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Election

Singh’s Atwater Market encounter became about comforting the comfortable

By Erica Ifill and Amy Kishek      

What we see in the Atwater Market incident is a greater concern for white comfort and forgiveness than for Jagmeet Singh and candidates and Canadians like him.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh boards his campaign bus in Ottawa on Oct. 6. There is an undue expectation imposed on people of colour to show grace and forgiveness without being asked, and to be polite when faced with racism, big and small, write Erica Ifill and Amy Kishek. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

OTTAWA—The tenor of this election has abruptly and sharply turned towards race, and with every incident, we choose to stick our heads in the sand or “move on.” The most recent one being a white man—who CBC’s The National referred to as “a concerned voter”—who took it upon himself to approach NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh outside a Montreal market and tell him that he would do better in the election if he “looked more Canadian” and advised him to “cut off” his turban to appeal to more (white) voters.

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