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Jagmeet Singh: The Controversial Sikh Canadian Politician

Jagmeet Singh

Jagmeet Singh is an outspoken left wing politician in Canada. When he started his political career, he wasn’t very well known outside his home state. However, Jagmeet Singh’s star has risen and he is one of the most well known politicians in Canada today.

Here Are Some Interesting Tidbits About Jagmeet Singh

Jagmeet Singh’s parents are from Punjab

Jagmeet Singh (right) with his parents

Jagmeet Singh, 38, was born in the suburbs of Toronto to parents who emigrated from Punjab, India. If he likes to repeat in political rallies that he comes from a family of farmers and therefore understands the reality of the rural world, his experience is much more anchored in Canadian urbanity. 

Jagmeet Singh’s parents had a liberal arts education

It was his parents who came from generations of farmers. They pursued liberal studies in Canada. Jagmeet’s father is a psychiatrist and his mother is a teacher. Jagmeet earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Western University and graduated from Osgoode Law School. During his studies, he campaigned against rising tuition fees in Ontario.

Jagmeet Singh started his career as a lawyer

Once called to the Bar in 2006, Jagmeet Singh began working as a defense lawyer specializing in criminal law, first at the Toronto firm Pinkofskys, then on his own. It was at this time that he campaigned against random identity checks (carding) practiced in Ontario. 

This police practice consists of stopping anyone on the public highway to force them to identify themselves and answer questions. Carding has been criticized in Ontario because it tends to disproportionately target Black and other people of color. Mr. Singh claims to have been addressed in this way on around ten occasions.

Jagmeet Singh is multi-lingual

Jagmeet Singh speaks English, Punjabi, and French. He says he decided to learn the language of Molière when he realized that Quebecers were experiencing what his parents had experienced in their native India: a lack of respect for their language having nourished “a feeling of shame”. In a campaign video for Quebec, he explained that he had obtained a cassette of Roch Voisine to listen to. He had to remove the video from his website this summer after the Acadian singer denounced the use of his work for political purposes.

Jagmeet Singh started his political career in 2011 

Jagmeet Singh took his first steps in politics in 2011, when he tried to be elected to the House of Commons in the constituency of Bramalea-Gore-Malton, then held since 1993 by the Liberal Gurbax Malhi, also a Sikh – the constituency is home to Canada’s largest Indian community. 

He bit the dust, but came only 539 votes behind the winner, the Sikh conservative Bal Gosal, thereby tripling the previous score of the NDP. In the fall of the same year, he ran in the same riding in the provincial election even though the Ontario NDP historically recorded poor results there. This time he won.

Jagmeet Singh campaigned for Sikhs to be exempted from wearing helmets

At Queen’s Park, he campaigned against carding. He also repeatedly tabled a bill to exempt his fellow Sikhs from the obligation to wear a helmet on a motorcycle. He prefers cycling. He prides himself on getting on his Brompton folding bike “when he’s traveling around the country” and pedaling to work. 

Jagmeet Singh is a martial artist

He practices several martial arts, including Brazilian jiu jitsu. The sometimes difficult acceptance of one’s difference is at the origin of this hobby, he maintains on his website. “I had to learn to defend myself, hence my long-standing interest in martial arts.

Jagmeet Singh is a fan of Jack Layton

Jagmeet Singh wanted to surf on the message of hope left by Jack Layton before dying. His campaign theme reflected this: “Heart and Courage”. It was this slogan ( “love and courage” in English) that he repeated over and over to the lady who disrupted one of his public events by shouting a few centimeters from his face that he wanted to impose sharia law in Canada.

Jagmeet Singh faced controversy at the start of his campaign

At the start of the leadership race, Jagmeet Singh was accused by his opponents of transgressing NDP ideology by saying he wanted to survey activists in British Columbia and Alberta before deciding on the Kinder Morgan pipeline. A week later, he fell into line by opposing it, as well as the Energy East project.

Jagmeet Singh has worked towards the betterment of senior citizens

Mr. Singh’s flagship promise consists of “Canadian protection for seniors”, the creation of a new benefit for seniors merging four programs, including Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement. Everything would be modulated according to the taxpayer’s income, which Charlie Angus sharply criticized. The universality of OAS is part of New Democratic orthodoxy.

Jagmeet Singh believes in taxing the rich

Like his opponents in the race, Jagmeet Singh proposed raising taxes on the richest. The tax rate would increase to 35% for income of $350,000 and to 37% for income of $500,000 or more. The capital gains inclusion rate would increase from 50% to 75%. A 40% estate tax would be applied to assets over $4 million. The corporate tax rate would be increased from 15% to 19.5%. 

On the other hand, unlike Guy Caron and Niki Ashton, he did not propose an annual tax on accumulated wealth. For all these reasons, it is said that he was the most centrist candidate in the race.

Jagmeet Singh is pro-LGBT

As a good New Democrat, Jagmeet Singh campaigned for a proportional electoral system, for the fight against climate change and the defense of the rights of LGBT people. He proposed an end to the ban on blood donation by sexually active gays. However, he stood out by proposing that the possession of all drugs be decriminalized.

Jagmeet Singh has unwavering Sikh diaspora support

During the campaign, Jagmeet Singh raised a large amount of funds, with a sum as high as $619,000. Note that almost a third of this amount — $179,128 — came from the city of Brampton, where he was elected. The Brampton region has five ridings, currently all represented by Justin Trudeau’s MPs. Similarly, 20% of all funds raised by Mr. Singh came from people called Singh or Kaur, the name given to Sikh men and women.

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