A tweet on the turban worn by a Canadian Sikh leader receives heated replies


After receiving backlash from members of the Canadian Sikh community who called the tweet “insensitive” and “inappropriate,” a tweet that was sent by a writer for the Toronto Sun about the colour of a prominent Canadian Sikh leader’s turban was deleted.

A political columnist by the name of Brian Lilley tweeted a picture of New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jagmeet Singh with the caption, “Jagmeet looks like he wore his No Name turban today just to grill Galen Weston at committee.” This took place in the House of Commons last week when members of parliament were discussing the rise in the cost of food and other consumer goods.

Galen Weston is the executive chairman and president of Loblaws, in addition to serving as the chief executive officer of George Weston Limited. It was reported that he had testified before the Standing Committee on Agriculture of the Parliament.

“While I am aware that he alters the colours on holidays and other special occasions, I did not anticipate seeing No Name in yellow today. Is this anything that was planned or just a coincidence?” Lilley stated.

According to Gurpreet Kaur Rai, a representative for the World Sikh Organization, Lilley’s comments were “very disrespectful, improper, and painful.” This statement was made to the Omni news channel.

“I think there’s no room in Canadian discourse for words like that to be propagated,” she said, requesting an urgent action on the tweet and a public apology from Lilley and the Toronto Sun. “I think there’s no room in Canadian discourse for things like that to be broadcast,” she said.

Former Member of Provincial Parliament for Ontario Gurratan Singh tweeted, “Our turbans, regardless of colour, are not ‘No Name.'”

“Please send someone to get your boy, we beg you, Toronto Sun… This is extremely disrespectful in every way!” Ravi Kahlon, the Minister of Housing for the province of British Columbia, wrote something in a tweet.

In response to a tweet sent out by Lilley, Jagmeet Singh wrote: “When people ask me why I wear a turban and what it represents, I always find it to be an interesting topic for discussion. Yet there are those people who try to make us feel inferior… I think about how damaging that is to youngsters in particular.”

Despite the fact that Lilley removed the tweet and issued an apology for it, his answers to criticism of the message are still available online.

“I have removed a prior tweet from my account because it generated controversy and was interpreted as being inappropriate. I apologise to everyone I may have hurt by saying that this was not the intention at all. The tweet was consequently removed from the platform, “he had written.

In response to a comment made by a user on Twitter, he wrote: “Do you want me to explain what about this is racist? I’m going to bet that you don’t know any Sikhs. How is it racist to point out that the colour of his turban, which he switches up frequently?”

There are more than 7.71 lakh Sikhs living in Canada, as indicated by information derived from the census taken in 2021 and made public by Statistics Canada.

Around 1.19 lakh are considered to be non-permanent residents, over 4.15 lakh are considered to be immigrants with permanent residency, and over 2.36 lakh were born in Canada, making up 30 percent of the total population.

The number of Canadian residents who are able to speak Punjabi increased by 36.5% between the years 2006 and 2016, when it stood at 3.68 lakh and 5.02 lakh respectively.

After English and French, Punjabi has consistently ranked as Canada’s third most common language for native speakers to use.

The Turban Day Act was enacted by the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba in 2016, and it stipulates that April 13 will be celebrated as Turban Day across the province annually to raise awareness against the racism that Sikhs face in the country as a result of their articles of faith. This legislation was passed the previous year.

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