Singh's Campaign Gets Boost From Quebec MP Hélène Laverdière Endorsement
Jagmeet Singh, a Canadian legislator from Ontario who is currently seeking the federal NDP leadership who was denied an Indian visa in 2013, is accusing the Indian government of trying to undermine his campaign to become the next head of the New Democratic Party. Singh told national Canadian daily The Globe and Mail that his supporters had informed him “that figures with links to the Indian high commission in Ottawa” were trying to use their influence to prevent members of the community from contributing to his campaign or backing him.
By DESIBUZZCanada Staff With News Files
VANCOUVER – Well regarded and ambitious Sikh-Canadian politician Jagmeet Singh, who was denied an Indian visa three years ago, is accusing the Indian government may be attempting to undermine his campaign to become the next leader of Canada’s New Democratic Party (NDP).
Singh, who is currently seeking the federal NDP leadership, has emerged as a viable candidate for the leadership of the national party.
Singh told national Canadian daily The Globe and Mail that his supporters had informed him “that figures with links to the Indian high commission in Ottawa” were trying to use their influence to prevent members of the community from contributing to his campaign or backing him.
He made a similar statement to the Vancouver weekly, The Georgia Straight, that members of the community were “often discouraged from participating in his fundraising events”. That article said Singh noted that “some people who had earlier shown interest in donating money to his campaign later changed their minds after receiving some kind of pressure”.
It quoted him as saying: “I am still trying to get as many witnesses as I can to prove this so that an appropriate action can be taken.”
Singh, a member of the Ontario Provincial Parliament, was denied a visa to travel to India in late 2013. He also introduced a motion in the Ontario Assembly in 2016 for the 1984 massacre of Sikhs in India to be termed “genocide”.
While that motion failed, a year later, a similar motion was successfully moved by a member of the ruling Liberal Party of Ontario and Singh was critical of India and its government during the debate that ensued.
He has made his views on India apparent during the campaign as well. In an official statement issued on the anniversary of Operation Bluestar this year, he stated this was the day when “the government of India initiated a genocidal campaign against the Sikh minority”.
That statement went on to add, “The Indian military killed thousands of innocent people in just one day. This genocide continued for the next twenty years. Across Punjab, Sikh youth disappeared, torture was rampant, and Sikhs endured relentless state-sanctioned terrorism.”
He described that episode as an “attempt to extinguish the Sikh community”.
Despite such headaches, Singh's campaign is going great guns as on Monday, he picked up support from Laurier-Sainte-Marie MP Hélène Laverdière.
“I am very pleased today to announce that I am supporting Jagmeet Singh for leader of Canada’s NDP,” said Laverdière, “Jagmeet’s commitment to equality and justice and his empathetic, open, and attentive leadership style convinced me that he is the future of our party. I find his tremendous respect for others, for their opinions, and his willingness to listen inspiring. It’s reminiscent of Jack and is exactly the type of leadership we need for our party.”
As a Quebec Member of Parliament, Laverdière knows that Jagmeet will find support in Quebec. “While it is true that the relationship that we, in Québec, have with religion is complex and unique in Canada, I know that Jagmeet will be able to overcome any challenge that it presents as people get to know him and realize how much his values and vision resemble ours,” she says. “Jagmeet’s commitment to Québec’s values of social justice and equality will win over hearts and minds. His openness, his humility, and his desire to learn more about Québec are among the reasons I support him.”
“In 2015, our Party suffered from a certain shyness. Jagmeet offers an ambitious and positive vision for our future that will attract a lot of people to the NDP to help us form government in 2019,” she adds. “Jagmeet’s vision for Canada is a New Democratic vision for our country and I appreciate how his climate change plan has real teeth. He is an exceptional candidate and I am proud to support him.”
MP Laverdière believes that Jagmeet Singh embodies a new voice and a new image on the federal scene that will generate a lot of enthusiasm, especially among youth: “With him as our leader, the NDP will be able to renew itself and reach out to a new base of Canadians and create space for the next generation of organizers,” she concluded.