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Jagmeet Singh is Leading by Lifting

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Jagmeet Singh is Leading by Lifting

If you ask Jagmeet Singh, Leader of the New Democratic Party what his greatest influence is and he will tell you his mother. “She taught me that everyone is connected – we are all one and believes that if someone is suffering we are all suffering and it is our responsibility to take care of those around us. “If we lift up the people around us, we all rise” Get ready because this 38 year old lawyer plans on lifting every one up and leading not only the New Democratic Party but all of Canada.

Singh is now the head of the NDP party as of Oct. 1, 2017 and plans on making a run against Justin Trudeau in the next election. For the past two years he has been the deputy leader and MPP since 2011. He fights to get carding/street checks eliminated based solely on race or ethnicity, to end poverty, raise minimum wage, the environment and other causes that define him as a social activist.blank

So what is he like, I found him to seem genuine and charismatic. How does he spend down time to add balance to his crazy schedule – “he loves to dance, bike and study Brazilian jiu jitsu”? When asked the trickiest question of the night “who would win in a charity boxing match against Trudeau” he quickly and graciously replies “the charity”.

I had a chance to talk to him as he was in town for Brian Masse MP 15th anniversary party. Singh is personable and welcoming posing for selfies/pictures. He shares his most important policies and issues such as poverty and social justice as easily as his grooming tips such as using coconut oil for his beard.

He was born in Scarborough then his father relocated out East to attend medical school. They moved to Windsor when Singh was seven until 23 when he went to University of Western Ontario and Osgood Law School. It is at university that he began his path in social activism by fighting for lower tuition for students.

Although I am trying to stay non-partisan these days it was nice to recognize Masse a daunting, passionate Windsorite who has been fighting for our community and social justice issues for 15 years the same length as Joe Comartin former NDP MP. As former principal of a school with 110 languages representing over 70 countries Masse was a great support to the families struggling with immigration or poverty issues.

What will happen next election? With one in four children living in poverty, high unemployment and influx of new immigrants needing our support we need the strongest voices from every party fighting for us.

Singh is the first visible minority to hold permanent party leadership will he “go the distance” and win the election? It’s shaping up to be quite the fight. As his mentor Jack Layton once told Singh “don’t let them tell you it can’t be done”

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Sherrilynn Colley-Vegh
Sherrilynn Colley-Vegh is an award winning leadership consultant and former Director of Leadership Windsor/Essex, Principal, Chief Communications Officer and business owner with over 30 years of experience in education, administration, mentoring, consulting and community leadership. She is also the founder of Girls Rock Windsor, which supports camps across the world to develop leadership, social justice, community awareness, positive self-esteem and a sense of belonging, using music education and performance.