The federal NDP has emailed party supporters and others the reaction of party leader Jagmeet Singh to the recent controversy in the media about him.
The email reads:
YOU have no doubt read reports in the media about events I have attended and spoken at and I wanted to take the time to write to you directly on what’s being reported.
As you’ve heard me say publicly many times, I condemn all acts of terrorism in every part of the world, regardless of who the perpetrators are or who the victims are. Terrorism is perpetrated by individuals and cannot be blamed on any one religion, be it Sikhism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, or Christianity. Terrorism should never be seen as a way to advance the cause of any one group. It only leads to more suffering, more pain and death.
Like many other activists in our party, I have been an advocate for peace and human rights in Canada and around the globe. These issues are at the core of our belief system as New Democrats.
We are all driven by the fundamental belief that inequality is wrong and that we must work to end injustice in all its forms. That means that we stand up against human rights abuses. But it also means that we fight to end poverty, to fix a tax system that unfairly benefits the wealthy and well-connected, that we demand affordable housing, childcare, pharmacare, and so much more. That is what I have been hearing from you as I travel across the country. And that is what I have been doing from day one as Leader.
As with many of you, my commitment to human rights activism has a personal origin. Part of my work as a human rights activist over the years has been in the Sikh community in Canada, drawing on my own journey to work towards peace and reconciliation. When I first learned about the persecution that my parents and their loved ones suffered simply for being Sikh, I reacted with both sadness and anger. I learned that in the not-so-distant past, my relatives, along with many who share the same spirituality, were systematically persecuted. They were targeted. They were attacked. Thousands were slaughtered simply because they were different.
Every Sikh person I know – in Canada, and those I’ve met in other countries – lost family members or friends during those years. That pain is still very real and has been passed on to children and grandchildren.
Intergenerational trauma is complex. Our answer to it must be thoughtful and compassionate. This is true in the Sikh community, but also in so many other communities that have suffered persecution and violence. In Canada, we have a special responsibility to address this trauma in the Indigenous community, where the legacy of colonialism and residential schools continues to do real harm today.
I have always been, and will continue to be committed to dialogue with those who’ve experienced such trauma, so that we can move forward together, toward peace and reconciliation.
In my own journey I learned to work through the pain, anger, and sadness I felt, and I worked with others to find solutions. I chose to embrace my identity and work harder to stand up for human rights, and to prevent the voices of the marginalized from being silenced. And I saw that building a more inclusive Canada, where no one is faced with unaffordable housing, skyrocketing prescription drug prices, or the precarity of unstable work, is the best way to ensure a better future for all.
I shared the lessons I learned from my journey in a piece published in the Globe and Mail – you can read it here.
Like you, I am focused on building a stronger Canada, a country where we tackle growing inequality, where we unlock the full potential of our citizens, and where no one is left behind. Together, we can make it happen.
With love and courage,