CEMA Reports – Interview with Commissioner David Johnston

Canadian Ethnic Media’s Madeline Ziniak sits down with David Johnston, Commissioner of the Leaders’ Debates Commission and discusses the importance of the Federal Election Leadership Debates that relates to ethnic communities.

Introducing “THE CEMA REPORT”

September 24, 2019

The  Canadian Ethnic Media Association’s platform for issues that matter to Ethnic Media and  its’ audiences. Guests’, Dominic Campione, President of the Canadian Ethnocultural Council and Pauline Tong , CEMA board member and past President of the Yee Hong Wellness  Foundation weigh in on topics such as the Leadership Debates Commission and it’s  unprecedented initiative to  bring the debates in multilingual and indigenous languages, impact of ethnic voters, role of ethnic media during an election campaign, inter-generational consumption of stories regarding the Federal  election and role of the Canadian Ethnocultural Council for the upcoming elections.



Listen to episode 001 below (3:43 Minutes)




A few words about today’s climate change rally in Toronto – Russian

WEB – Torontovka.com (Daily) – Toronto, 27/09/2019 – NEWS, Russian

Toronto’s young and old diversity votes to save the earth – Photos by diversityvotes.ca

The online event page for the rally calls on the government to “treat the climate crisis like the emergency it is.” The “climate strike” was inspired by European teen Greta Thunberg. Earlier this week, the 16-year-old criticized world leaders at the UN Global Climate Action Summit in New York City. “How dare you!” she said in front of numerous heads of state. “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.” Last year, Thunberg began staging solo climate strikes in Sweden. Since then, tens of thousands of students — in more than a dozen countries — have taken part in “Fridays for Future” strikes. In response to the rally, Ontario’s Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks Jeff Yurek said in a news release that he recognizes “all the young Ontarians who are making their voices heard on the serious issue of climate change.” “I am proud to say that Ontario is leading the way when it comes to fighting climate change in Canada,” he said. Mayor John Tory said last week that he will move a motion at council for Toronto to join 800 other governments around the world in declaring a climate emergency. Tory said he would lead the charge in “naming, framing and deepening Toronto’s commitment” to protecting the city’s community, economy and ecosystems from climate change.


Climate strike heating up election grounds – Punjabi

PRINT – Canadian Punjabi Post (Daily) – Toronto, 27/09/2019 – EDITORIAL, Punjabi

Today, (September 27) is the last day of a series of international strikes and protests that started on September 20 to demand action be taken to address climate change. Climate change is a bitter reality in Canada. Various surveys show that about 66% of youth between 18 to 29, are in favour of ending the use of fossil fuels or reducing them on a large scale. Political parties can no longer ignore it. Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau have promised to attend this march. However, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer will stay away from it and is busy with his election campaign. He has promised that his Tory candidates in local ridings will attend the march. However, it’s always important for a leader to be present on such important issues. His absence can arouse anger among the Canadians who are very sensitive to this issue. At present, people like to support Trudeau on the climate issue. However, the NDP and Green parties will also succeeded in impressing the voters on this issue. Now, it will all depend on voters’ understanding of the climate change issue.

Ethnic Media Election Coverage 22-28 September 2019

This week about 150 election-related articles were analysed.

Major issues covered:

Immigration: Coverage focussed on party differences regarding overall immigration levels, including the PPC’s call for sharp reductions, the Safe Third Country Agreement with the USA and irregular arrivals (crossing between official border crossings, and the application process for family reunification (parents and grandparents, spouses). The Angus Reid survey showing public concerns regarding immigration and refugees was covered:

“… when international students apply for spousal sponsorship, they are immediately granted a visa without being required to provide so much evidence.  Ads for ‘IELTS marriage’ and ‘contract marriage’ are placed in the Punjabi media in Canada and overseas, however, Canada’s immigration department is paying no heed to it. When Canadian citizens and PRs complete applications to sponsor their parents, the quota is reached in five minutes. However, when international students apply for their parents, they are granted 10-year multiple entry visas without any evidence.” (Punjabi, Khabarnama Punjabi Weekly)


All candidate meetings in Brampton ridings were covered in Punjabi media.

  • Brampton Centre: Analysis regarding the relative prospects between the Liberals and Conservatives, with the prediction that Liberal MP Ramesh Sangha will win (Sangha has stated that his party is “pandering” to Sikh separatists.)
  • Brampton North: Conservative candidate Arpan Khanna responded to criticism that the Conservative party was against immigration (CPC leader Scheer visited the riding):

“… the immigration target was 260,000 annually during the previous Conservative government. Today, the target is 280,000 which is not a major difference. We have a balanced approach when we bring immigrants here without any back door entry. During the Trudeau government, 80,000 illegal refugees crossed the border into Canada. Khanna highlighted the burden on the Canadian immigration system and taxpayers with refugees. He said that the Liberals are not focusing on Hindu and Sikh refugees whose lives are under threat in Afghanistan. He also criticized the Liberals’ visa policy, including the parental sponsorship application intake system. He said that Conservatives emphasize an immigration system that is fair, orderly and compassionate.” (Punjabi, CJMR Parvasi)

  • Brantford–Brant: LPC Candidate Danielle Takacs’ posting an image on Facebook that showing a farm with the message “Scheer-Ford ain’t no difference!” carved into the field was covered.
  • Davenport: Sanjay Bhatia, CPC candidate, was profiled with his commitment that “a conservative government will bring justice, order and compassion to the immigration system.” (Portuguese, Correio da Manha)
  • Don Valley North: Bang Gu Jiang’s concession speech after losing the Liberal nomination to former MPP Han Dong, Liberal candidate, along with the opening of Han Dong’s campaign office, were covered.
  • Kitchener Centre: Stephen Woodworth, CPC candidate and former MP came under criticism for using previous signs that say ‘re-elect’. Elections Canada clarified that it is not against the law given he was an MP 2008-15.
  • Markham Unionville: Elvin Kao, Green Party candidate, was profiled. The visit of PM Trudeau to the Mid-Autumn Festival in support of Liberal candidate Alan Ho was also covered.
  • Ottawa West–Nepean: Anita Vandenbeld, Liberal MP and candidate, was profiled in Somali media.
  • Vancouver East: The launch of Jenny Kwan’s campaign office, NDP MP and candidate, was profiled.
  • Vimy: Liberal MP Eva Nassif’s complaints regarding bullying from other area Liberal MPs and her nomination being rejected for her not praising PM Trudeau as being a feminist was covered.

Campaign: Apart from general overviews of party positions and positioning, the respective tactics of the Liberals in invoking Premier Ford and the Conservatives in invoking former Premier Wynne to draw (or amplify) the contrast between their respective philosophies and approaches dominated coverage. Fake news regarding Liberal plans to increase the capital gains tax and PM Trudeau’s personal relationship with far-right commentator was covered. There were also a number of articles on the importance and procedures of voting.

“The scene was repeated at Scheer’s next campaign stop in Brampton, where Ford turned the tide for the PCs during the 2018 provincial election. Ford is already messing with Scheer’s chances in a big way in Ontario. The chaos of cuts he’s unleashed on the province has seen to that. With the possibility of Ford’s fight with teachers unions ending up in a strike in Ontario smack dab in the middle of the election to remind voters of the disaster Ford has been, Scheer’s electoral prospects are looking even more dicey.” (Farsi, Iran Javan)

Foreign interference:

Coverage continued on the warnings by Canadian intelligence agencies regarding possible foreign interference through the diaspora communities, citing China and India in particular but also mentioning Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela (along with Eelam Tamil). The comments by Elections Canada Commissioner regarding the difficulties of investigating foreign interference were noted again. The call by former ambassador to China, David Mulroney, for a foreign lobbyist registry was noted.

Multiculturalism: Coverage continued over the Trudeau brown face/blackface photos:

“Instead of discussing the economy, taxes, how to improve this country, how to ensure it doesn’t fall into a recession, our election debate instead concentrates on the fact, that our Prime Minister who is always so politically correct, now got caught in his own trap. Kumor says that although painting your face brown or black is not appropriate he doesn’t think that in this case Trudeau’s intention was to make fun of people of colour. Kumor asks, why if the pictures and videos were taken 18 years ago, they surfaced just now? Kumor believes it’s part of the opponents election strategy.  Looking into opponents’ past to see what they did in Kindergarten is probably the main task at the campaign headquarters, Kumor says.  There are real problems in this country, like the economy, and for that we need a good government that will take things seriously.” (Polish, Goniec)

“Trudeau apologized several times, but the Black Coalition of Quebec said that Trudeau should not take these comments to heart nor did he have to apologize. The president of the coalition, Dan Philip, said Trudeau’s blackface makeup was mainly for performance, which does not make him a racist. Philip said Trudeau took measures to help ethnic minority communities after he was elected prime minister. Trudeau also appointed a cabinet with people from all backgrounds. Philip said some politicians who criticize Trudeau are mostly hypocrites, and they do not have an interest in supporting the Black community. The reason why this photo surfaced was a political tactic to stir up controversy and gain from the chaos. Quebec Haitian author Danish Laferriere said Trudeau’s 2001 Aladdin costume was not completely blackface. Laferriere said this is a tactic used by white politicians to attack each other, and it has no connection with the black community whatsoever. ” (Chinese, Van People)

Cost of living: Coverage included the various party proposals on taxes, parental benefits, housing, and seniors (CPP and OAS increased benefits).

Ethnic vote: Commentary focussed on the need for Chinese Canadians to vote given their lower voting rate than other groups in order to influence policy debates and discussions. Italian media analyzed Ontario ridings with significant numbers of Italian Canadians, noting that this is largely between the Conservatives and Liberals. An article in Russian media focussed on the importance of the Canadian Sikh in Brampton.

“… the writer says that one finds that if anything happens to the Chinese, few politicians speak for us. Why is this the case? According to the writer, the reasoning is simple — it’s because for a long time, Chinese people haven’t been voting and haven’t formed a proxy relationship with political figures. Therefore there aren’t any political figures who would speak for the interests of Chinese people like us. For a long time, the voter turnout rate of Chinese people has been very low. So politicians don’t know what the basic demands of Chinese people are and don’t introduce policies and laws that are in the interest of Chinese people.” (Chinese, 51.ca)

Climate Change: Campaign promises by Liberals and Conservatives to provide financial support to make homes more efficient were covered, along with comparisons of party climate change commitments. The NDP’s clever riposte to Liberal plans, “You. Bought. A. Pipeline.” was covered.

China: The Bloomberg story stating that the diplomatic crisis created by the Meng Wanzhou case will affect the Canadian election drew the following comments:

“Canadians have recognized the reality now is that the Trudeau government is unable to well maintain the strategic relationship that was established with China. … Canadian Chinese newspaper columnist Gao Bingchen had pointed out that the arrest of Meng Wanzhou and a series of incidents that followed forced Canadians to gradually wake up; they are starting to take into consideration the cost it takes to maintain good diplomatic relations with China, and whether they can afford such a cost.” (Chinese, BCbay.com)

“… the author says he does not agree with Bloomberg’s comments that the hearing will affect the federal election, on the grounds that the Chinese-Canadian community is a mature community that clearly separates politics from people’s livelihoods. In addition, during the election the Trudeau government is carefully maintaining a distance from “China topics.” (Chinese, Sing Tao Vancouver)

BQ leader Yves Francois Blanchet’s call for the federal government to use all diplomatic tools at its disposal to negotiate with China to resolve the trade dispute that is severely damaging the agricultural industry was noted.

Polls and other: The Angus Reid poll highlighting the negative impact of the Ford government’s unpopularity on voter intention was covered as was the Ipsos poll showing immigration being a top issue to 14 percent of voters, behind health care, affordability and the cost of living, climate change, and the economy.

Other issues receiving coverage (that is more than one article) included healthcare and the leaders’ debate.

Andrew Griffith, ethnic media provided by MIREMS

Trudeau: will the re-election of Trudeau be a disaster for Canada? – Chinese

WEB – westca.com (Daily) – Surrey, 25/09/2019 – COMMENTARY,  Chinese

Gao Du Jian Wen – If you do not punish a leader who has a trail of scandals, if voters “are lenient towards the villains and let them grow,” you must bear the consequences of bad politics. In the absence of dramatic changes, the key to deciding this federal election lies in the neutral voters who have not yet made a decision, or it can be voters who are outside the scope of party support. Many of these people are Chinese immigrants. In this regard, we can put forward some arguments and give some voting recommendations to the neutral voters. The author said that from his standpoint, there are three main reasons why he would not choose Trudeau. First, he believes that a change of party, or political party rotation, will only make things better, not worse. Secondly, he thinks the rotation of political parties is the norm, there is no eternal ruling party. Lastly, the most fundamental principle of political party rotation is to punish bad rulers. Trudeau has already met all the conditions of a bad politician. The author provided details to support his three reasons.

‘China card’ will not affect the federal election – Chinese

WEB – Sing Tao Vancouver – Vancouver, 24/09/2019 – FEATURE, Chinese

Mu Ran – Speaking of the hearing into the Meng Wanzhou extradition case, the author says he does not agree with Bloomberg’s comments that the “hearing” will affect the federal election, on the grounds that the Chinese-Canadian community is a mature community that clearly separates politics from people’s livelihoods. In addition, during the election the Trudeau government is carefully maintaining a distance from “China topics.”

Canadian reflections: One thousand and the vote – Romanian

PRINT – Agenda Romaneasca – Kitchener, 19/09/2019 – COLUMN, p. 2, Romanian

Raul Dudnic – The author (satirically) says that he thinks he will run in the next election as an independent. He doesn’t think any party will accept his simple platform: one thousand and the vote. Simpler than this is not possible: he promises that, if he were chosen, he would initiate a bill through which every Canadian citizen of age would receive one thousand dollars per month. Where would the money come from? We’ll live and we’ll see. What is happening right now in the election campaign is not far from (this idea of) “we’ll live and we’ll see”. All parties make promises on top of promises, but no one has explained where the money will come from to reduce taxes, for all kinds of benefits for mothers and fathers, for new homes, and for other benefits. The Liberals promised in the last campaign that they would balance the budget in 2019. They have three months until the end of the year to find $14 billion. That’s if they still have the rest of the year. The Conservatives promise to cut taxes for those with annual incomes below $47,000. The cost? Six billion dollars, billions all from the public purse.

Interview with Anita Vandenbeld – Somali

RADIO – CKCU FM 93.1 Voice of Somalia (Weekly) – Ottawa, 22/09/2019 – INTERVIEW,  Somali

Image Credit: CKCU FM 93.1 Voice of Somalia

Yahya Ahmed, from Voice of Somalia, sat with Liberal Member of Parliament for Ottawa West, Anita Vandenbeld. The two discussed Vandenbeld’s political career, why she should be re-elected and the reason she’s in politics. She goes on to share a heartfelt story of an immigrant mother she was able to help reunite with her daughter. The program ends with highlighting the importance of voter participation and engagement. “There are immense benefits and importance in participating in local politics and choosing who is best to represent you. Somalis need to be aware of what is taking place around them and who is a foe or ally in terms of politics. Vandenbeld in particular has done a lot for Somalis and promises to continue to do so.”

‘We need immigrants’ is the message from Canadian companies to J. Trudeau – Spanish

PRINT – Journal Comercio Latino (Weekly) – Montreal, 17/09/2019 – ARTICLE, Spanish

Eva Rojas says that unlike in the US, where many companies consider immigration to be a threat, Canadian companies widely support Justin Trudeau’s proposal to increase the number of immigrants and refugees allowed in the country each year to approximately 1% of the population. With unemployment at 5.4%, the lowest level since comparable data were published for the first time in 1976, Canada needs workers. A report from June 25 shows that the lack of agricultural workers in the country is costing thousands of dollars and this is expected to increase in the next decade. Despite this fact, some politicians are pressuring to reduce the number of refugees and immigrants who come to Canada every year.


Immigration: The elections will not have a major impact on Canada’s immigration system – Spanish

PRINT – El Centro (Weekly) – Toronto, 20/09/2019 – ARTICLE, Spanish

Rodrigo Díaz M. comments that judging by immigration policies since the late 1980s, when the Conservatives decided to double immigration levels, it is reasonable to infer the main components of the immigration system will remain stable regardless of whether the Tories or Liberals win the next federal election. Both parties are prepared to keep immigration levels high, which suggests funding for settlement services will not be affected in great measure. The Liberals and Conservatives differ on issues like citizenship policy and economic class immigrants versus refugees. For the most part, however, they have much more in common on immigration than one might think. This leads one to believe that the Canadian immigration system will continue in the path it has over the last decades – which have seen the country raise immigration levels and invest in global talent.

Ethnic Media Election Coverage 15-21 September 2019

Given the increased volume of mainstream election coverage duplicated in the ethnic media, this and future weekly analyses will focus more on commentary, selected ridings and specific subjects rather than broader coverage.

This week about 120 election-related articles were analysed.

Major issues covered:

Foreign interference: Coverage focused on the warnings by Canadian intelligence agencies regarding possible foreign interference through the diaspora communities, citing China and India in particular but also mentioning Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela (along with Eelam Tamil). The comments by Elections Canada Commissioner regarding the difficulties of investigating foreign interference were noted.

Chinese Canadian media noted efforts to influence nomination meetings to select candidates with more pro-China views. Coverage in Indo-Canadian media was relatively less but one commentary in Punjabi media noted:

“Attempts to interfere by the Canadian or US government in the Punjab provincial election or in general elections in India has never been reported, even though the influence of Non Resident Indians (NRI) on Indian elections can be seen. But in Canadian elections, governments are being identified. Bobby, a guest on the show said that in Indian elections many NRIs living in Canada and other countries supported their family members who were running in the election and played a big role. The political base of any community living anywhere internationally, impacts the politics of the country where they’re living.” (Punjabi, Chin FM 91.9 Ramz Punjabi)

Campaign: Much of general campaign coverage focussed on Ontario Premier Ford’s decision to sit out the federal campaign and not be seen with CPC leader Scheer (likely at the CPC request). Other coverage included information regarding campaign length, the tightness of the race, the various campaign strategies and main issues.

“The temperament of this election will become nasty when the marketing of the campaign begins. All parties will be throwing money they don’t have at the country and make promises they won’t keep. We will be fighting with our instincts to try and reach an ending where our vote may count. In the end because of the quality of the candidates we may feel that our vote was wasted.” (Portuguese, Milenio Stadium)

Multiculturalism: Not surprisingly, the media frenzy over the Trudeau brown face/blackface photos dominated coverage in most language groups. Commentary to date was relatively limited.

“Radio host Fabian Merlo said that one can draw many conclusions from this, some more informed than others. There has been a lot of criticism in recent years against people who dress up as someone of another race or religion during Halloween. Radio host Silvia Mendez said it’s a complicated subject and in 2001 Justin Trudeau didn’t know he was going to be prime minister. Fabian Merlo said your past condemns you.” (Spanish, CHIN 91.9 FM Spanish)

“Responding to a caller, [host] Jaswal said that Trudeau’s photo in brownface is no big issue. The photo was taken 18 years ago. There is a huge difference in Trudeau’s thinking now compared to then. Jaswal was surprised that the mainstream media is making the photograph a big issue. Why had no Canadian media outlet found this photo before. It is for the people to decide, but it’s not a big issue, said Jaswal.” (Punjabi, WTOR 770 AM Radio South Asian Pulse Prime Time)

The muted reaction by federal leaders to Quebec Premier Legault’s assertion that the federal government should never challenge Bill 21’s prohibition of religious symbols for public servants was noted.


The number of Chinese Canadian candidates in Vancouver was covered (10).

  • Brampton North: The Liberals exposed a past homophobic tweet of Conservative candidate Arpan Khanna who is running against MP Ruby Sahota:

“Political parties are finding it easier to come into the limelight by accusing other candidates rather than debating more serious issues. In 2015, Conservative candidate Jagdish Grewal, who is the editor of the Canadian Punjabi Post, lost his candidacy due to such petty issues. The writer further says that politicians and political parties should rise above the petty issues to work to resolve the real, more serious issues facing the country rather than involving the public in cheap mudslinging games.” (Punjabi, Canadian Punjabi Post)

  • Brampton West: Navjit Kaur, NDP candidate, was profiled.
  • Davenport: Andrew Cash, NDP candidate and former MP, was profiled.
  • Etobicoke Centre: Yvan Baker, Liberal candidate, was profiled.
  • Markham-Unionville: Alan Ho, LPC candidate, was profiled.
  • Vancouver East: The opening of Jenny Kwan’s, NDP MP and candidate, was covered.
  • Vancouver South: Wai Young, Conservative candidate and former MP, was profiled.
  • Vimy: Annie Koutrakis, Liberal candidate, was profiled.

Ethnic vote:

Ethnic vote coverage focussed on the analysis of the number of ridings where Filipino, Italian, Latino, and Portuguese Canadians are significant along with the number of candidates with these origins.

“What do the political parties need to do to engage the 850,000 Fil-Canadians to vote in the next elections? There’s at least two things political parties need to remember about Fil-Canadian voters. First, they need to know you will do something about the needs of their families, their jobs or careers, and their desire to be homeowners. If you want to win the elections, make sure your platforms are not mamby-pamby, vague ideas of what your political agendas are, but simple, down-to-earth, to the bones policies regarding post-secondary education for them and for their children, professional accreditation and the recognition of their post-secondary education in the Philippines, and housing affordability. Second, they want to be taken seriously, not because they have the most awesome celebrations and events, and the food Is always abundant and delicious, but to be recognized as a legitimate member of the multicultural fabric of Canada by giving them a chance to hold a position of the political system that the former Senator Enverga held.” (Filipino, Philippine Asian News Today)

Immigration: Coverage included the proposed cuts in immigration levels by the PPC and the related support among some Chinese Canadians, the increased focus on regular and irregular asylum seekers, and the commitment by CPC leader Scheer to close the loophole in the Safe Third Country Agreement with the USA.

“…the annual immigration quota that Bernier is calling for is a reduction of up to 70% when compared to the current Canadian government’s quota. As we step into the Canadian federal election season, the most notable aspect of the People’s Party’s political platform is anti-immigration, yet the writer says many Chinese people seem to turn a blind eye and continue to support the People’s Party. Why do some older Chinese immigrants want to burn the bridge after crossing the river by being against immigration? Perhaps this is due to selfishness.” (Chinese, Ottawazine)

Cost of living: The various policy announcements of the parties were covered: the Conservative and Liberal proposals making EI parental benefits tax deductible, the Liberal proposal to help first-time homebuyers, the NDP proposal to build 500,000 new affordable homes, and the Conservative proposal to reduce the lowest marginal tax rate were all covered.

Leaders’ debate: Commentary on Liberal leader Trudeau’s decision to skip the Macleans/City TV was more supportive than critical. Former Liberal Minister Joe Volpe asked the question “Why…have they not scheduled even one with the multilingual community of 7.2 million Canadians?”  (Italian, Corriere Canadese)

Healthcare: Healthcare coverage focussed on NDP leader Singh’s promise to build a new hospital in Brampton (Note: Provincial rather than federal responsibility) along with coverage of the different party proposals on drug prices/pharmacare.

Business Support and other: In addition to coverage of the Liberal promise to provide additional support to start-ups, other issues mentioned were citizenship (expatriate voting), education (RESP CPC proposal to increase the government contribution), ethics (critique of both parties), polls, social media (deep fakes) and third party advertising.

Andrew Griffith, ethnic media provided by MIREMS