Jagmeet Singh’s Deep Well of Optimism

Someday, he would like to have, “as many children as possible” calling his partner — a fashion designer with a degree in...

The newly elected leader of Canada’s NDP party enters Alex Trebek Alumni Hall at the energetic centre of a happy, bustling group. Known for his fashion prowess, he has chosen a well-fitted suit, bright pink turban and turtleneck sweater, “because I am on campus today.”

Hosted by the Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy at the University of Ottawa, Jagmeet Singh is here today to speak and engage with the students of the nonpartisan platform iVote-jeVote.

Politics aside, it is hard to dispute the refreshing positivity that Mr. Singh has unleashed on Canada. At only 38, he is the first person of colour to lead a major party, winning on the first ballot using the campaign slogan, “With Love & Courage”.

His authenticity is undeniable, supported by personal experiences with issues close to his party’s heart.

Born in Scarborough, Singh spent his childhood first in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador before the family settled in Windsor, Ontario. A passion for activism and a legal career led to politics, with Singh elected as MPP for Bramalea-Gore-Malton in 2011, recently serving as Deputy Leader of the Ontario NDP.

Today he speaks of building a more inclusive Canada, where diversity is celebrated, not merely tolerated; future campaign goals are founded on inspiration instead of opposition; and the importance is placed on building a sustainable economy, while protecting the environment.

Youthful, hip and a master of social media, there is no doubt that young voters — like the packed crowd in attendance — are taking notice.

Taking a break to chat with iPolitics, Singh is focused yet relaxed, humble but undeniably charismatic.

Sitting quietly is rare for Singh these days, as he is currently touring Canada to engage with as many Canadians as possible.

Able to function with zero sleep, but currently averaging six hours a night, Singh credits “Stamina and an incredibly deep well of optimism” for keeping him going.

Vices for this vegetarian are few, with the exception of sugar. “I love all baked treats like cookies, fudge, doughnuts and brownies.”

His briefcase holds a fancy camera, headphones, laptop, fountain pen and copy of “The Mountain Between Us” by Charles Martin.

Survival requires time to laugh, have fun and play. Cooking, reading, swimming and surfing are a few favourite pastimes along with dancing, music and DJing, when called upon at parties.

With biking a preferred form of transportation, Singh tries