Indo-Canadian leader of Canada’s New Democratic Party (NDP) Jagmeet Singh was expelled from the House of Commons on Wednesday after calling another MP a “racist” during a session in the chamber.
That reaction came after Singh used that charged epithet for Bloc Québécois MP Alain Therrien after the latter voted ‘no’ on a motion introduced by the NDP to recognise “systemic racism” in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
As a result of the outburst, Speaker Anthony Rota had Singh removed from the House for the rest of the day in an unusual outcome for any leader of a national party in the country.
Singh later told reporters in Ottawa that he had experienced a “moment of anger” after apparently seeing Therrien make a gesture that seemed to cavalierly dismiss the motion. “Anyone who votes against a motion that recognizes the systemic racism in the RCMP and that calls for basic fixes for the problem; is a racist, yes,” Singh later said, according to the outlet Global News.
The motion was among the measures that have resulted from outrage in Canada over the RCMP’s behaviour towards Indigenous, Black and other Canadian minorities. That has followed the fierce reaction in the United States after the killing of African-American George Floyd in Minneapolis last month.
However, the House of Commons’ Whip for Therrien’s party, Claude DeBellefeuille, described Singh’s use of the term as “unacceptable”.
According to the CBC News, the motion also called for a review of the RCMP’s budget and how it interacted with the public, among other matters.