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.

Just Posted

Mt. Begbie Brewing opens new tasting room

Following a record breaking year and a number of awards, Mt. Begbie Brewing opens a new tasting room

BC Liberal leadership hopeful Michael Lee stops in Revelstoke

Lee’s visit comes less than a week before the BC Liberal’s final leadership debate

Accused Shuswap drug smuggler pleads not guilty in U.S. court

Colin Martin continues to fight allegations relating to cross-border drug smuggling operation

Interior Health managers voice discontent

Negative comments about work culture aimed at CEO Chris Mazurkewich.

Okanagan losing battle to preserve wetlands

Political will called for to create and enforce mitigation standards

Video: Bulky bobcat goes for a stroll

Bob Lindley shared a video of a sneaky bobcat strolling through his yard in Vernon.

B.C. woman who forged husband’s will gets house arrest

Princeton Judge says Odelle Simmons did not benefit from her crime

Snow warning in effect for the Coquihalla

A snowfall warning is in effect from Hope to Merritt as slush and snow is expected on highways this weekend

Women’s movement has come a long way since march on Washington: Activists

Vancouver one of several cities hosting event on anniversary of historic Women’s March on Washington

Liberals’ 2-year infrastructure plan set to take 5: documents

Government says 793 projects totalling $1.8 billion in federal funds have been granted extensions

Workers shouldn’t be used as ‘pawns’ in minimum wage fight: Wynne

Comments from Kathleen Wynne after demonstrators rallied outside Tim Hortons locations across Canada

John ‘Chick’ Webster, believed to be oldest living former NHL player, dies

Webster died Thursday at his home in Mattawa, Ont., where he had resided since 1969

World’s fastest log car made in B.C. sells for $350,000 US

Cedar Rocket auctioned off three times at Barrett-Jackson Co., netting $350,000 US for veterans

Bad timing: Shutdown spoils Trump’s one-year festivities

Trump spends day trying to hash out a deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

Most Read