|Turban and Jazz hands, not a winning combo in Quebec!|
Now given Singh's high level of support in the party, especially the old guard, the possibility of him becoming leader has me believing that the NDP did some serious polling which indicates that his religion and turban don't adversely affect his chances with NDP inclined voters.
That is everywhere but Quebec, where his religion and his turban represent a burden that the party cannot support.
Already Ouellet is staking out her position that anybody with serious religious convictions is unfit to lead Quebec. Really.
According to her;
"[Singh] says he supports the separation of church and state, but he presents the complete opposite," Ouellet said, in French. "He says he has progressive values, but what he is showcasing are religious values ...When asked if Singh's turban promoted his religion, the Bloc leader said that she did not have a problem with his turban, but rather his religious values.
"What we are learning is that after having seen, I'd say, the religious right, there seems to be a rise of the religious left."
This sort of political argument, that those who hold deep religious values are unfitting to serve would draw gasps across Canada, but not in Quebec where religious intolerance reigns supreme.
While most of the NDP powers that be don't seem overly concerned with Singh and his turban, not so for Quebec MP's.
"Quebec MP Pierre Nantel declared that Singh and his “conspicuous religious symbols” would not fly with Quebec voters. “It has been shown that people do not want to see conspicuous religious symbols; they are not believed to be compatible with power, with authority,” Nantel told Radio-Canada."Religion's precipitous fall grace among Quebec Francophones is nothing less than stunning, with weekly attendance at Catholic Church falling from 88% back in the sixties to around 5% today, and where French Catholic churches might very well go the way of the dodo as the older generation dies out.
Among those born to Catholic parents, baptisms have fallen to about 40% and the surprising aspect to all this is the utter disdain that organized religion has fallen into in Quebec.
There's no doubt that Bill 62 will soon pass into law in some form or another, making face coverings illegal, when giving or receiving state services.
The watered-down version of the infamous "Charter of Values" seems to have majority support in the National Assembly as well as widespread support from the public.
The anti-religion climate in Quebec is now coming to a boil from the slow simmer that existed over the last few years and electing the turban-clad Jagmeet Singh as NDP leader would be the death kneel for the party's fortunes in Quebec.
And so the sixteen NDP sitting MPs are in deep trouble and most would be wiped out if a general election would be held with Jagmeet Singh as leader.
Of the sixteen, it is likely that only Guy Caron, Alexandre Boulerice and surprisingly, ex-Ottawa bartender Ruth Ellen Brosseau would survive an election led by Jagmeet Singh.
The soft nationalists who voted in the orange wave for Jack Layton were never solidly NDP adherents and last election saw the party's fortune's crumble to 16 seats from 59 seats after the party came out against any proposed ban or restriction on religious garb.
While the other candidates for the NDP leadership have put some water in their wine concerning Quebec's apparent desire to restrict religious garb by taking the cowardly position that while they disagree with Bill 62, it is a decision best left up to Quebec voters, not so Mr Singh;
"Singh told the Star that he unequivocally opposes Quebec’s Bill 62, and predicted that, if passed, it would be found to contravene the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as Quebec’s own human rights law."For Quebecers, them's are fighting words...
So the question is as to how many more will abandon the NDP and where these disaffected voters will park their votes come next election.
Clearly, they will go to the Bloc or to the Liberals, but what the split will be is debatable.
I'm betting that of the 13 seats that the NDP would lose with Jagmeet Singh at the helm, the bulk will go to the Bloc and at least for entertainment's sake we can look forward to electing another blithering idiot leader Martine Ouellet to Parliament.
For Conservatives, nothing could be better than the rise of the Bloc once again.
The 20 or 25 members would continue the fine tradition of carping at federalists while contributing and accomplishing absolutely nothing.
Martine Ouellet will parade around Ottawa pompously like the oblivious doufus who leaves the Parliamentary rest room trailing toilet paper out of her skirt, much to the hoots and cackles of onlookers.
While the election of Jagmeet Singh will spell trouble for the party in Quebec, it may mean a rebirth of support across the country with progressives who feel betrayed by Trudeau's empty promises and policy reversals. Mr. Singh may be seen as a bright alternative, someone who can represent the left with unabashed honesty and conviction and that may seriously hurt Trudeau outside of Quebec.
It can all play out nicely and so like Martine Ouellet, I too am crossing my fingers....