Singh misreads Canadian acceptance.

Ontario MPP Jagmeet Singh is heading for some disappointment. It would really be better if he faced it this weekend instead of in the next federal election. As the obvious frontrunner in the announcement this weekend of the first vote in the New Democratic Party leadership race, it would be better if he did not win.

As much as Singh might believe in the easy acceptance by Canadians of Sikhs in their society, they are not about to make a turbaned Sikh politician prime minister.

And there is very little or no bigotry involved. Canadians would also not be likely to vote for a Muslim woman in a burka, nor a Jewish Hasidic, nor a Mennonite prepared to take horse and buggy to Ottawa, nor an ordained Catholic priest in vestments, nor an aboriginal holy person in tribal costume. You simply cannot put any of the values attributed to those various religious statements ahead of the neutrality of the office of prime minister. The prime minister represents everybody.

Canadians want to be very accepting, tolerant and welcoming people. They take pride in the mix of their society, yet do not intermix very much in social relations.

It always amused me that back in the days when I looked after media relations for the Liberal Party in Toronto that I would routinely look after contacting the ethnic media for meet-and-greets with party leaders. Yet, when it came to appointing someone to a paid position, it had to be someone with a more ethnic-sounding name.

It is the ethnic strength of the constant growth and change in Canada that is helping to destroy the nature of our political parties. There is nothing new to the wholesale enrolling of an ethnic group to support this or that cause or this or that politician. It has served to both build and destroy causes and people.

Patrick Brown swamped the Progressive Conservative membership in Ontario by signing up and paying for Hindu, Sikh and Muslim groups from the Indian sub-continent. Jagmeet Singh did not even have to pay for the Sikh communities across Canada who delighted in buying more than 40,000 New Democratic memberships. All that means is that, if he is leader of the New Democrats, he will do well in a couple ridings in Montreal, in the greater Toronto area and around Vancouver in B.C. He needs to realize that all he can win is a mirage.

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