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Jagmeet Singh fires back after receiving political criticism for being a practising Sikh

Last Updated Sep 20, 2017 at 10:18 am PDT

Jagmeet Singh at a press conference, announcing MP Nathan Cullen's support for Singh as leader of the federal NDP Sept. 20, 2017 (Photo via Twitter @cmaconthehill)

Singh responds to Bloc Quebecois leader attack on him for wearing a turban and kirpan

Martine Ouellet says Jagmeet Singh wearing turban, kirpan is a testament to the 'rise of the religious left'

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A high-profile MP from Northern BC is throwing his support behind Jagmeet Singh in the NDP leadership race. But some people are more focused on his religion than the endorsement from Nathan Cullen.

Quebec has long had a debate about religious symbols and clothing. Singh is being criticized by the leader of the Bloc Quebecois. This week, Martine Ouellet attacked him for wearing a turban and a kirpan as a practising Sikh, saying it’s a testament to the “rise of the religious left” and it doesn’t respect separation of church and state.

But Singh shot back today, saying he thinks Quebecers and Canadians are ready for a federal leader who wears a visible sign of their religion. “Absolutely. I think what people want to see is a leader that has a connection with people, that cares about the issues, that’s passionate about the issues.”

“They want to genuinely build a better Canada. A more inclusive Canada. A Canada’s that’s more just, that has universal social programs that lift us all up. These are the things that matter to people.”

This isn’t the first time Singh has been criticized over religion.

A protester interrupted a meet and greet event in Brampton, accusing him of supporting sharia law — even though Singh is a Sikh, not a Muslim. He responded by calling for love and courage.

Singh does not believe the debate around religion in Quebec will be a roadblock for his leadership or, should he win, a roadblock in the next election.

“The people of Quebec are more interested in the values. And the values that I have are the values of social democracy, progressive beliefs, standing up for the rights of all people, and that what makes me connect with the people of Quebec.”