Sikh principles Jagmeet Singh should use to modernize our democracy

Include all Canadians (Sarbat da Bhala): Re-enfranchise non-resident Canadians....

Jagmeet Singh, newly elected leader of the federal New Democratic Party, stirred the hearts of Canadians and people worldwide with his grown-up handling of a rabidly ignorant heckler at a political meeting. The attorney-turned-politician showed more than one million worldwide viewers how to deal with the truly deplorable. Some say the heckler was practising "protection of Canadian values," which for them includes opposing motion M-103, a motion to condemn Islamophobia. But many Canadians who saw the clip recognized a Sikh tenet in action: Sarbat da Bhala (goodwill to all).

Some have pointed out the brown-skinned, turbaned Sikh-Canadian had no choice but to deal with the in-your-face harassment in a forgiving manner. Such is the lot of minorities everywhere. Visible or invisible, we are required to know the majority culture just for survival; the majority, whether English or French in origin, isn't required to know much about us. Or even think about us.

Which explains why to many Canadians, Jagmeet Singh is a first, an aberration. However, Mr. Singh stands on the shoulders of previous Indo-Canadian politicians: Hardial Bains, Raj Pannu, Ujjal Dosanjh and the many Sikh men and women who participate daily at the local level.

I urge Mr. Singh to take a few positions inspired by Sikh principles to modernize Canadian democracy: 

Add a Comment