Well, while I don't agree with the government trampling on civil liberties, I'm probably less sympathetic to the wearing of the niqab. I mean, I don't feel particularly safe in the presence of anyone hiding their face, be it someone in a balaclava an Antifa rioter or a Black Block rep or a KKK man. So, I'm a little on the fence on this one.
With regarding the actual covering of a face. On the one hand, one can argue that wearing a motorcycle helmet will cover your face. We know this but it's not the sole purpose. It's also used for safety and it had saved lives. Or one could argue that you could wear fancy dress and cover your face which is true but but there's a stark difference. You could dress up as a clown like Bill Murray in Quick Change, rob a bank or commit some crime but during the getaway it may be hard not stand out like a clown (pardon the pun), unless there was a clown convention nearby or something.
The niqab is a bit different. It's more comparable to a balaclava in my opinion because balaclavas are mostly to obscure ones face mostly the point of recognition. Same with the niqab. Balaclava also provides warmth with full face coverage and I'm sure the niqab probably does but to a lesser extent. Another difference is the protection of religion(s) by governments. Religious organizations exist in U.S. tax-free. My understanding is that Montreal taxes religious organizations now which I think is a step in the right direction. My point is there always seemed to be this protection against any scrutiny for churches and religious organizations.
The description of this law Quebec brought in is: An act to foster adherence to State religious neutrality and, in particular, to provide a framework for requests for accommodations on religious grounds in certain bodies.
Wanting to foster religious neutrality by banning the niqab kind of seems counter-intuitive in a sense. But I get it. Certain schools I know of banned football jerseys due to the tribalism and subsequent arguments and fighting caused by students when wearing jerseys in class.
Maybe if it was a regular anti-masking law that came in and that the niqab fell under that, it might be an easier pill to swallow. But then I would see more resistance to that down the line as people will fight for religious freedoms etc. This law is a bit more direct and perhaps honest in it's intentions than say a blanket anti-masking law.
Also, without this law, I could see someone wanting to test the law by setting up a new "religion" like the trolls of Kekistan or the Pastafarians and making a similar outfit for wear in public and then claiming protection under some religious rights.
It's a real interesting one. I don't think I'm for or against it in any strong way. I'm not religious, nor do I think religion should have some right to whatever your supernatural ruler God does or what your prophet prophesizes. The little libertarian in me thinks the government shouldn't really dictate everything you do in your life either. So there's a conflict in my principles there.