Jagmeet Singh: All You Need To Know About The Sikh Politician Who Can Be Canada's Next PM
Jagmeet Singh, the 38-year-old Canadian Sikh lawyer has been in news since yesterday as he became the first non-white politician to head a major political party in Canada. A few days back, a video had surfaced in which a white woman was shouting at Jagmeet and he was trying to pacify her by keeping himself calm. Many people liked that video and hailed the Sikh’s calm approach.
But who’s Jagmeet Singh and why is he getting all the eyeballs. Singh was elected the leader of the country’s New Democratic Party (NDP) to lead it into the 2019 election against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals which means that if his party wins, he can be the first non-white Prime Minister of Canada.
Here are a few things about Jagmeet Singh.
Born in Canada
Unlike the majority of the Sikh politicians in Canada who travelled to Canada from India, Jagmeet is a Canada born Sikh. Singh was born in 1979 in Scarborough, Ontario, to immigrant parents from Punjab.
Studied Biology and Law
Singh studied biology and in 2001 obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the University of Western Ontario. Singh also has a Bachelor degree in Laws from York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School in 2005.
Politics began at law school
For Singh, politics began at law school when he campaigned against the rise in tuition fees. He was called to the bar in 2006, where he began working as a criminal defence lawyer in the Greater Toronto Area.
He was often bullied for his brown skin and long hair
Singh had also faced his share of problems as at several occasions he was bullied and targeted for “funny sounding name, brown skin, and long hair”.
“I also realized I wasn’t alone. I saw kids around me — kids no less capable, no less worthy of respect and dignity—who were not in a position to follow their dreams, simply because their families couldn’t afford it. That struck me as incredibly unfair,” his statement on his website states.
He spent years defends refugees and immigrants
Jagmeet entered politics in 2001 and ever since, he has been defending the rights of refugees and immigrants. In 2011, he ran in the election as an MPP with the NDP in Bramalea-Gore-Malton, Ontario. He has also served as the Deputy Leader of the Ontario NDP.
When Singh got global attention
In September this year, Singh gained global attention after a video from his campaign event, ‘Jagmeet and Greet’, went viral on social media where he was seen trying to calm an outraged woman who was heckling him about Muslim Brotherhood and Sharia law.
Singh ignored the racial comments hurled at him and tried to diffuse the situation saying, “We are not going to be intimidated by hatred.” He countered the woman with his campaign motto of ‘love and courage’.
How suit and turban are part of his political brand
In an interview with American magazine GQ in February this year, Singh elaborated on how his personal style — his colourful turbans and three-piece suits are part of his political brand.
How he became leader of the party
Singh won the first ballot victory over three other candidates by received 53.6 percent votes on Monday. He’s someone who has been touted by supporters as someone who can bring new life to NDP which has been struggling since the demise of its former leader Jack Layton in 2011.
After the victory, Singh tweeted, “Thank you, New Democrats. The run for Prime Minister begins now,” officially launching his campaign “to be the next Prime Minister of Canada.”