NDP’s Gurratan Singh In Row Over Anti-Police Poster

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BRAMPTON: Ontario’s NDP leader is standing by a candidate who was photographed more than a decade ago holding a vulgar anti-police sign at a demonstration, the latest instance in which she’s had to defend past actions of those on her roster.

Andrea Horwath denounced the sign held by Brampton East candidate Gurratan Singh. “That’s a sign that’s despicable,” Horwath said. “Gurratan has actually said so as well. He’s very regretful.”

Horwath defended Singh, the brother of federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, during a pair of campaign stops in Toronto and Brantford, Ont. Gurratan Singh, Horwath said, is a different person now compared to when he held up that sign at a 2006 rally.

“Gurratan Singh is a person that turned his life around. He went to law school. He now upholds the law in the justice system,” Horwath added. “People make mistakes when they’re young.”

Singh issued a statement apologizing “unreservedly to police officers, their families and the policing community”, saying he was “deeply ashamed” of his actions.

“I deeply respect the sacrifices police officers make in service of justice and public safety, and realize the importance of community-building with officers,” he said.

Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne called a photo of Singh holding the sign a “very disturbing and divisive image.”

“As leaders, we all have to answer for the beliefs and the behaviour of our candidates,” she said. “This is a very disturbing situation and Andrea Horwath is going to have to explain how she can continue to support a candidate in that position. I would not be able to support his candidacy.”

Horwath’s defence of Singh comes after Tasleem Riaz, the party’s candidate in Scarborough-Agincourt, was roundly criticized last week when the Progressive Conservatives exposed a Facebook post she allegedly made that pictured Adolf Hitler.