NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh responded with poise Wednesday to a man’s unsolicited advice to “cut off” his turban to look “like a Canadian.”
“I think Canadians look like all sorts of people,” Singh told the man while shopping in Montreal’s Atwater Market. “That’s the beauty of Canada.”
When the man responded with the adage that, “in Rome, you do as the Romans do,” Singh politely replied: “But this is Canada, you can do whatever you like.”
The moment was captured on camera by CBC News. At the end of the brief clip, the man can be heard saying: “I hope you win.”
Watch the clip from “Power & Politics”:
Singh, a practicing Sikh, is the first non-white leader of a major federal party in Canada’s history.
Vancouver Liberal candidate Harjit Sajjan tweeted Wednesday that comments such as those in the clip have no place in society.
“No matter your religion, ethnicity, or cultural background, we are all Canadians,” he said.
Turban or yarmulke, cross or crescent. No matter your religion, ethnicity, or cultural background, we are all Canadians. Comments like these have no place in today's society. All Canadians need to come together to strengthen our multiculturalism. #DiversityIsOurStrengthhttps://t.co/iSHeTYJjxC— Harjit Sajjan (@HarjitSajjan) October 2, 2019
The exchange came hours before a French-language debate in Montreal, hosted by the TVA television network, where the issue of religious symbols is expected to be discussed.
Quebec passed a controversial secularism law this summer that prohibits public servants in positions of authority, including police officers and teachers, from wearing religious symbols such as turbans and hijabs on the job. The restriction does not apply to people hired before Bill 21 passed into law in June.
Singh has said...