Majority of Canadians open to a Sikh Prime Minister, but three-in-ten aren’t

Recent survey suggests three-in-ten Canadians would not vote for a Sikh leader

While a majority of Canadians say they don’t care about a politician being a visible minority when voting for the country’s leader, a new Angus Reid poll suggests about three-in-ten voters also say being a practising Sikh might hurt new NDP leader Jagmeet Singh’s chances in an election.

The study looked to gauge how Canadians feel when it comes to voting for the new federal NDP leader based on his religion and visible characteristics as a Sikh man.

Singh won the federal New Democratic Party leadership in September, becoming the first visible minority to lead a major Canadian political party. He won without holding a seat in the House.

On voting for a visibly looking Sikh man

Of about 1,400 people surveyed, seven-in-ten Canadians out of B.C., Alberta and Ontario responded to the poll saying they themselves would consider voting for a national party leader who wears a turban and carries a kirpan.

Respondants out of Quebec showed the greatest hesitancy in voting for a Sikh man, with about half saying they wouldn’t vote for such a person, regardless of their policies.

READ MORE: Jagmeet Singh chosen as new leader of federal NDP

READ MORE: MP Nathan Cullen endorses Singh in NDP bid

Broken down by age, almost 40 per cent of those aged 55 and older said they couldn’t support such a leadership, as well as 40 per cent of Conservative Party supporters.

The survey also touched on perceptions Canadians as a whole feel towards a Sikh prime minister.

Asked to think about how their close friends and family members would vote, half said either “most” or “some” of the people in their lives wouldn’t favour a visible minority leader. When asked about “society as a whole,” respondents said they suspect 80 per cent would not show their support in the voting booth.

On if religion will get in the way for voters

Visible aspects aside, when asked if Singh’s religion will hurt the NDP’s electoral chances, 54 per cent of respondents said it would.

The pushback was found to be strongest in Quebec, where debates over public officials wearing religious symbols and accommodating religious minorities are part of both recent history and an ongoing political process.

Two-thirds of that province agree with the statement about Singh’s religion hurting his party’s electoral standing. Atlantic Canada is the only other region where more than 50 per cent agree.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Compost separation coming to all Abbotsford apartments and businesses

Rules require separate waste and compost collection, but city must still buy containers for parks

Former Abbotsford man pleads guilty to 2018 assault in Ontario of man with autism

Parmvir Chahil, along with Jaspaul Uppal, to be sentenced in June for aggravated assault

Abbotsford Hawks Bantam C1 win in Phoenix

Hawks win Bantam division at 19th annual Presidents’ Day Invitational

Fraser Valley couple wins $500K after finding scratch-and-win while moving

  • Robert Walters and Lois Gueret of Agassiz win half a million from Scratch & Win ticket

High-risk sex offender living in Chilliwack back in court

Former mayor and residents wanted James Conway gone from residential neighbourhood two years ago

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

Toffoli scores OT winner as Canucks beat Habs 4-3

Demko makes 37 saves for Vancouver

Private clinics would harm ‘ordinary’ people using public system in B.C.: lawyer

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in 2018 that the government would begin to fine doctors $10,000

B.C. terminates contract with hospice society refusing assisted death

Delta Hospice Society loses hospital service fund of $1.5 million

Child in hospital following fatal crash that killed father, sibling on B.C. highway

The single vehicle crash occured near Kamloops on Highway 5A

‘Die!’: Vernon councillor mailed death threat

This story contains information that might be sensitive to some readers

B.C. landlord can’t serve eviction notice because tenant is in jail

Homeowner baffled at arbitrator decision based on notice of hearing not being served properly

Hidden message connects Castlegar homeowners decades apart

The Rodgers family was surprised when a message fell out of the walls as they were renovating

Most Read