This week about 170 election-related articles were analysed.
Major issues covered:
Campaign: The large increase in advance voting was widely covered. The likely impact in Ontario over the Ford government’s unpopularity continued to be subject of analysis. There were a number of articles on candidate signs being defaced. Planned Conservative spending cuts were noted along with criticism of their impact by the Liberal and NDP leaders. There were a number of articles on non-citizens receiving voting cards and related voter fraud. The overall emphasis by the Liberals and Conservatives on negative messaging was noted.
Immigration: The discussion of immigration-related issues in the Leader’s debate was widely covered along with party platform commitments. Issues receiving the most coverage were asylum seekers, the Safe Third Country Agreement and immigration levels. Commentary included these critiques of the Liberal government:
“Now, the Liberals will open a new door for immigration fraud by welcoming 5,000 people every year under an immigration project. If the Liberals come into power, they will empower local communities across Canada to directly sponsor new immigrants for Canadian permanent residence. This program will allow local communities, chambers of commerce and local labour councils to directly sponsor permanent immigrants. Trudeau’s Liberals also plan to make the successful Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP) permanent, with both the AIP and the new Municipal Nominee Program to be allocated a minimum of 5,000 spaces per year. A new door will be opened for immigration fraud with the opening of this program. Travel agents and human smugglers will violate this program and corruption will rise at the city level.” (Punjabi, Khabarnama Punjabi Weekly)
“Hussen has turned his back on the approximately one million (500,000 in Ontario alone) completely integrated workers unable to obtain legal immigration status in Canada, allowing them to be deported. His pilot programs have been a failure. Strangely, Hussen came to Canada without papers. Italian-, Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking voters in Hussen’s riding should ask him why he does not offer their brothers and sisters the same acceptance he received some years ago. (Italian, former immigration minister Joe Volpe in Corriere Canadese, Note: numbers unsubstantiated))
Ethnic vote: Coverage was dominated by commentary and discussion regarding differences in political attitude between Hong Kong and Mainland Chinese and the partially related issue of lower voting rates between Chinese origin Canadians and other minorities. Punjabi media focussed on efforts by Punjabis living in India to influence Canadian Punjabis to vote Liberal. The Canadian-Muslim Vote (TCMV) initiative received widespread coverage. There were also stories regarding efforts to encourage Tamil Canadians to vote, the relative low level of voting and political participation by Latino Canadians and the comparative under-representation of visible minorities in cabinet:
“A local commentator pointed out that Chinese people whose mother tongue is Cantonese is higher than Mandarin-speaking Chinese people, second generation immigrants are more enthusiastic about voting than first-generation immigrants, and also immigrants from Hong Kong and Taiwan are more into the federal elections. Vancouver current affairs commentator Yu Minghui said that after each federal election, Elections Canada conducts an analysis, and Chinese voter turnout is usually 10% lower than the average of all ethnic groups. According to government figures, among Chinese voters, native Cantonese speakers have higher voter turnout. He thinks this is mainly because Cantonese-speaking immigrants came to Canada for relatively longer period of time, and most of them have naturalized, whereas native Mandarin speakers are in Canada for relatively shorter period of time, and a considerable number of them have not yet naturalized. Also, according to his observations, some Mandarin speakers might be thinking they will return to live in China, and have not considered Canada to be a place to live in the long term, therefore they have no will to vote.” (Chinese, dushi.ca)
“But the case is reversed this year. Now people in India are calling their relatives in Canada and are urging them to vote for Trudeau in the federal elections. Many Punjabi people have obtained a Canadian visa in recent years and they want Trudeau to win again so that the Canadian doors always remains open for them. On the other hand, some people from Punjab are urging their friends and relatives in Canada to take the historic opportunity and vote for NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. Meanwhile, it has been found that Punjabis in Canada are listening to the voting recommendations, but in the end they prefer to cast their votes of their own accord.” (Punjabi, Khabarnama Punjabi Weekly).
“But whoever forms government will owe a whole lot to the ethnic communities in this country. You will have noticed that in many of the ethnic enclaves, such as Scarborough and Brampton in the GTA, most of the parties turned to ethnic minority candidates to woo voters. This is not unexpected. But it is strange, given that some of these parties are running on platforms that seem anti-immigrant. Worse, historically the same minority candidates who bring in the votes to put particular parties into power are rarely reflected in the corridors of power when it comes to cabinet appointments. (Indeed, up to now only Justin Trudeau’s Liberals have ensured that Canada’s diversity has been properly reflected in Cabinet.) This is an issue we think voters should address with the party leaders vying for our votes in the last days of this election. If they understand the value of ethnic candidates to win votes, shouldn’t those same people be allowed to bring their unique perspectives to Cabinet when the time comes?” (Caribbean, EqualityNews)
Regional all candidates’ meetings took place in Brampton and Vancouver.
An article noted that there were three Romanian Canadian candidates, Lizabel Nitoi for the Bloc Quebecois (Marc-Aurèle-Fortin), Corneliu Chisu (former CPC MP, Pickering Uxbridge) and Eugen Vizitiu (Mississauga Lakeshore) for the PPC.
- Brampton Centre: Jordan Boswell, NDP candidate, was interviewed, with the focus being on the need for a new area hospital.
- Brampton East: Ramona Singh, CPC candidate, was interviewed. Fringe candidate, Partap Dua, leader of the Fourth Front, received coverage.
- Brampton North: Ruby Sahota, Liberal incumbent and candidate, was interviewed with her citing the Liberal economic and immigration record as reasons for re-electing her.
- Brampton South: Ramandeep Brar, CPC candidate, was interviewed, with him noting the Conservatives were not anti-immigrant but were concerned about asylum seekers:
“Brar said that it’s a chain that goes from gun and gang violence to the border, and from Roxham Road to immigration.” (Hindi, CMR FM 101.3 Voice Radio Hindi)
Mandeep Kaur, NDP candidate, was interviewed.
- Brampton West: Murarilal Thapliyal, CPC candidate, was interviewed with the focus being on the need for a new hospital and university campus.
- Burnaby North-Seymour: The removal of Heather Leong as a Conservative candidate after the nomination deadline continued to receive coverage.
- Burnaby South: Jay Shin, CPC candidate, was interviewed, stating that:
“Not only Koreans, but also Chinese-Canadians from mainland China are supporting him, based on the Conservative platform to decrease income tax for low income earners, he said. Shin is optimistic to unseat NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh.” (Korean, Vancouver Chosun Ilbo)
- Dauphin-Swan River-Neepawa: Kate Storey, Green candidate, apologized for calling Canada’s temporary foreign worker program ‘modern-day slavery’ during a debate.
- Edmonton Mill Woods: The issue of whether a candidate needed to be resident in his or her riding was discussed, with the example of CPC candidate (and former MP) Tim Uppal’s plans to live in Ottawa regardless of the election outcome (Uppal was defeated in 2015 by Liberal minister Amarjeet Sohi by only 92 votes).
- Etobicoke North: Renata Ford, PPC candidate, and wife of former mayor Rob Ford was mentioned alongside the PPC’s restrictive approach to immigration.
- Markham-Thornhill: Alex Yuan, CPC candidate, participated in a media conference that stated the “Liberals are really the party that is lying to Canadians on hard drugs legalization.” (Cantonese, Fairchild TV British Columbia)
- Port Moody Coquitlam: Nelly Shin, CPC candidate, was interviewed.
Social media: Coverage was dominated by the Chinese messaging service WeChat not complying with the legal requirement to set up an ad registry along with circulation of Conservative attack ads on WeChat and Facebook falsely claiming that a re-elected Liberal government would legalize “hard drugs”. Coverage of other social media disinformation was largely related to immigration and refugees:
“According to the Conservatives, if Justin Trudeau is re-elected, he will likely legalize hard drugs. In early October, the Conservatives published a bilingual Facebook post that reads: ‘Do you want Justin Trudeau to legalize hard drugs in your community?’ The poster calls on the Chinese community to stop Trudeau’s plan and to ensure children’s safety by voting for the Conservatives. On October 10, the Conservatives continued with their advertisements, publishing Mandarin and Cantonese versions of campaign commercials. The content is once again focused on Trudeau legalizing hard drugs. Chinese users have presented mixed reactions to these posts. Some were angered by Trudeau’s plan, and some criticized the Conservatives for circulating rumours. In reality, there is no evidence that the Liberals are actually going to legalize hard drugs. Liberal spokesperson Guy Gallant clarified that legalizing all drugs is not a plan of the party. The Conservatives denied their attempt to use decriminalization and legalization interchangeably to confuse voters.” (Chinese, Van People)
China: Chinese language coverage focussed on Conservative leader Scheer’s critique of the Liberal government’s handling of Canada-China relaxations along with the other party leader positions on how they would improve relations with China. Finance minister Morneau’s comments on Canada-China relations were also covered.
Foreign interference: The publication by Canadian Friends of Hong Kong of an online guide to assist voters assess whether candidates are too close to China was covered, along with Canada-Hong Kong Link‘s call for Parliament to adopt stronger legislation to reduce foreign interference.
Healthcare: Brampton-area candidates continued to raise the need for an additional hospital in Brampton with Finance Minister Morneau stating that healthcare was a provincial responsibility.
Citizenship: Coverage included the number of Syrian refugees who were eligible for citizenship (13,790 applications, 606 new citizens and voters). The deadlines for Canadian expatriates in Hong Kong to register to vote was also covered.
Indigenous: The large number of Indigenous candidates running was noted along with the relative lack of attention being paid to Indigenous issues.
Other: There was further commentary on the Leaders’ debates along with mention of Treasury Board President Murray’s use of WeChat in the campaign while her official advice to MPs and the public service not to use WeChat given that its lack of encryption makes it vulnerable to interception and unauthorized dissemination.
Andrew Griffith, ethnic media provided by MIREMS