the principled stance taken by Trudeau they noted that “New Democratic Leader Tom Mulcair, too, has distinguished himself by boldly denouncing Harper’s “dangerous game.”” Pointing out that that the NDP party’s strength are in Quebec where anti-niqab sentiment runs deeper than elsewhere, the Star said: “Mulcair’s decency is a badge of honour.”