Jagmeet Singh was on Sunday voted leader of Canada’s leftist New Democratic Party (NDP), becoming the first non-white to head a top political party in the country.The 38-year-old Sikh captured 53.6% of the vote and will go up against current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals in the federal election to be conducted in 2019.
“New Democrats, thank you. The run for Prime Minister starts now #LoveAndCourage,” Singh on Sunday tweeted.
Singh laid hold on a decisive victory over three competing candidates and will go to replace exiting leader Thomas Mulcair, who has headed the party since 2012.
Trudeau commended Singh on Twitter, writing “I earnestly anticipate speaking soon and working with you together for the benefit of Canadians.”
The Brown-skinned Indian Lawyer
Raised in Ontario and born to immigrants of Indian descent, the former criminal defense lawyer is well-known for his charisma and colorful turbans with a large allure to younger voters. A video from a campaign event called — “Jagmeet and Greet” — in September went viral after a woman interrupted Singh’s speech, charging him with attempt to put into practise Sharia Law in Canada and being “in talks and close affiliation with the Muslim Fellowship.” Singh, who is a Sikh, and not a Muslim, was applauded for his calm response.
“Growing up as a brown-skinned, turban wearing, bearded man, I’ve experienced things like this before. It’s not a problem; we can manage it,” he said. “There’s going to be difficulties we’re going to come across, and with what are we going to face them? Love and courage,” he shared with the audience.
Canada’s third largest party in parliament is the NDP and Singh were hyped as someone who could revive the party after 2015 where it lost 59 seats in the elections.
“To make some headway on these matters, to honestly make Canadians’ lives much better, we ought it to Canadians to build a sustainable and good government,” Mr. Singh stated in his acceptance speech. “We truly do owe it to them.”