Canada’s Sikh lawmaker calls MP racist, removed from Parliament

Canada’s Indian-origin Sikh MP Jagmeet Singh was removed from Parliament after he called a lawmaker “racist” for denying approval for a motion calling out systemic racism in the police force, according to a media report.

The New Democratic Party (NDP) leader said that he stands by his words even after he was removed from the House of Commons for calling Bloc Quebecois House Leader Alain Therrien a “racist” for denying the approval needed for a motion calling out systemic racism in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), CTV News reported

“I don’t back down from standing up to racism. I don’t think it benefits for me to call people names, I was angry at the moment and I stand by it,” Singh told reporters after the incident on Wednesday

“In that moment I got angry, but I am sad now, because why can’t we act? Why can’t we do something to save peoples’ lives? We can do something, and why would someone say no to that,” he said

Singh was seeking the unanimous consent of the House of Commons to pass a motion calling on the House to recognise there is systemic racism within the RCMP and call on the government to review its budget as well as the federal law that governs the police force

His motion also called for other accountability measures related to the RCMP, including a full review of the use of force by members and the training officers get, according to the report

It appeared that all other parties were on side with the motion, but an audible ?no? came from the area in the House of Commons where the Bloc Quebecois caucus sits, it said

Singh and Therrien were seen engaged in a heated argument, before Bloc Quebecois MP and party whip Claude DeBellefeuille called on the House of Commons Speaker Anthony Rota to call for order, saying in French that the NDP leader had insulted her colleague and was using unparliamentary language, the report said

Singh then rose, and said in French: “It’s true, I called him a racist.”

When he was asked to apologise, he refused after which House Speaker Rota said that Singh was not able to participate in the remainder of the day’s sitting

“In this moment where Indigenous people are being killed and being brutalised, Black people are being killed and brutalised in Canada. We’ve not seen any action. And in that moment, we put forward this motion, but I thought given where we are, given what’s going on, given the lack of action, here is something we can do concretely to actually make a difference? Kind of shocked that anyone would say no to this motion,” Singh told reporters.

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