This is not to say that Jagmeet Singh is Obama’s Sikh analogue north of the border, but the script for racialization has always made for thin reading. There is nothing complicated about the suggestion that Quebecers are not comfortable with his “religiosity,” there’s simply the belief that white Quebecers are too racist and xenophobic to support the NDP if it elects a brown-skinned leader who will not placate their bigotry. There’s no “insurgent” campaign at work to upset the established order of the party, there’s simply a popular candidate who, by all appearances, is poised to demonstrate why Canadians of colour not only deserve a seat at the table, but can pull up a chair at its head. And whether or not Singh has indeed signed up enough members to win the leadership in the first round of balloting, his campaign has so far succeeded at a level that most party leadership candidates could only dream of.
What is Quebec if not French Canadian? That’s a question that Canadians will need to answer.