A 38-year-old Sikh lawyer on Sunday became the first non-white leader of a major Canadian political party. Soon after being elected the leader of the New Democratic Party, Ontario lawmaker Jagmeet Singh announced his intent to run for the post of prime minister in the 2019 elections.
Singh, who got 53.6% votes of his party members, beat three other candidates. “This race has renewed excitement in our party,” Singh said, as he called the win an “incredibly profound honour”.
Singh said he would focus on issues of climate change, reconciliation with indigenous people, and electoral reform for the 2019 election, The Globe and Mail reported. The New Democratic Party had lost 59 seats in the 2015 election, and currently has 44 in the 338-seat House of Commons.
“We’re going to connect with people on an emotional level, and connect our policies and our values to an emotional message that actually stirs the hearts of people, he said. “That’s what was missing in the last election.”
Singh was born in 1979 in Ontario to immigrant parents from Punjab. He worked as a criminal defence lawyer in the Greater Toronto Area before entering politics.