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Sikh-Canadian NDP leader Jagmeet faces turban test

For New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh to survive in that position after the federal elections in October, he will need to improve or at least match the party’s tally of seats in the House of Commons in 2015 - 44. To achieve the figure, the NDP will need to perform well in the Francophone province of Quebec, which gave it its largest contingent of 16 MPs, and even propelled the NDP to principal Opposition status in 2011.

But Singh faces headwinds in the province which recently passed a controversial ‘secularism law’ that bars those wearing a visible symbol of faith like a turban or hijab from several senior government jobs.

As a turban-sporting Sikh, that is a challenge for Singh, and he may have decided to face it head on. As the NDP campaign debuted its national advertisements, the one in French, focused on Quebec, shows Singh with his hair open and then tying a yellow turban. “Like you, I’m proud of my identity,” he says in the spot, referring to the Francophone nature of the province. It comes with the slogan On se bat pour vous, or in English, We fight for you, while the party’s national line is In It For You.

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