Model Minority

The hard questions facing the poster boy of Canadian multiculturalism

01 February 2018

“MY NAME IS JAGMEET SINGH, a member of provincial parliament for Bramalea-Gore-Malton. I want to thank all the organisers and all the volunteers who made this event possible.”

It was December 2013, and Jagmeet Singh was addressing an award ceremony taking place in Punjab, hosted by the Social Educational Welfare Association, in association with International Fateh Academy. A legislator in Ontario—Canada’s largest province—Jagmeet was receiving SEWA’s “Sikh of the Year” award, given to a Sikh who has “overcome challenges to restore the honour and pride of Sikhism and to spread its fragrance in the entire world.” He made it clear why he was, quite literally, an attractive choice.

“The largest daily newspaper in Canada, the Toronto Star, recognised me as one of 2012’s top 12 people or 12 personalities for the year,” Jagmeet said. “I was also recognised and put on the front page of the largest Canadian fashion magazine as Toronto’s most stylish.” The catalogue of accolades went on. “I was recognised in the list of Toronto’s 50 most influential people as one of the five rising stars on the verge of greatness,” he said, “and all of this I have to attribute to my principles and beliefs in Sikhi. I want to make sure that’s very clear.”

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    Daniel Block is an editor with Washington Monthly. He was formerly a Luce scholar working for The Caravan from 2017 to 2018.

    Keywords: Indira Gandhi Canada Indian Diaspora Sikhism Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale Khalistan 1984 Sikh pogrom Operation Blue Star Justin Trudeau