Man who told NDP Leader Singh to remove turban was racist, Legault says
"It's not a systemic racism but some people are racist and we have to fight against that," the Quebec premier says.
QUEBEC — Premier François Legault has denounced as racist an incident in which a man told NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh to cut off his turban to look Canadian.
“It’s unacceptable,” Legault told reporters arriving for question period. “With Bill 21, it’s clear that people can wear religious symbols in the street, like Mr. Singh.
“It’s unacceptable that somebody said something like that.
“There are some people who are racist in Quebec. It’s not a systemic racism but some people are racist and we have to fight against that.”
Asked if it is clear in his mind the man who approached Singh was racist, Legault said, “Yes.”
And Legault said Bill 21, the government’s secularism law, which bans some public workers in positions of authority from wearing religious symbols, will actually fight racism because it makes it clear people can wear symbols in public.
“In putting parameters, it is now clear,” Legault said. “And I can tell everybody people can wear a religious sign on the street. Come on. That’s clear.
“What we’re saying is people in positions of authority, civil servants in positions of authority, must not wear religious signs, but in all the other cases they can wear them.
“Now it’s clear. In putting parameters, we make sure that racist people cannot have support in our society.”
The incident took place Wednesday. While Singh was campaigning in the Atwater Market, a man approached him and told him to remove his turban.
The man told Singh he would “look Canadian” if he “cut off” the religious head garb.