Over the past week diversityvotes.ca has taken an in-depth look at ethnic media coverage on the five main federal parties and their leaders: Justin Trudeau, Andrew Scheer, Jagmeet Singh, Elizabeth May and Maxime Bernier.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, and People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier and their parties are all racing to name candidates for all 338 federal ridings. The Hill Times file photographs by Andrew Meade
See below to find out how all five party leaders fared in the ethnic media as summer comes to a close:
Similar to the mainstream media, the race of the two giants, the Liberals and the Conservatives, is what catches the ethnic media’s attention. Out of the over six hundred stories related to the upcoming federal elections MIREMS identified in the ethnic media over the month of August, over half were about the Liberals and Prime Minister Trudeau.
Almost half of those stories (152) were from the Chinese media, followed closely by the South Asian media with 131 stories. This reflects the fact that these two population groups are the largest ethnic communities in Canada, with the most developed local media including daily radio and TV programs and daily papers. They are also politically engaged communities, fielding numerous candidates and actively participating in local dialogue and voting.
Much of the coverage centred around similar items as in the mainstream media: the latest poll results, candidates, slogans, advertising and fundraising. Liberal positions on the major issues like climate change, affordability, infrastructure, etc. got relatively limited coverage, although government funding announcements were covered. A particular focus across languages and ethnicities was the SNC Lavalin affair, with the release of the Ethics Commissioners report, Trudeau’s response and the observation that the report had little effect on the polls. Premiers Kenney and Ford were mentioned, with Kenney campaigning against the Liberals and Trudeau highlighting Ford’s unpopular funding cuts in association with the federal Conservatives’ expected policies.
“The ethnic media have, however, additional areas of interest in comparison to the mainstream media. An obvious one is the area of immigration.”
The majority of the coverage here related to complaints mostly in the Chinese media over how the Syrian refugees admitted when Trudeau first came to power are now gaining citizenship and therefore voting rights. Other reports, including an interview with Immigration Minister Hussen on OMNI BC TV Mandarin, emphasized that the Liberals will continue promoting immigration and multiculturalism (Vancouver, 2 August 2019).
Additional focal points are the relationship of any given ethnic community to the party. The daily Italian paper Corriere Canadese cited NDP Candidate Maria Augimeri as describing the Trudeau government as disappointing due to the lack of a significant Italian presence in his administration and its insensitivity to the immigration of Italians (Toronto, 1 August 2019). The South Asian English Darpan Magazine endorsed Black Vote Canada’s call for more Black candidates in winnable ridings (Vancouver, 16 August 2019). The Polish newspaper Puls published a two-page interview with the Polish-Canadian Conservative candidate Ted Opitz, who said that Trudeau does not represent Polish values because he once commented he admired the Chinese dictatorship (Mississauga, 16 August 2019).
Numerous Punjabi media including the daily paper Canadian Punjabi Post returned attention to Trudeau’s ill-fated trip to India with a report on a book to be released about the misadventure and pointers to Gerald Butts’ claim that the Indian government tried to “screw the Liberals” to help their Conservative rivals because of a perception that the Liberals tolerate Khalistani pro-independence activism (Toronto, 2 August 2019). Channel Y South Asian 360 Punjabi TV held a panel discussion on the book; panel members considered the India trip a failure but said it was absurd to blame the India government (Toronto, 2 August 2019).
Foreign policy made up nine percent of the captured coverage, and half of the stories were about the Liberal government’s relationship to China.
Party positions on homeland matters and the relationship of homeland governments to a party are often areas of interest in the ethnic media. Concerns were raised about the Liberals not being tough enough on China, Huawei’s involvement in Canada’s 5G network, former ambassador McCallum calling on China to be more accommodating towards the Liberal government to avoid a Conservative election victory and government responses to the protests in Hong Kong. Conservative candidates held a roundtable with Chinese media to criticize the Liberals’ inability to get Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor released, which was covered by Chinese media including the national daily Sing Tao (Vancouver, 8 August 2019). The daily Chinese websites 51.ca in Toronto and BCbay.com in Vancouver wondered whether Trudeau has the time, ability and motivation to meet the demands of Hong Kongers in Halifax to help Hong Kong protesters (18 August 2019). Meanwhile, the daily Chinese newscast on Talent Vision Canada reported that Liberal membership forms were distributed at a pro-Beijing rally in Toronto, although a Liberal spokesman said the forms were old forms not currently valid (Toronto, 23 August 2019).
Keeping an eye on the ethnic media can be invaluable in identifying and counter-acting these very specific angles and responses from specific ethnic communities to government or candidate announcements and positions.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/LOGOCOLOR2.png00adminsite adminsite/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/LOGOCOLOR2.pngadminsite adminsite2019-08-30 12:15:332019-08-30 12:15:33When Liberal inclusiveness meets home-country conflict
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, centre, is arrested by RCMP officers after joining protesters outside Kinder Morgan’s facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Friday, March 23, 2018. Photograph By DARRYL DYCK, The Canadian Press
Back in December 2018, National Post’s John Ivison wondered whether really, finally, truly, 2019 could be the year Elizabeth May’s Green Party broke through, saying it is an appeal that might find a sympathetic audience. On the other hand, he said the Greens could just as easily pass from rising hopes to has-beens.
As we approach the final run nine months later, we looked for evidence of the rise of the Green Party in the ethnic media. In trying to provide a snapshot of coverage on Elizabeth May and the Green Party, we used word counts in a compilation of more than 650 stories collected from ethnic media sources that dealt with the 2019 federal election.
The answer to the headline question is that while 27% of respondents to a recent national poll consider environmental issues to be key to their voting decisions, reflected by more than 200 mentions of the environment, climate change and global warming in our story collection, Elizabeth May was mentioned fewer than thirty times.
In total, and related to all issues, Andrew Scheer’s name appeared more than 560 times, Justin Trudeau’s more than 630, and Maxime Bernier had 208 mentions. Jagmeet Singh with 80 topped Elizabeth May’s mentions, even though the polls suggest she has double the percentage of support at 14%.
What is it about the Green Party (mentioned a bare 80 times, against 770 for the Conservatives, 560 for the Liberals, 120 for the PPC and 130 for the NDP) and its message that seems to have failed to capture the imagination of the ethnic media?
After a brief and surprised flurry of interest after the Nanaimo-Ladysmith win, May and the Greens slid off the map, to become a sidebar mention in other issues – unfortunately few of them related to Green Party policies and positions, and even fewer connecting with key immigrant community concerns.
At least 24 of the May mentions were related to the Pierre Nantel move to the Party, while others were side mentions in the Bernier TV debate dispute, cameo appearances in the Vancouver Pride Parade condemnation of Scheer’s absence, and to protest Elections Canada’s warning to environmentalist groups.
In contrast, immigration and immigrants were mentioned more than 300 times in our story collection, none of them in conjunction with May’s name. Whatever the Green echo chamber, the ethnic media and its issues do not seem to be part of the conversation, and that is bad for both sides.
In fact, after brief mentions in August on Fairchild TV BC’s daily Cantonese news (07/08/2019) of Green Party leader Elizabeth May’s plan to help workers in the gas and oil sector transition to a renewable energy economy, called Mission: Possible, which was released in May, there has been little if any coverage of the Green Party platform even on this subject.
It will be interesting to see if the October 3 environmental issues debate in 117 ridings scheduled for October 3 by GreenPAC, a non-partisan organization dedicated to electing environmentalist candidates (Sing Tao Vancouver, 10/08/2019, Chinese), will attract ethnic media attention. It may just take an invitation.
Accompagné de la chef Elizabeth May, Pierre Nantel a confirmé lundi qu’il portera les couleurs du Parti vert et se présentera dans Longueuil–Saint-Hubert. Photo: Valérian Mazataud Le Devoir
One riding that might deserve special attention from Quebec’s close to a hundred multilingual media outlets is Longueuil–Saint-Hubert, as Pierre Nantel, the former NDP MP, becomes the Green Party candidate for a riding with a growing African, Arab and Latino population. While French is the predominant language, with English only at 4%, Spanish claims 2% of speakers. It is a riding in which the Greens had a bare 3% in the 2015 election, with Liberals and NDP running neck to neck at ten times that number, the NDP winning by a bare percentage point, and the Bloc a close third. It looks like every vote will count. Of the riding’s population just over a hundred thousand, 17% claim visible minority status, with almost 30% of recent immigration coming from Morocco, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Algeria in Central Africa and Haiti.
Shortly after being booted from the NDP, Nantel tweeted in French that his priorities remain the same: Quebec and the climate. The Green Party has had a banner year in both fundraising and polling, fueling speculation about a strong performance by the party in the fall election, reports the Canadian Punjabi Post Daily (Toronto, 20/08/2019). He said he believes Green Party leader Elizabeth May is the only federal leader willing to truly tackle climate issues. “There are two choices: the status quo with the Liberals and the Conservatives or there’s the alternative. And I think factually, for no matter who is looking at the climate situation, the person who embodies that, it’s obviously Ms. May” (The Canadian Parvasi Daily – Mississauga, 19/08/2019).
We hope the message reaches multilingual media audiences.
(~870 words, Andres Machalski, President, MIREMS Ltd., with files from diversityvotes.ca)
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The vast majority of ethnic media elections coverage captured for diversityvotes.ca is focused on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer, while NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is often only briefly mentioned or included as an afterthought.
The most widespread story in the ethnic media on the NDP in August was the brief mention of Jagmeet Singh participating in the federal election leaders’ debates. The main topic of these stories was, of course, the exclusion of People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier from the debates.
Reporting on recent polls, the Toronto-based Punjabi newspaper Sikh Spokesman reported that the NDP and Green Party both have 12% support. On a positive note, the article indicated that some political experts are expecting the Punjabi community will support the NDP, especially in the Brampton and Vancouver-Surrey area, because it is the first time in Canadian history that a Sikh leader is part of the race to become prime minister of Canada.
Picking up on the theme of a minority candidate running to be prime minister, another Punjabi newspaper in Toronto, Hamdard Daily, highlighted that The Toronto Star has come under some serious heat for an insensitive tweet about NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. The article points out that the Sikh community was quick to cry foul, saying that the tweet ranged from being insensitive to flat-out racist.
“Only 60 days are left until the federal elections, and during this time, any racial comment against a particular religion can change the community’s mind” – Hamdard Daily
Meanwhile, the ethnic media picked up on the fact that former NDP MP Pierre Nantel will be running for the Green Party. According to the Fairchild TV British Columbia Cantonese program, Pierre Nantel will run for the Greens in the coming federal election after he was turfed from the New Democratic Party for holding secret discussions with Green Party Leader Elizabeth May.
Along the lines of abandoning the party, Iran Star, a Farsi newspaper in Toronto, reported that MPs are fleeing the House of Commons, noting “for those who want to get stuff done, life in the House of Commons can be pretty frustrating.” Eighteen Liberals, 15 Conservatives and 14 New Democrats are not standing for re-election, according to the Iran Star, adding those numbers are not out of whack with previous elections, except for the NDP, which has lost a third of its caucus.
(From left to right) NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer are seen in this combination shot. Chris Young/Justin Tang/Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS
Speaking about the NDP’s chances in the election, radio host Amandeep Benipal said on a Toronto-based CIAO AM 530 Punjabi program that NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is losing his hold. He noted that the Liberals can win the October election if they take a lead in Quebec and Ontario. Many months ago, when Singh won the Burnaby South election, it was emphasized that the NDP would need to have a hold in Quebec, and weakness in Quebec will be a big loss for the NDP, according to Benipal.
Beyond the ethnic media silence and stories about abandoning the party, there were reports on the event that the federal New Democrats say was meant to be an open house for leader Jagmeet Singh’s new BC constituency office.
In an article entitled “NDP suspected of using ‘open house’ event to canvass for federal election votes”, Canadian Chinese Express, a Chinese newspaper in Vancouver, reported that a federal election law restricts the use of so-called MP resources, such as constituency offices, for election campaign purposes, but NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s constituency office in BC staged an “open house” and sent out emails describing the event as a pre-election campaign.
More engagement with ethnic media outlets could turn their silence into multilingual stories that reach all Canadians. Jagmeet Singh’s proposed policies and how they relate to the ethnic communities are largely missing so far in the lead up to the election. Where is the coverage on the NDP that could connect the party with Canada’s diverse voters?
By: Blythe Irwin, with files from diversityvotes.ca
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PRINT – CNDreams – Calgary, 23/08/2019 – COLUMN – Korean
Canadian voters pick three major issues for the federal election: job creation, healthcare and climate change. Forty-two percent of voters define climate change as a national disaster and 70% support the Green New Deal, aiming to increase green energy use. Although the carbon tax imposed by the Liberals is a political hot potato, voters are likely to ask more questions regarding climate change in the election.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said, “Carbon tax can’t stop wildfires in Alberta and BC”, but forest experts warn that climate change makes wildfires happen more often, widely and fiercely. However, right-wing populism, which underestimates the threat of climate change, is coming to the front of global politics and Canada is no exception.
Followed by the US and Europe, the Conservatives in Canada are likely to win the federal election because the economy and jobs are a priority for voters and would pave the way for right-wing populism to thrive. The Conservatives misguide people to believe that pipelines can create jobs and they ignore the economic potential of green energy, transition policies and the disastrous effects of climate change as a whole. The best strategy to fight right-wing populism is not wishy-washy liberalism, but having a social democratic party which can bravely and confidently deal with issues such as climate change, an unstable economy and worsening inequality.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/LOGOCOLOR2.png00adminsite adminsite/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/LOGOCOLOR2.pngadminsite adminsite2019-08-29 12:33:252019-08-30 02:44:03Federal election less than two months away - Korean
People’s Party of Canada Leader Bernier kicks off campaign – Chinese
WEB – 51.ca – Toronto, 27/08/2019 – COMMENTARY, Chinese
Radio Canada International’s Wu Wei says that in this upcoming federal election, it might be tough for Bernier to win in his home riding, because his Conservative party rival is popular. One of Bernier’s campaign promises is to lower the number of immigrants Canada accepts to between 100,000 and 150,000 per year. His riding’s reaction to this is mixed. On one hand, local residents don’t have experience getting along with immigrants, and many people don’t like the intake of immigrants and refugees. However, on the other hand, labour shortages in this region are getting increasingly serious and there’s a need to attract foreign labour.
Bernier said that his party is the alternative option that conservative Canadians have long waited for. One commenter agrees with the People’s Party’s idea, but still has to vote for the Conservative Party. Otherwise, this commenter thinks that if the Potato (Trudeau) Liberals don’t fall, then everyone will suffer. Another commenter’s top priority for this year is to vote for the Conservative party. This commenter says that making Potato (Trudeau) step down is a top priority. This commenter says four years later, if Prime Minister Scheer’s Conservative Party makes no reform efforts and falls into political correctness involving diversity and inclusiveness, then this commenter would vote for the People’s Party. This commenter thinks that things can only be accomplished if one dares to toss out political correctness.
The West is yelling at Chinese people to go back, anti-immigrant advertisement shows up publicly, Canada has already turned to the right – Chinese
WEB – lahoo.ca – Vancouver, 24/08/2019 – ARTICLE, Chinese
Since Trump was elected, American populism has been gaining popularity. The heavy colours of anti-globalism and high-level nationalism can be detected everywhere. Now, this demonic wind has blown into Canada. Racism and anti-immigration sentiment are making people very worried. On August 23, a Chinese mother and daughter’s car was hit by a Caucasian woman in Richmond, BC. This woman not only did not apologize, she made some extremely aggressive racial discriminatory comments such as “go back to China where you belong, you…China lady.” She used very repulsive language. This incident was recorded on video and posted on Wechat. The police has intervened in this incident.
Recently, an anti-immigration message was used as a slogan by a Canadian political party. A billboard that features “say no to mass immigration” is calling on people to vote for the People’s Party of Canada. A lot of people wonder why this billboard was approved; it is blatant racial discrimination. The PPC said they are not involved in the installation of the billboard and the billboard is not a PCC advertisement. It was proposed by a third party. The billboard shows that the advertisement was paid by True North Strong and Free Advertising Corp. This company submitted interim financial returns with Elections Canada that show it spent nearly $60,000 on the billboard. This billboard is featured in Vancouver, Ottawa and Winnipeg.
RADIO – CPAM 1410 AM – Reveil Matin – Montreal, 27/08/2019 – NEWS, French
Pierre Emmanuel: Maxime Bernier blâme une « meute gauchiste totalitaire » pour la décision de retirer des panneaux publicitaires faisant la promotion de sa position controversée en matière d’immigration. M. Bernier a déclaré que le seuil de 350 000 immigrants que le Canada accepte chaque année devrait être réduit. La plateforme de son parti indique que cela fait gonfler les prix des logements et incite les autres partis politiques à utiliser l’immigration de masse comme un moyen d’acheter des voix chez les communautés d’immigrants.
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Matthew Fraser // Immigration, Social // Volume 20, Issue 03 – August 27–September 10, 2019
Although Canadians are increasingly connected via media and social experience, people frequently find themselves separated by both language and political ideals.
Enter Diversity Votes, a website and media initiative that aims to educate the general public about the demographic, economic and social characteristics affecting electoral strategies, increase the accountability of regional and national media sources by making their work more accessible in various languages, hold candidates and political parties responsible to the greater population, and inspire informed discussions regarding Canada’s diverse voting patterns while bringing disparate voices into the national discourse.
When asked about the impetus for starting Diversity Votes, sources director Blythe Irwin stresses the need to validate ethnic media voices using both data and new access to their work.
“In order to validate ethnic media voices with the statistical data of the population they serve, we produced a citizenship education tool. Diversity Votes combines demographics with ethnic media to showcase what’s being said in these communities about upcoming elections [and political matters in general],” she says.
The goal was to produce a citizen education tool using the statistical data of Canada’s population as its backbone, while providing access to the conversations and problems media sources specific to ethnic communities address that may be forgotten or passed over in the wider media spotlight. Two clear and important examples of this have been the conflict some Jewish communities have experienced with “Shemini Atzeret” and “Simchat Torah” falling on federal election day, as well as the Italian-Canadian community’s request for Trudeau to apologize for the detention of over 700 Italian-Canadians during World War II. These community-specific topics may fall through the cracks or be brushed over by larger Canadian media.
Irwin reminds us that as an important benefit of Canadian citizenship, people have the right to free speech and to make their voices heard, and that the increased prominence gained by many communities will always lead to the exposure of frictions.
Andrew Griffith, author, immigration, diversity policy and data expert. | Photo courtesy of Diversity Votes
Because Canada shares an ideologically porous border with the United States, Canadians often feel themselves drawn into the tide of American politics while still hoping to remain distinct from their southern neighbours.
“The States is our monster neighbour which gets all of the attention and has a much larger population; Canadians feel the need to differentiate themselves in perception from the U.S. to the rest of the world, who might otherwise just lump us in with the U.S,” says Irwin. She continues by pointing out how closely linked Canada is to America both economically and culturally. But there is a downside to this close connection: “It is becoming increasingly evident that Canadians are not insulated from the U.S. as the polarization in the U.S. has led to an influx of migrants (to Canada) but also to anti-multicultural and anti-immigrant rhetoric here in Canada.”
Irwin explains that though populist democracy is often an attack on multicultural democracy, immigrants are often just a pawn of a bigger crisis. Since populism frequently works as a tool to enhance larger divisions in societies, she posits that this is a time and place where making diversity inclusive rather than divisive can play a major role in protecting the wider Canadian population.
Bring us closer to them
As social media spreads various bad faith political ideals or open attempts at misinformation, Irwin wants to be clear that gullibility does not discriminate along ethnic lines. In reality, all demographics are equally susceptible to fear mongering, and education may be the most important factor in helping people make strong political decisions
“As a society we need to ensure that all Canadians can participate in our democracy, and that they have full access to the education and resources needed to make informed decisions,” she says.
Lastly, Irwin invites Canadians to educate themselves about the interplay between diversity and politics.
“Canadians can be open to new things, new points of view, leave our echo chambers and talk to each other and not just our Facebook followers and friends,” she says. “Communication can bring ‘us’ and ‘them’ closer together.”
We prefer to view the fight for an apology from a different angle, more as a fight for political space for the community than a campaign for redress, a vindication of the Italian identity in the context of the current election. The Italian community, like other established ones, is fighting a battle for language conservation and “Italianess” among the younger generation, and this would serve as a banner beyond the individual feelings of the ‘Old Guard.’
Reading the Italian Canadian media today, we can see that the apology issue is triggered by the struggle for more Italian Canadian representation and political profile, as well as Toronto-Montreal rivalry. This representation issue was clear above all in the Saint-Léonard-Saint-Michel nomination process, which shocked the community by not delivering an Italian candidate for the first time in 35 years in a 65% Liberal riding that has a solid 23% of residents that claim Italian ancestry, has Italian as the third most spoken language at home and Italy as the most prevalent country of origin.
To top it off, a whopping 47% of the recent immigration to the riding comes from Arab speaking countries, so if you do the math, it is pretty clear that the rallying call is more about survival of the hereto dominant Italian minority which is faced with a new Middle Eastern demographic in their territory.
Clearly, these internal conflicts in one party are opportunities for the other, so we see Scheer visiting Saint-Léonard-Saint-Michel to point out that it was a Conservative government under Brian Mulroney that first issued an apology.
This struggle between older and more recent immigrant groups is also represented by the Chinese outrage at the Syrian refugees becoming new citizens and is certainly one of the underlying triggers of Islamophobia.
The Italian community, like others, uses apology and redress issues to establish their political and cultural identity in Canada. It is a way of creating a space for themselves by using self-affirmation of their identity, and being a victim is a popular common cause and gets attention, above all in Canada with its concern about fairness and balance, and even more in the current polarized political discourse that demonizes diverse identities.
As with the Chinese redress, Komagata Maru and other similar issues, the community has a range of positions on whether there should be an apology, redress, restitution or recognition – some opinions favor financial compensation, others want monuments, some both.
The Italians are particularly aggressive in this sense because they have a history of political participation and leadership and a need to defend that space against other ethnic lobbies. The Italians seem to be negotiating – or playing footsie with – their political support as a community based on these vindications rather than on common themes such as jobs or the environment.
The whole point of diversityvotes.ca is to shed light on electoral themes that will help both voters and candidates understand some of the undercurrents of opinion. This is a local riding issue in Montreal, with some impact in others where there is an Italian constituency, such as Vaughan.
One thing I have learned in 30 years of studying ethnic media and opinions is that there are always at least two sides to every story, and over-simplification of the issues is not a good thing.
(880 w. Andres Machalski, President, MIREMS Ltd., with files from diversityvotes.ca)
Il Cittadino Canadese (Weekly) – Montreal, 19/06/2019 – COLUMN, Italian
Il Cittadino Canadese (Weekly) – Montreal, 19/06/2019 – COMMENTARY, Italian
Il Cittadino Canadese (Weekly) – Montreal, 19/06/2019 – COLUMN, Italian
Il Cittadino Canadese (Weekly) – Montreal, 19/06/2019 – EDITORIAL, Italian
Lo Specchio (Weekly) – Toronto, 21/06/2019 – COMMENTARY, Italian
Il Cittadino Canadese (Weekly) – Montreal, 26/06/2019 – NEWS, Italian
Corriere Canadese (Daily) – Toronto, 27/06/2019 – ARTICLE, Italian
Corriere Canadese (Daily) – Toronto, 02/07/2019 – ARTICLE, Italian
Il Cittadino Canadese (Weekly) – Montreal, 14/08/2019 – FEATURE, Italian
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WEB – Sing Tao Vancouver (Daily) – Vancouver, 24/08/2019 – NEWS, Chinese
Zuhair Alshaer, the editor-in-chief of an Ottawa-based Arabic community newspaper, has been calling on Arabic-speaking Canadians to kick isolation and get involved in Canadian politics
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Ahmed Hussen attend a basketball clinic with local youth, hosted by President of the Toronto Raptors Masai Ujiri in Toronto on Saturday, April 6, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Statistics Canada figures show that the voting rate of immigrants from West Central Asia and the Middle East increased to 73 per cent in the 2015 election; this may be related to encouragement (to vote) by some ethnic media. Zuhair Alshaer, the editor-in-chief of an Ottawa-based Arabic community newspaper, has been calling on Arabic-speaking Canadians to kick isolation and get involved in Canadian politics. Alshaer, a Palestinian immigrant who came to Canada 20 years ago, is hoping that his monthly newspaper will connect the Arabic-speaking community with federal politics and encourage more people to cast a ballot on Oct. 21.
Liberal MP Omar Alghabra pointed out that many new immigrants often face a lot of pressure in their first few years in Canada. They are more concerned about their livelihoods, which reduces their willingness to vote. Algabra said that it may take several years for new immigrants to settle down, but he will explain to new immigrants that the (outcomes of the) election will have an immediate impact on their lives and it is important to everyone.
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Since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has already offered his apologies to many different Canadian minority groups, some Italian Canadian media outlets have been aroused to express anger that their ethnic group has not yet received one from him.
The Italian-language media, which has 25 different outlets in Canada, has been simmering this summer about Trudeau, who has made it clear he will formally apologize only after the Oct. 21 election for the internment of a relatively small portion of Italian-Canadians during the Second World War.
“Almost 80 bitter years later, the federal government appears ready to apologize to Italian Canadians for the humiliation, suffering, arrest and internments of hundreds in 1940. … While some say better late than never, others wonder why he did not do it right after he came to power,” said Lo Specchio newspaper.
“The fact Justin Trudeau has ‘promised’ just before the fall election to apologize in Parliament for the internment of Italian Canadians … raises questions about the prime minister’s sincerity,” said Corriere Canadese newspaper.
“Anti-Italian prejudice must end,” declared one writer in Il Cittadino Canadese.
Trudeau’s promised apology has become a key political issue in ridings with large Italian and other ethnic groups.
And it’s sparked debate among Italian Canadians and others over whether such an apology is warranted, since the detention of 586 suspected Fascist Italian Canadians was different in many ways from the mass internment of 22,000 Japanese Canadians during the Second World War.
Andres Machalski, co-founder of an organization that monitors electoral issues among Canada’s ethnic communities, said many Italian-language newspapers are pushing for Trudeau to say he’s sorry because, like other ethnic groups, they’re “using apology and redress issues to establish their political and cultural identity in Canada.”
Italian Canadians are “particularly aggressive … because they have a history of political participation and leadership and a need to defend that space against other ethnic lobbies,” said Malchaski, whose website, diversityvotes.ca, monitors hundreds of ethnic-language media outlets in Canada.
About 1.6 million Canadians are of Italian ethnicity, including almost 100,000 in Metro Vancouver, 280,000 in Greater Montreal and 490,000 in the Toronto region. Malchaski says many are involved in nomination competitions in ridings which have a changing mix of ethnic voters.
As a result many Italian Canadian media outlets are suspicious about why he’s holding off until after the election to apologize for what occurred in Canada during the Second World War, when Canadian soldiers joined the Allies battling against Nazi Germany, imperial Japan and Fascist Italy.
Part of the reason for Trudeau’s delay could have to do with the uncertainty and controversy that continues to burn among Italians and the wider public over whether to apologize to offspring of the those Italian Canadians detained as suspected collaborators with Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s Fascists.
Canada was “not wrong or malicious” to try to protect the country by detaining certain Italians in the country at a time of war, says Patrick Luciana, an Italian Canadian who is a senior fellow at the University of Toronto’s Global Cities Institute.
“To have done otherwise would have shown an extraordinary dereliction of duty to Canada and its people …. What government wouldn’t take precautions against potential enemy subversives?” Luciana recently wrote, noting such precautions were the norm among Allied countries.
“How can we as Italian Canadians ask for an apology when 5,000 Canadian men and boys are buried in cemeteries throughout Italy, who died to rid ‘our’ ancestral home of fascism and naziism?,” Luciana said.
“If we want anything, it’s to avoid having this episode in our history forgotten. But that’s in our hands, not the government’s.”
Another prominent Canadian historian, Jack Granatstein, told Postmedia he thoroughly endorsed the views of Luciana, who argued it’s insulting to ask for an apology today from the descendants of Canada’s leaders in the 1940s, who were predominantly Anglo-Saxon.
Historians often make many distinctions between the targeted Italian Canadian arrests in Eastern Canada and the way that, after the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong and Pearl Harbour, most Japanese Canadians were removed from the West Coast, had their property confiscated and were interned.
Former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, Justin’s father, opposed collective apologies in general. And at least two other Italian Canadian scholars – Franca Iocovetta and Roberto Perin, who edited the 2000 book, Enemies Within – have also expressed skepticism about the Italian redress campaign, according to Christopher Moore, a contributing editor to Canada’s History magazine.
“In the 1930s, there were pro-Fascist organizations in most Italian-Canadian communities, often sponsored by Italian consulates loyal to Mussolini’s Fascist regime. The roughly 600 Italian Canadians interned, out of some 112,000 Italians Canadians, were mostly associated with these pro-Fascist organizations,” Moore said.
On the eve of the Second World War, the Italian Canadian population was split by duelling pro- and anti-Fascist organizations, noted Moore, a prolific writer and former Vancouver resident whose father wrote a biography of Angelo Branca, a leading B.C. lawyer, judge and Italian community leader.
Moore says Branca’s standing among Italian Canadians was “eventually enhanced by his determined resistance in the 1930s to the encroachment of the pro-Fascist movements.”
Regardless of whether Canadians support or oppose an apology, Machalski, whose website translates the Italian-language media into English, said the fight of some Italian Canadians “for an apology is more of a fight for political space for the community than a campaign for redress that might kindle old animosities.”
In advance of this fall’s election, Machalski is on to something when he maintains the campaign to make sure Trudeau says he’s sorry is mostly about trying to conserve a sense of Italian identity among younger generations and to hold onto some political influence.
/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/LOGOCOLOR2.png00adminsite adminsite/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/LOGOCOLOR2.pngadminsite adminsite2019-08-27 12:23:532019-08-30 02:44:54Douglas Todd: Idea of apology splits Italian Canadians