Canadian Politician Making History

Jagmeet Singh after winning the federal NDP leadership.

For Jagmeet Singh, October 1st was a victorious day. The 38-year-old won the federal New Democratic Party leadership with only a single ballot and 35 266 votes, the third person to ever do so. Receiving 53.8%, of the total votes, a second ballot was unnecessary because only 50% of the votes are needed for a candidate to win. Signs pointed to the Sikh politician winning, as he fundraised 53% of the total money of all the runners. New voting members who signed up during the campaign helped Jagmeet Singh overcome Charlie Angus, Niki Ashton, and Guy Caron, who mainly received support from old members and collectively received 30 243 votes. It was a great success for the politician who is the first visible racial minority to lead a federal political party in Canada.

The journey to becoming the leader of the NDP was extensive. In 2011, Jagmeet Singh did not receive a seat in Parliament. However, later that year, he won the Bramalea-Gore-Malton riding in Ontario. He was reelected to this position in 2014. In 2015, he became the provincial NDP deputy leader. It was not until five months ago that Singh decided to run for the leader of the NDP. He spent months building his campaign, with the motto “love and courage”, which paid off when he won the position.

The Scarborough-born politician has lived the majority of his life in Ontario, although he spent his early childhood in Newfoundland and Labrador and some of his preadolescence in India. Because he had a love for protection as a child, when he began taekwondo and wrestling, becoming a defence lawyer and politician was sensible for Singh. Unfortunately, the catalyst for enrolling in taekwondo was bullying from his peers; he was harassed for having “a funny sounding name, brown skin, and long hair”. Now, he does not let discrimination impact him. When a woman yelled anti-Muslim comments - despite him being Sikh - while he was speaking to his supporters, he respectfully replied, “We don’t want to be intimidated by hate, we don’t want hatred to ruin a positive event … so let’s show people how to treat someone with love. We welcome you. We love you, we support you.”

The next challenge for successful Jagmeet Singh is the 2019 federal election.

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