Jagmeet Singh asked to cut turban off in Montreal
At Montreal’s Atwater Market ahead of the TVA French-language debate, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh was confronted by a man who asked him to “cut your turban off”. After a press availability with reporters earlier in the morning, Singh was on a walk through the open-air market with wife Gurkiran Kaur Sidhu around noon accompanied by the media.
He approached and shared greetings. After a brief exchange, the man leaned in to speak closer to Singh and said, “You know what?” Singh asked, “What’s that?” The man said, “You should really cut your turban off and you (inaudible)… look like a Canadian.” Singh responded with utmost grace when he said, “I think Canadians look like all sorts of people. That’s the beauty of Canada.” Not in the mood to back down, the man said, “In Rome, you do as the Romans do.”
Singh however, had the last word when he said, “This is Canada. You can do whatever you like.” In an earlier interview, Singh had said, “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.”
A practising Sikh, Singh wears a turban as a sign of his faith and is no stranger to discrimination and his handling of the issue is worth commending. The NDP leader is the first member of a visible minority to lead one of the major federal parties in an election campaign.