05.24.2017 09:51 AM

The Washington Post: Jagmeet, Stock and Barney


Singh’s entry provides the ideological left with a convenient “out” for this discomfort — all the progressive policies of the prime minister but delivered by a more believable champion. The Trudeau counter-offensive isn’t particularly obvious either, given Singh supporters, and presumably Singh himself, will be on guard for hints of racial condescension in the PM’s criticisms. Nervousness will probably ensure the turban-wearing Singh is not asked any particularly tough questions about his apparently devout Sikh faith, though the facts that gay people cannot get married in Sikh temples and the faith preaches against abortion would seem like obvious ins. In 2000, Liberal Party adviser Warren Kinsella famously mocked the creationist beliefs of then-conservative leader Stockwell Day, an evangelical Christian, by waving a toy dinosaur and exclaiming, “ ’The Flintstones’ was not a documentary!” It’s impossible to imagine a contemporary Liberal teasing Singh about reincarnation or haircuts.


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    Pundits' Guide says:

    Surprised to see that byline cited favourably in this blog, but regardless, Mr. Singh explicitly declared himself pro-choice in his launch speech, if you consult it.

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      Warren says:

      Cited favourably? Only you, old friend. Him, I just quoted.

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    Charlie says:

    And why would anyone criticize Singh on the tenants of his faith? Is it so unfathomable that one could separate church and state within their own mind in order to be an effective leader?

    Consider for a moment the countless Democrats in the U.S. who identify with Catholicism or some form of organized Christianity and still believe a state should not control what a women does with her body or whom one should marry. Its possible that one could find guidance through whatever spirituality they deem without caring to impose it on others.

    (Side note: Jagmeet is every bit a lefty in his opinions, so one should be careful not to misattribute perceived culturally conservative characteristics of his community to his own beliefs.)

    Comparing Stock to Jagmeet is unbelievably disingenuous to the circumstances of both men. Day was a vocal and proud social conservative leading a party that routinely struggled with backward opinions on the rights of Canadians.

    One glaring omission is that not one Conservative nor Liberal would consider pushing Singh on the Sikh faith considering a) the Sikh community is a fairly important constituency in Ontario and BC for both parties, and b) it would be ludicrously hypocritical for a Liberal to disparage Singh.

    In an otherwise thoughtful article, this paragraph is meaningless.

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    Steve T says:

    I think the Washington Post identifies a truism in politics, but cites the wrong example.

    As others have noted, Singh shouldn’t be criticized for his Sikh beliefs, because he has specifically advocated in the other direction (re: pro choice). The Catholic church also is anti-abortion, so are we going to characterize every Catholic politician as being anti-abortion? It’s a ridiculous comparison.

    However, as a broader issue in politics, I agree that certain candidates are more insulated from criticism than others. Looking at our NDP situation here in Manitoba, it’s certainly beneficial that the front-runner (Wab Kinew) is aboriginal. Don’t get me wrong – he has a lot of other positive attributes – but all other things being equal, it is convenient that there are certain discussions for which his opponents will have to tread very carefully. Much more carefully than if the NDP leader was not aboriginal. Wab Kinew will not receive the level of robust criticism that some others might receive. That is not right, but we as a society continue to entrench this insulation.

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