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

RCMP hunt for suspect in West Kelowna bank robbery

Suspect used a note and fled bank Saturday with an undisclosed amount of cash

Community Leader Awards: Shelley Pacholok

The Kelowna Capital News honours those who give back in the community

International Arts Festival returns to Kelowna

Living Things is a month-long festival with live performances by artists from around the world

Legion bell prank hits sour note

Anger erupts after Summerland Legion member removes bell from Peachland Legion

Kelowna Art Gallery members’ exhibition offers variety of media

Encounters will be held from Dec. 2 to Feb. 3

Vehicle with dog inside stolen from Oliver gas station

A black Honda CRV was stolen from the Oliver Chevron early Sunday morning

Team Canada loses 5-2 over the Czech Republic at World Junior A Challenge

Vees’ Tychonick drops in one of Team Canada West’s pair of goals

Site C decision coming Monday

Premier John Horgan to announce fate of dam project at B.C. legislature

PIGS bring Pink Floyd sound to Kelowna

Victoria band pays tribute to iconic British band on Feb. 10 at Mary Irwin Theatre

Letter: Another flagger dies; when will you slow down?

You have all seen our signs, trucks and my favorite our cones. Why don’t you slow down?

Kelowna-developed technology to be unveiled at Summerhill

Kelowna winery and tech company introduces new technology for phone or tablet

California couple name daughter after Revelstoke

Revy Elle Atashroo was born on Nov. 27. Her name honours the town her parents loved exploring.

Most Read