Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh speaks to a crowd at Carrots N Dates in Windsor on December 2, 2017. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

“We Made History, We Broke Barriers”

The newly-elected head of the federal New Democratic Party emphasized diversity in a Windsor appearance.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, the first member of a visible minority to be elected to lead a major Canadian political party, spoke to a diverse, all-ages crowd Saturday afternoon at the Carrots ‘N Dates vegetarian café in Olde Walkerville. The stop was among several appearances made by Singh in Windsor-Essex over two days as part of a national tour, fulfilling a pledge made to Canadians when he was elected leader two months ago.

Singh, who was born in Brampton and is of the Sikh faith, reminded the crowd of the desire for change sought by NDP members, not just in Windsor-Essex but across the country.

“When we won, and created history by being the first ever from an equity-seeking community to be elected as a leader of a national party, we broke history. We made history. We broke barriers,” said Singh to swelling applause.

Singh was joined by all three of the Windsor-Essex MPs, Cheryl Hardcastle of Windsor-Tecumseh, Brian Masse of Windsor West and Essex’s Tracey Ramsey. All are in the NDP caucus.

He told the crowd about his desire to bring about changes to the country’s electoral system to ensure every Canadian has a say in how things work, and do away with split (first-past-the-post) party voting and strategic voting that has become commonplace.

“Instead of having a country where we talk about people having a say in politics, let’s actually have electoral reform where every vote counts, and your vote is actually represented in Ottawa,” said Singh.

Singh made reference to his time spent living in Windsor as a younger man, saying how fortunate he was to be able to grow up around people who taught him leadership values, then joked about the region’s hot, humid summer weather. He also told BlackburnNewsWindsor.com in a brief, one-on-one interview he has many fond memories of Windsor and its people.

“A lot of people are saying ‘welcome back home’,” said Singh. “Windsor is the place where I grew up and spent many years of my childhood, 17 years of my life. Of all the cities I’ve lived in, I’ve lived in Windsor the longest, so it’s very special to me.”