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

Okanagan Regional Library introduces ASL story-time

The Rutland and Westbank locations will host the events

Kelowna-Lake Country Liberal MP acclaimed for his party’s nomination

Stephen Fuhr runs unopposed as the party’s standard-bearer for the next federal election

Kelowna Rockets ready to take off into regular season

The home opener kicks things off in Kamloops on Friday

Kelowna Fire Department to handle Vernon, OKIB dispatch

Five-year contract will net Kelowna more than $200,000 says fire chief

Two vehicle crash in West Kelowna

One person was treated for minor injures this morning following a collision

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

B.C. home to 1/3 of Canada’s overdose deaths in first 3 months of the year

There were 1,036 overdose deaths in the first three months of the year, with 94 per cent accidental

B.C. candidate moves from hospice care to council race

He beat terminal cancer twice and entered hospice when he decided to run for council.

Canadian tobacco exec pushes back against vaping health concerns

A warning from Interior Health about the unknown health risks of vaping is getting a partial rebuke

Ministry of Agriculture commits $300,000 to help B.C. farmers obtain land

B.C. Land Matching Program supports access to affordable farmland for young farmers

Canadian air force short 275 pilots

Attrition outpaces recruitment and training claims Air Force

Teacher suspended after physically shushing, saying ‘shut up’ to student

Grade 5 student reported feeling ‘confused and a little scared’

High spirits after first week of classes at Shuswap’s outdoor school

South Canoe school is taking student learning into the great outdoors

A B.C. society helps to reforest Crown land after wildfires

Forest Enhancement Society of BC focuses on wildfire mitigation and the reforestation

Most Read