The Life of Jagmeet Singh

He may have not unseated Justin Trudeau to become Canada’s new leader, but Jagmeet Singh has cemented himself as one of the country’s progressive leaders to watch. This is his story.

Lawyer, style icon and politician

Jagmeet Singh was born January 2, 1979 in Scarborough, Ontario to Sikh immigrants from Punjab, India. After spending his childhood in Canada and the U.S., he graduated with degrees in biology and law. He's fluent in 4 languages and an avid jiu-jitsu athlete. After becoming a lawyer, he provided pro bono legal advice to community organizations — regardless of shared beliefs, which he elaborated about on Vice News. In 2010, he advised activists protesting a visiting Indian dignitary involved in the 1984 Delhi Pogrom against Sikhs. While unsuccessful, the event convinced him to run for office. In 2011, he won his first election in Ontario as a candidate for the National Democratic Party, becoming the first turban-wearing legislator in Ontario history.

Singh became known for his iconic turban and his style — and his ability to speak warmly to those who don’t share his beliefs. After NDP's leader stepped down in 2017, Singh decided to run. During his campaign, he went viral for talking down a heckler accusing him of wanting to implement Sharia law. After being elected NDP leader in October 2017, he became the first person of color to lead a major Canadian party. After Canada's Parliament was dissolved on September 11, 2019, he began campaigning to become prime minister of Canada — which surged following Justin Trudeau’s blackface scandal. Surging NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s declaration that he’s willing to work with other parties to keep the Conservatives from forming government has thrown the election for a loop in its final week.

He’s since walked back that enthusiasm by saying that he’s focused on his own party’s performance first and foremost. But it’s hard to put that genie back in the bottle, especially with less than a week left until election day. As a legislator, Singh was known for fighting against racial profiling and promoting human rights. In 2019, Singh cemented himself as political leader of the next generation.