Brian Lilley, political columnist for the Toronto Sun, has come under fire online following a tweet about NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s turban.
On Wednesday, a parliamentary committee, of which Singh was a member, met to hear testimony from Loblaws CEO Galen Weston on soaring food inflation and insecurity in Canada.
Singh, alongside the committee, pressed Weston for answers about whether he and other top grocery executives at Metro and Empire Co., which runs the Sobeys, Safeway and FreshCo chains, were abusing price.
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In turn, Lilley took to Twitter to pressure Singh, who is Sikh, about the color of his yellow turban.
“Jagmeet looks like he’s wearing his no-name turban today just to grill Galen Weston at committee,” Lilley wrote, referencing Loblaws’ iconic yellow generic branding. “I know he changes colors for special days or occasions [sic] but I didn’t expect to see No Name yellow today. Is it on purpose or a coincidence?
Immediately after posting, calls were made for Lilley to remove the tweet, which to date has been viewed 2.7 million times.
Sarah Hoffman, Deputy Leader of the NDP, responded to Lilley and called her tweet “racist.”
“Is it on purpose or a coincidence?” she wrote, mocking Lilley’s original post.
Liberal MP and International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan responded to Lilley with a picture of himself wearing a black turban.
“Discover my nameless turban,” Sajjan wrote.
Others simply insisted that Lilley delete the tweet.
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As more backlash filled Lilley’s Twitter mentions, he responded to some of the criticism.
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“Do you want to explain what’s racist in that? I guess you don’t know any Sikhs,” Lilley wrote. “How is noting the color of his turban, which changes regularly, racist? White liberals should get to know some of the people they want to “protect.” »
In six separate tweets, Lilley insisted that his message about Singh’s yellow turban was not racist or an attack on the Sikh community.
Global News has reached out to Lilley for comment but has not received a response at the time of publication.
Lilley’s tweet is not the first instance of Singh being asked about his turban.
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In 2019, while Singh was campaigning in Montreal, he was approached by a man who insisted he “cut off” his turban to “look like a Canadian.” Singh said the heckling was an example of the demeaning comments he and many other people from minority groups in Canada face “all the time”.
Singh said Canadians who receive such comments shouldn’t feel like they have to change who they are to “fit in or move on.”
Later in 2022, Singh was harassed by protesters in Peterborough, Ontario, who insisted he was “not welcome” in the city. Singh described the incident as one of the “most intense, threatening and insulting” experiences of his political career.
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