Ontario legislature bans wearing of keffiyehs; Ford wants decision reversed

TORONTO — Ontario Premier Doug Ford is calling for a reversal of a ban on keffiyehs in the legislature.

Ford says the decision was made by Speaker Ted Arnott alone and "needlessly divides" the people of Ontario.

Arnott says in a statement that wearing the Arab headdress in the house at this moment in time is intended to make a political point. He adds that the Ontario legislature has long tried to restrict wearing any clothing or item attempting to make an overtly political statement.

A keffiyeh is a black-and-white checkered scarf typically worn in Arab cultures that has come to symbolize solidarity with Palestinians.

Opposition NDP Leader Marit Stiles wrote to Arnott in a letter dated April 12 to express disappointment in the move.

Ontario Liberal Leader Bonnie Crombie also called on the Speaker to reverse the ban, issuing a statement that says Ontario is home to a diverse group of people from so many backgrounds.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 17, 2024.

The Canadian Press