Whether Jagmeet Singh ends up capturing the federal NDP leadership—as early as this Sunday (Oct. 1) or as late as Oct. 15 if a third round of balloting is needed—remains to be seen.
Should he win, however, Canada could have its first “visible minority” prime minister after the next federal election is held in two years.
It probably won't happen—given Canadians have yet to elect an NDP government federally in the country's 150-year history (the party came closest in 2011 by capturing Official Opposition status under the late Jack Layton). But should the NDP again fall short in 2019, let's hope it's not because Canadians aren't ready to embrace having a so-called visible minority as their leader.
Unfortunately, Mr. Singh's ethnicity and religion already have been an issue during the NDP leadership race. There was the video of him being confronted by a heckler that went viral on social media. As well, there were musings earlier this month about whether Quebecers, dubbed as staunchly secular, would elect someone who publicly displays his religious affiliation by wearing a turban.
In a country that still hasn't elected a female prime minister (Kim Campbell assumed the role from June 25-Nov. 4, 1993 by winning the Progressive Conservative leadership following Brian Mulroney's resignation), it's refreshing to see a visible minority aspire to assume the highest office of the land—a true reflection of Canada's multicultural fabric and hopefully a role model for others to follow.
In the end, though, what only should matter to Canadians is the candidate's character, drive, policies, and goals—not their gender, age, religious belief, or skin colour.
That day, which isn't here yet, cannot come soon enough.