Have you seen the recent video of NDP leadership hopeful Jagmeet Singh responding to a racist heckler?
The video I’m referring to has gone viral. In it, Jagmeet is confronted by a very loud and clearly agitated woman demonstrator at a rally of his supporters in Brampton — one of the rallies he calls “JagMeet & Greet”. She walks right up to him and begins to yell at him about his support for sharia (Islamic) law and the Muslim Brotherhood. The irony is that Jagmeet Singh is a practising Sikh, not a Muslim.
Jagmeet could have responded with anger or defensiveness. Instead, he pulled a page from the playbook of Mahatma Gandhi (by the way, the title of this blog is a quote from Gandhi). Jagmeet calmly diffused the situation. Remarkably, he defended her rights to express her opinion, pointing out that “we don’t want hatred to ruin a positive event”, and urging the audience to show “love and courage”, which is his campaign theme.
It’s too early to tell but it is quite possible that this incident may become a galvanizing point in the NDP leadership campaign. It looks like Jagmeet has already signed up more new NDP members than any of his other three competitors, and he has received the most top NDP leadership endorsements.
Jagmeet Singh offers a level of enthusiasm and youthfulness not present in the other candidates. His response to the heckler is indicative of a different type of leader — one who has the courage to give voice to ideas we need more of, and the ability to squelch negativity with positivity. I might add this is totally the opposite of what we see south of the border.
I, for one, will be very excited if the NDP elect Jagmeet Singh as their new leader.