Ethnic Media Coverage Portrays Minority Liberals as Friendly to Immigrants

NCM reviewed election-related coverage in ethnic media in collaboration with MIREMS, a media monitoring service.

Other than a generally immigrant-friendly outlook, a review of ethnic media Oct. 27 – Nov. 1 shows that these outlets foresee a relatively stable government — “stable as a mountain” in the description of one Chinese outlet.

Canada can look forward to a period of “relaxed” immigration accompanied by steps to make life easier for newcomers, according to editorials published in a cross-section of ethnic media in the weeks since the Oct. 21 federal election.

While an NCM analysis shows no direct correlation between what the Liberals might do on the immigration file and the so-called “immigrant vote”, at least one newspaper in Toronto went to town with its reading of the tea leaves. “What this election proved, more than anything else, is that the immigrant vote cannot be dismissed as irrelevant or unimportant. In the cities where Trudeau won big, it was the immigrants who handed him his second term,” the Equality News weekly said in an editorial three days after the election.

Other than a generally immigrant-friendly outlook, a review of ethnic media Oct. 27 to Nov. 1 shows that these outlets foresee a relatively stable government — “stable as a mountain” in the description of one Chinese outlet — despite the Liberals not commanding a majority of MPs in the House of Commons. Corriere Canadese, an Italian paper from Toronto, said that Trudeau “dodged a bullet” at the polls by winning a plurality of seats, but fell short of a majority government.

NCM reviewed election-related coverage in ethnic media in collaboration with MIREMS, a media monitoring service. According to Blythe Irwin, sources director at MIREMS:

“The varying opinions showcase the diversity of the ethnic communities, with some outlets publishing stories in favour of the Liberals and some against,” he said. “It’s interesting to note when opinions are shared across publications from different ethnic communities. For example, Toronto Romanian newspaper Faptu’ Divers (from Toronto), as well as an article in the Chinese Van People website, both expressed concern over Trudeau’s re-election due to marijuana legalization,” Irwin added.

Photo by Марьян Блан | @marjanblan on Unsplash

While Pagini Romanesti, from Montreal in Romanian, was optimistic about the tenure of the incoming government, speculating that it might turn out to be the longest-lasting minority government in Canadian history, that opinion was hardly unanimous. Writing in the Milenio Stadium in Portuguese from Toronto, columnist Manuel da Costa didn’t see much to celebrate: “This election revealed attitudes and structural deficiencies in a country that will be difficult to repair with this prime minister and supporting seals. As a result of divisionary policies, the country is more fragmented than ever. The seeds of racism and separation have again been seeded in Quebec and your taxes are paying for it.”

‘Drug central’

The legalization of marijuana remains a divisive issue in some communities, with publications for Russian, Romanian and Chinese audiences offering scathing commentary on the Liberal win. In the words of Faptu’ Divers, Trudeau’s first four years in power was marked by just one achievement: the legalization of marijuana. “This legalization is so good that now nobody knows if the neighbour’s marijuana is legal or if it was purchased illegally,” the editorial in Romanian said.

In the same vein, Van People wrote, “[M]any Chinese Canadians voted in support of the Conservatives and are eager to remove Trudeau’s Liberals. Some Chinese Canadians are worried that if Trudeau serves another four years, Canada will become a refugee camp and ‘drug-use central’.”

The Russian Express weekly from Toronto said that Canadians who cast their votes for “progressives” would rue the day. “Nowadays in Canada” the paper stated, “any party that does not agree with the replacement of legal immigration with illegal migration, with carbon taxes to save the planet and with prosperity at the expense of future generations has less and less chance of winning the election.”

Griping in Chinese community

The tenor of coverage in the Chinese media was markedly different from the jubilation in some other large immigrant communities such as the Indian, Italian or Hispanic. Several media outlets drew comparisons between the influence of the Chinese community on Canada’s body politic and the sway of the Muslim community. (The former represents 4.6 per cent of the Canadian population (2016), while Muslims are estimated to be 3.2 per cent (2011).)

Both published near Toronto, and Van People from Vancouver, drew the attention of their readers to a Canadian Muslim Voting Guide put together by academics at Wilfred Laurier University, contrasting the platforms of the major parties on key topics. “This election guide not only provided the Muslim community guidance but also inspired other Canadian citizens, encouraging them to rethink several social issues in Canada,” Van People reported.

Superlife went further, arguing that the guide not only increased turnout, but may have also influenced the final outcome of the elections. On the other hand, “Leftist Chinese people criticize rightist Chinese people for not holding Canadian ‘mainstream values’, lacking foresight, clinging to the past and turning their back on their birthplace,” the web platform argued.

The Chinese media reviewed during this period seemed to offer few positives about the prime minister, with the Chinese Canadian Times weekly from Toronto comparing Trudeau’s next tenure as a “long march” presiding over a “fractured” country. The Sept Days weekly from Montreal, though, foresees good days ahead for Canada-China relations even amidst a period of political uncertainty.

Jubilation among Indo-Canadians

Photo by Pop & Zebra on Unsplash

Media organizations that appeal to the large diaspora from India (South Asians represent 5.6 per cent (2016) of the Canadian population, but this includes other nations in the sub-continent) were clearly ecstatic. The Swadesh weekly in Gujarati (one among scores of Indian languages) surmised that, “[Trudeau] might increase the number of Sikh members of his cabinet to get closer to the NDP, whose leader is a Sikh. The influence of the Sikh community is likely to increase in the Trudeau Government 2.0, which will also benefit Indians.”

The paper also anticipates a higher representation of Cabinet ministers with Indian heritage, with the Liberals alone accounting for 19 of the 20 elected Members of Parliament from this community. (The one other MP is Jagmeet Singh, leader of the NDP.)

The Hamdard weekly in Punjabi from Mississauga placed on record the fact that this will be the “first time that a new government will be in power with the support of a federal party led by a person of the Sikh faith”.

The paper also carried a rather intriguing commentary on its front page on Oct. 30 trying to fathom why the youth of Punjab (a state in India) are fascinated by Trudeau.



“They love Justin Trudeau so much that they were actually praying for Trudeau’s win in the federal election of Canada, while they did not show much interest in the local or provincial elections of India. The reason lies in the action taken by Trudeau in 2015 to open doors for immigrants, refugees and students. Students from Punjab took advantage of the liberal immigration policy and started to arrive in Canada in large numbers. The pace has not slowed down to date.”

The Ajit weekly’s Ontario edition in Punjabi delved even further into MPs who trace their lineage to India. Their numbers, they paper said, are going up from 19 to 20 in this Parliament, with 19 of them from Punjabi families, five of whom hail from one district in Punjab named Hoshairpur.

Visa boon

Publications in Punjabi, Polish, Chinese and Spanish wrote editorials anticipating even more immigration, ushering in a municipal nominee program (building on provincial nominee programs), more visas under the parent and grandparent category and the waiving of over $600 in citizenship fees.

El Popular, in Spanish from Toronto, called on the Hispanic community to work with their respective MPs to broaden the scope of a pilot program to regularize undocumented construction workers in the Greater Toronto Area.

Immigration consultant Irena Bartoszewicz, writing in Zycie in Polish from Toronto, called on her community to stop complaining about where Canada’s immigrants come from — a reference perhaps to the fact that a majority hail from Asia and Africa, not Europe — but rather to focus on the opportunities available. “Our compatriots are great professionals in various areas of life. Let’s take advantage of immigration plans for the coming years, as other ethnic groups in Canada do.”


This analysis is the last in an NCM series created as a service to readers who wish to follow news and commentary in languages other than English and French. The content stems from a partnership with MIREMS and MIREMS monitors 600 outlets and 30 language groups daily, by far the most comprehensive read of multicultural media available in Canada. 


What to expect from Canada’s immigration system in the next few years – Spanish

WEB – El Centro News (Weekly) – Toronto, 31/10/2019 – ARTICLE, Spanish

Rodrigo Díaz M. says the election of a Liberal minority government means the country’s immigration system will probably remain stable while they can maintain Parliament’s confidence. We can expect immigration targets to increase by about 10,000 newcomers a year after 2021. As a result, Canada could aspire to 370,000 immigrants for 2023. All eyes will now be on the Municipal Nominee Program, which the Liberals promised in order to help smaller cities attract more immigrants. In addition, the Liberals’ promise to renounce the costs of obtaining citizenship suggests the already high citizenship application rate will rise even further in the long run. The 2019 election campaign showed that Canada’s main parties share the same essential vision of immigration: welcoming immigrants is essential to the country’s economic development. This position also stems from political calculation: in 2019, it is virtually impossible to succeed in a Canadian federal election without the support of immigrant voters.

Ethnic Media Election Coverage 29 October to 3 November

This week about 60 post-election-related articles were analyzed, overwhelmingly with respect to the overall election results and ethnic voting patterns, along with analysis of what the results meant in terms of immigration policies and priorities.

Ethnic vote:

Commentary in Chinese media included:

“…the Chinese community should continue to reflect on the election as Chinese social media was being manipulated by certain political parties, but the Chinese community failed to respond to this as a whole. In contrast, mainstream Canadian voters had a very strong and clear political stand and were less influenced by the campaign tactics.” (Chinese, Chinese Canadian Times)

“According to Chinese Canadians, Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party is too far left, too silly and too naive. They think the Liberals have broken Canada, and that it’s time to let the Conservatives take over. They are known to be practical. The Americans have woken up and have given up on the Democrats by choosing a president that will do what he promises. Canada should learn from the US and change the culture. Hence, many Chinese Canadians voted in support of the Conservatives and are eager to remove Trudeau Liberals. Some Chinese Canadians are worried that, if Trudeau serves another four years, Canada will become a refugee camp and ‘drug-use central’” (Chinese, Van People)

“…a new topic for debate has surfaced. Left-wing Chinese Canadians are blaming their right-wing counterpart for not following Canada values, being short-sighted, and are annoyed by their ways of voting. So what counts as knowing how to vote? …Because the system is democratic, right-wing Chinese Canadians can still voice their disagreement with left-wing values. Canada needs critical thinkers and active participants in the voting debate. After the election, many left-wing Chinese media were showing off that they chose the winning party, while blaming the right-wing Chinese voters for not being open-minded. But if voters did not vote based on the values they believe in, then what is the point of voting?” (Chinese, Van People)

Comments by African Canadians:

“There’s no way in the world I can put my trust in the Conservative Party, which wants to cut immigration even though it is clear that new and old immigrants contribute enormously to the success of Canada as a country.” “… For me, it appears the Conservatives have no eyes…They don’t often see people like me, a common person from the African community. They always speak above my head, only interested in how many people they wish to prevent from entering Canada. Not whether immigrants should be encouraged to seek the Canadian lifestyle because everyone benefits from it.” (African Canadian quotes, New Canadian Media)

Greek media focussed on the four elected MPs of Greek origin: Niki Ashton (Churchill-Keewatinook Aski), Emmanouella Lambropoulos (Saint-Laurent), Annie Koutrakis (Vimy) and Peter Fragiskatos (London North Centre).

Korean media noted the election of the first Korean Canadian MP, Nelly Shin (Port Moody-Coquitlam) and the greater involvement of Korean women in politics. (Note: Currently subject to a recount.)

Latino media focussed on reasons why Latinos supported the Liberals in the GTA, some strategically doing so rather than voting NDP, with coverage of some of the Liberal MPs elected or re-elected: Julie Dzerowicz (Davenport), Pablo Rodri­guez (Honoré-Mercier), Soraya Martinez Ferrada (Hochelaga, subject to a recount) and those defeated.

Punjabi media noted that 20 MPs of Indian origin were elected, 19 of whom were of Punjabi origin, an increase of one since 2015:

“Trudeau had relaxed immigration laws and Indians had derived the most benefit from that. That is likely to continue. Similarly, a Trudeau government will bring more MPs of Indian origin into the cabinet. The last cabinet had quite a few and they helped him get a respectable number of seats in this election. He might increase the number of Sikh members of his cabinet to get closer to the NDP, whose leader is a Sikh. The influence of the Sikh community is likely to increase in the Trudeau Government 2.0, which will also benefit Indians.” (Gujarati, Swadesh)

Results: General results coverage continued to largely mirror mainstream media regarding regional divisions, how minority governments work, speculation about the continued leadership of CPC leader Scheer, and the impact of the Ford government on Conservatives in Ontario.

“The blame for the defeat lies with the Conservatives themselves. Andrew Scheer was unable to compete effectively with Justin Trudeau. How could he lose against the Liberal Party leader who was tarnished by high-profile scandals? In addition… the Conservative Party’s program consists of an overblown set of promises in which key ideas are drowned. For the most part, these promises do not differ fundamentally from Liberal ones, with the exception of the abolition of ‘climate fees’ and the restriction of illegal migration. The author believes that in order to win, the Conservatives need a clear idea that outlines the contours of the future in which Canadians will wish to exist — and they seem to need a different leader.” (Russian, Russian Express)

“What this election proved, more than anything else, is that the immigrant vote cannot be dismissed as irrelevant or unimportant. In the cities where Trudeau won big, it was the immigrants who handed him his second term. In spite of the other parties running ethnic minority candidates by the dozens to try to woo that vote, at the end of the day it was the Liberals who won the day, as they were judged on their actions in their first term, not by the colour of their candidates’ skin. Trudeau, after all, was the first Prime Minister in Canadian history to include so many visible minorities in his cabinet. He also elevated some to the government’s most senior positions, including defence and immigration.” (Caribbean, Equality News)

Immigration: Most articles and commentary were positive on continuation of Liberal immigration policies following the election results (Chinese, Filipino, Punjabi, Spanish, and Polish media). Italian media noted the expectation that the incoming government would rewrite or discard the Express Entry immigration system and restore legal status to foreign workers whose visas have expired (undocumented construction workers).

“Immigration levels are poised to rise even further under a Liberal minority government. Under the Liberals’ current plan, the target will increase from 330,800 in 2019 to 350,000 by 2021, and their election platform suggested this pattern would continue if they obtained a new mandate. All eyes will now be on the Municipal Nominee Program, which the Liberals promised in order to help smaller cities across Canada attract more immigrants. The Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP) will become permanent. The Liberals’ pledge to waive citizenship fees for eligible permanent residents suggests that Canada’s already high rate of citizenship acquisition will increase even further. Adults must currently pay $530 plus a right of citizenship fee’’ of $100 to support their citizenship application.” (Punjabi, Hamdard Daily)

Other issues with minimal covered included: citizenship (voting experience for new Canadians, voting rights for international students), multiculturalism (need to address racism, complaints upon call centre representatives with foreign accents), abortion (CPC leader Scheer’s maintaining that social conservatives can be trusted to not impose their values), foreign interference (PCO noting limited extent), candidates (Chinese names for non-Chinese candidates), polls (prevalence of strategic voting) and the election date conflicting with a Jewish holiday.

“…many Jews were concerned that the conflict between the election date and the holiday of Shemini Atzeret would lead to a lower proportion of observant Jews turning out to vote. After a concerted campaign by Jewish institutions to educate voters about their electoral options, and the opening of additional service points in ridings with large Jewish populations, Jewish candidates in those ridings were satisfied that the conflict did not hinder people from voting. However, some of the candidates believe the election date hindered their campaigns in other ways.” (Jewish, Canadian Jewish News)

Andrew Griffith, ethnic media provided by MIREMS

Liberals win minority – Greek

PRINT – Ta Nea (Weekly) – Montreal, 26/10/2019 – COLUMN, Greek

Georgios S. Giousmas – Justin Trudeau and the Liberals won the most seats in the election, this time with only a minority. Four Greek Canadians have been elected in their respective ridings: Niki Ashton, Emmanouella Lambropoulos, Annie Koutrakis and Peter Fragiskatos. One Greek Canadian candidate, Tom Pentefountas, did not win in his riding, despite his involvement in the community and his experience in politics. His riding, Laval-Les Iles, is a Liberal stronghold that was won by Faycal El Khouri. El Khoury has always been very present in the riding and he has ensured the Greek community has received its fair share and more of federal funding despite rumours to the contrary.