MONTREAL -- The topic of New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh's turban has already come up a few times during this federal election campaign, but rarely as explicitly as it did Wednesday in Montreal.
As Singh, a practicing Sikh, toured Montreal's Atwater Market during a campaign stop, he was confronted by an elderly man who made his disdain for Singh's turban quite clear.
"You should cut your turban off and (mumble) and you look like a Canadian," the man said.
Singh did not skip a beat in responding. "Oh, I think Canadians look like all sorts of people," he said. "That's the beauty of Canada."
"I don't agree, sir. In Rome you do what Romans do," the man countered.
"Eh, but this is Canada - you can do whatever you like," Singh replied before walking away.
Singh has spoken at length during this campaign, and long before it, about his experiences as both a racialized Canadian and a Sikh, and the racism that it has exposed him to.
“I have faced that my whole life," he said Wednesday morning in Montreal in response to a reporter's question about whether his turban is an issue for Quebec voters. "I grew up in Windsor and Toronto and Saint John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, and we've got beautiful communities that are welcoming and loving but in all those communities, there's also been systemic racism that exists across Canada.
"So there's always been challenges for people based on who they are and I am not a stranger to that. I face prejudice myself, but many Canadians do and I'm confident though that if we go past those prejudices that we can actually find so much that we have in common and we can build a better Canada where we focus on how we solve problems as opposed to our differences."