NDP leader Jagmeet Singh verbally harassed with abusive language during campaign in Ontario

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Singh later described it as “worst experiences” in politics

A very disturbing video emerged this week on social media that captured verbal harassment pointing towards NDP leader Jagmeet Singh after a rally at the campaign office of provincial NDP candidate Jen Deck.

Videos posted to social media show a small group of protesters approaching Singh and shouting profanity and yelled obscenityin his face as he left the event. Some followed Singh to his vehicle, where they continued to yell and held up middle fingers just outside the window.

Protesters yelled and screamed at him, calling him a “traitor”, and using extremely troubling language with some showing him their middle finger.

The video went viral and captured national headlines. Singh addressed the incident at a media conference in Ottawa after a reporter asked him about the experience. He also later issued a statement when people reached out to him after this incident.

He wrote, “To those who have asked, I’m in Chardi Kala – rising spirits.”

“I’ve visited Peterborough many times and I know your community is filled with good people who want the best for each other, I’ve always been really well-received and had a good time,” Singh said.

During the conference, he said it was one of his “worst experiences” in politics.

“There were some folks who were saying some really bad, some really horrible things. Some folks were saying ‘Hope you die’ and things along that nature. (There was) a lot of aggression and violence in terms of the behaviour and demeanour.”

While Singh said he was able to get into the event and back to his vehicle “without any particular issue,” he pointed to the protest as an example of increasing polarization in Canadian politics.

“Sadly polarization and disinformation are real dangers to our society. While disagreements are fundamental to a thriving democracy – hatred, violence and wishing death upon others threaten it,” he said.

When hate is given space to grow, it spreads like wild fire. “That is why me must always confront it – giving it no space to take hold, no room to grow.”

Canada Minister of Transport and MP for Mississauga Centre Omar Alghabra, wrote on his Twitter,”The harassment directed towards @theJagmeetSingh outside a campaign event is appalling. This is not how we express our disagreements in Canada. We can have vigorous debates but insults and harassment are unacceptable.”