Jagmeet Singh

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Jagmeet Singh Jimmy Dhaliwal[1] (born January 2, 1979), known professionally as Jagmeet Singh (Punjabi: ਜਗਮੀਤ ਸਿੰਘ) (/dʒəɡˈmiːt/ jəg-MEET), is a Canadian lawyer and politician. He has been the Leader of the federal New Democratic Party since 2017 and prior to that was an Ontario New Democratic Party Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for Bramalea—Gore—Malton in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 2011 to 2017.[2] Ideologically, Singh identifies as both a progressive and a social democrat.[3] He advocates raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, decriminalizing personal possession of all drugs, and supports eliminating several tax deductions available to the highest-income earners. Singh began his career as a criminal defense lawyer for different law firms. His political career began in 2011 where he contested the 2011 federal election in the federal riding of Bramalea—Gore—Malton which resulted in a narrow victory for Conservative opponent Bal Gosal;[4][5] he became MPP in the overlapping provincial riding later that year.[5][6] In 2012, the Toronto Star named Singh one of Toronto's top 12 personalities to watch in 2012, calling Singh a “trailblazer” in Ontario politics.[7] In 2015, he became Deputy Leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party, serving under Leader Andrea Horwath until 2017. Singh announced his candidacy for the New Democratic Party leadership following a leadership review that resulted in a leadership election to replace Tom Mulcair. Despite entering the leadership race as a dark horse candidate who polled as low as 2% in early opinion polls,[8] Singh emerged as the leading candidate in the contest and was elected Leader on October 1, 2017, with a first round vote of 53.8% in a field of four. Upon his election, Singh became the first person of a visible minority group to lead a Canadian federal political party on a permanent basis, and the second overall after Bloc Québécois’ former interim leader Vivian Barbot.[9][10] Singh is also the first turban-wearing Sikh to sit as a provincial legislator in Ontario. He has been recognized for his fashion and style sense in Canadian magazines and publications and is an active practitioner of Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Personal Life

Singh practises Brazilian jiu-jitsu, having competed in submission grappling in the U.S. and Canada.[7][11] He has been recognized for his fashion and style sense in Canadian magazines and publications. He was named by Toronto Life magazine as one of the five youngest rising stars, featured in the top 10 best dressed of 2013 and most recently one of the 10 style icons featured in the 50th anniversary of Yorkdale Mall. Toronto Life also recognized him as one of the top 25 most stylish personalities in Toronto in 2013. In February 2017, GQ called him an "incredibly well-dressed rising star in Canadian politics."[68] In January 2012, the Toronto Star named Singh one of Toronto's top 12 personalities to watch in 2012, calling Singh a trailblazer in Ontario politics.[7] Singh was recognized by the World Sikh Organization of Canada in their 2012 list of honorees for being the first turbaned Sikh MPP in Ontario

Early Days

Born in 2 January 1979 in Scarborough, Ontario, to Harmeet Kaur and Jagtaran Singh,[12] immigrant parents from the Indian state of Punjab. His mother Harmeet is from Ghudani Khurd while his father Jagtaran is from Thikriwala.[13] His great grandfather was Sewa Singh Thikriwala a revolutionary who fought against British occupation in India.[14] Singh grew up in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador and Windsor, Ontario,[1] and attended high school at the Detroit Country Day School, in Beverly Hills, Michigan, graduating in 1997. He obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the University of Western Ontario in 2001 and a Bachelor of Laws degree from York University's Osgoode Hall Law School in 2005. He was called to the Bar of the Law Society of Upper Canada in 2006.[15] He is fluent in English, French, Hindi, and Punjabi.[16] He worked as a criminal defence lawyer in the Greater Toronto Area before entering politics, first at the law firm Pinkofskys, then at his own practice, Singh Law, which he established with his brother Gurratan Singh.[1][17] During his time as a lawyer he offered free legal rights seminars across Ontario and provided pro bono legal counsel for people and community organizations in need. In a Toronto Star article published January 9, 2012, Singh stated that his background in criminal defence contributed to his decision to enter politics, particularly his work advocating for the protection of rights entrenched in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.[7]