By Eddie Benhin 

Hundreds of people from all backgrounds packed the Carleton University Dominion-Chalmers Centre in downtown Ottawa to hear NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh speak about maintaining optimism during a difficult period and how we can move forward as a nation.   

Singh’s family played a significant role in getting him started in the political world, and he still takes these family lessons with him wherever he goes.  

“Why do I care? It’s a foundational belief. My mom taught me that we are all one. There is a tradition of selfless service. If people around us are hurting, we are also hurting”.  

Singh called for people to be more loving to those whom they disagree with and explained how that’s how we will move forward together.   

Singh also acknowledged the economic struggles many Canadians are facing and pointed out that “behind every bill you pay is a CEO making lots of money.”   

Singh proceeded to list a few facts that struck home with many in the audience: The cost of groceries has outpaced general inflation for 25 months, and food prices are the highest since 1989. Rent is increasing four times faster than wages, and corporate landlords are buying up buildings. He then explained how it’s the job of the government to stop corporations from ripping us off, which he points out hasn’t happened.  


During this period, Jagmeet Singh took the opportunity to discuss various NDP proposals and presented anecdotes and testimonials from Canadian citizens who have experienced positive outcomes from recent NDP initiatives, including pharmacare. The audience responded with enthusiastic applause throughout this segment, particularly when Singh expressed his ambition not only to participate but to become the next Prime Minister, potentially the first from the NDP party in Canada.

Finally, Singh turned to the speech’s title: Chardi Kala. “Chardi Kala means rising spirits in the face of hopeless odds,” Singh explained. This was a fitting message that helped spin a new outlook on all the issues discussed throughout the evening. Singh ended the talk with a powerful message: “When I was first running for Parliament, then-NDP Leader Jack Layton told me, Don’t let them tell you it can’t be done.”   

After the lecture, Singh was surrounded by audience members who were eager to share a few words.   

Meeting with Students and Alumni  

After the lecture, we met with a few Students and Alumni and a number of them expressed their appreciation for Singh’s  proposals and understanding of real-life problems. 

I found it endearing to see a public figure really care about the same issues”, said one audience member.  

Another said their biggest takeaway was “Chardi Kala and being able to stand up to adversity and being optimistic for a better future not only for Canada but for the entire world  

One of our graduate students added:It’s such an advantage to meet people like Jagmeet Singh who could be a prime minister. It’s really beneficial to host events like this where you meet new people and gain network connections.  That’s really important for young people and their future careers.”  

The Faculty of Public Affairs would like to extend its appreciation to the faculty, staff and volunteers who helped put on this fantastic event and to Jagmeet Singh and his office for sharing such an important message and teaching everyone what Chardi Kala means.   


Tuesday, May 7, 2024 in , , , , ,
Share: Twitter, Facebook