jagmeet singh

Jagmeet Singh tears up explaining why he got kicked out of House of Commons

The Canadian House of Commons got a little more heated than usual on Wednesday, with tensions flaring between Bloc Quebecois MP Alain Therrien and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh who called Therrien a racist and ended up being kicked out of the special sitting.

Therrien was rejecting a motion to recognize the systemic racism within the RCMP when he and Singh got into an altercation off-camera, after which Singh called the Quebecois MP a racist and refused to recant the statement.

Another Bloc MP accused Singh of "insulting a member of my caucus," adding that they "do not believe that a leader of a party can call a member of this house racist because we don't approve a motion that was just moved." 

The deputy Speaker asked Singh to apologize, and after he refused to do so, he was booted from the room for the remainder of the day.

The NDP leader has now released a video explaining the situation, during which he becomes visibly emotional.

In the nearly four-minute clip, Singh starts off by talking about the current calls for change to systemic racism across the world and specific instances of racism in Canada and within Canadian policing, such as the recent death of Indigenous woman Chantel Moore and brutalization of First Nations Chief Allan Adam.

"Some people thought that this wasn't a Canadian issue, that this was an American issue and people were marching in solidarity with people in the U.S. who were demanding action," Singh says to the camera.

"But for a lot of racialized people — for a lot of Black, Indigenous and people of colour — this has been a problem in Canada as well. Systemic racism exists in Canada."

The motion Singh was trying to get unanimously approved was, first and foremost, asking that the systemic racism within the nation's police force be acknowledged.

Also, that de-escalation within law enforcement be made a priority, that the RCMP's use of force be better evaluated, and that police monies be divested to instead fund other types of unarmed frontline responders like mental health experts.

Given current events, Singh admits that he "got angry" over Therrien's blunt dismissal of the motion.

"But I'm sad now," he says to the camera, getting teary. "Because why can't we act? Why can't we do something to save people's lives? We can do something, and why would someone say no to that?"

The moving post has gotten thousands of responses within 12 hours, most of them from supportive citizens who expressed their shock at the events witnessed the House and thanked Singh for speaking up on a matter that is on the minds of so many right now.

As one Twitter user aptly said, "This is why we don’t speak up in the face of microaggressions and institutionalized racism. When you refused to apologize, you were doing it for everyone! Thank you."

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