- While spending time at the Montreal Atwater Market before the TVA French-language debate, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh was the target of racist comments by a Montreal man.
- The man tells Singh to "cut off [his] turban" to "look more like a Canadian."
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is on the campaign trail in Montreal today, visiting Atwater Market and preparing for the French-language leader's debate on TVA. Singh was last in Montreal a couple of weeks ago, speaking on climate change at McGill University.
Today, however, Singh was the target of a Montreal man's racist conception of Canadian identity.
A video posted by CBC reporter Debra Arbec shows the man approach Singh at the Atwater Market, shake his hand, lean into his ear, and tell him that he should "cut his turban off so you could look like a Canadian."
Singh will be the first to tell you that he's no stranger to discrimination and this afternoon's incident in Atwater Market shows the NDP leader handle it with total grace.
In an earlier interview with MTL Blog, Singh said that "I know what it feels like to be told that I don't belong because of the way I look. I've got lots of great support but then I get some haters that say all sorts of negative things. I'm just one person and what I've experienced is a reflection of what a lot of people experience."
The video (seen below) shows the man confronting the NDP leader in Atwater Market. Surrounded by reporters, the man shows no hesitation in making his comments.
After his rude remarks, Singh responded by saying "I think Canadians look like all sorts of people."
Singh politely disagreed with the man, who insisted that "when in Rome," one should "do as the Romans do."
"This is Canada, so you can do whatever you like!" Singh said.
Singh told MTL Blog that he hopes that his "presence on the political landscape is a way to challenge these beliefs."
Highly critical of Quebec's Bill 21, Singh insists that he'll respect provincial jurisdiction if elected but calls the bill "divisive" and says that laws like this "hurt people."
Singh is the first-ever visible minority leader of a federal political party in Canada and also the first to wear a visible religious symbol.
As such, Singh firmly believes that his ability to break barriers can inspire Canadians from all walks of life to build a better society through love and understanding.
He'll have a tough election ahead of him if he wishes to break through in Quebec, historically been a Liberal stronghold. The NDP is currently polling at 10.7% across the province, in fourth place behind the Liberals, the Bloc Quebecois, and the Conservatives.
Stay tuned for more federal election coverage from MTL Blog!
The Canadian Federal election is happening on Monday, October 21st, 2019.
Voting for the first time? Want to know more about how our electoral system works? Check out this handy guide from our colleagues at Narcity Canada!