TORONTO — A political science professor says a racist heckler that interrupted a campaign rally for NDP leadership hopeful Jagmeet Singh is an example of the discrimination that deters minorities from politics.
A video posted on YouTube of Singh’s campaign event in Brampton, Ont., earlier this week shows a woman interrupting his speech and accusing him of supporting Shariah law and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Singh, who is Sikh, responds to the woman saying he supports and loves her, and that he won’t be intimidated by hate.
Erin Tolley, an associate professor at the University of Toronto, says it’s a reminder that although Canada promotes multiculturalism, racist views are still prevalent.
Tolley says studies have shown about 30 per cent of Canadians hold racist opinions and for candidates who are minorities, it can give them pause about whether they want to enter or continue in politics.
She adds that if Singh is voted NDP leader this October, he will be the first federal leader of colour selected by party members in Canada, which given the country’s history of multiculturalism, she says is long overdue.