41 multicultural constituencies could tip the scales

 

Image source:  RADIO-CANADA / MARC GODBOUT

Canada now has 41 constituencies with a majority of visible minorities. That’s eight more than in the last federal election. These key battlefields, often pivotal counties, could play a decisive role on October 21st. The Conservatives who lost most of this block in 2015 are they better placed to regain these seats?

Something ironic happened in the riding of Ajax, a suburb of Toronto.

It has seen the largest increase in visible minority residents. A good of 11% in 5 years.

Irony? This county was represented by the former Minister of Immigration, Chris Alexander, defeated in 2015.

He presented the Conservative election promise to set up a whistleblower to report alleged cases of barbaric cultural practices . This announcement stuck to his skin and added to the controversial positions of the Conservatives on both the revocation of citizenship and the niqab.

All of this was going to be detrimental to Stephen Harper and his party, who had put so much effort into conquering cultural communities.

Linda and Ernest Ombrog, of Filipino origin, live in Ajax. In five years, this riding east of Toronto has seen the largest increase in Canada’s visible minority population. Photo: Radio-Canada / Marc Godbout

At the Ajax suburban train station, a couple from the Philippines is waiting for the next departure. Linda and Ernest Ombrog heard about this episode even though they arrived in Canada after the 2015 federal election.

We do not quite trust , says Ernest Ombrog. I do not think we will vote for the Conservatives , adds his wife.

A few meters further on is Abdol Nadi, a surgeon turned taxi driver. This Afghan says that most of the immigrants who settled in Ajax in recent years are mostly from Tajikistan, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Many are his clients.

Abdol Nadi of Afghan origin is driving his taxi in Ajax, Ontario. Photo: Radio-Canada / Marc Godbout

I feel mistrust in some, rightly or wrongly. Although I think the Liberals are far from perfect, I still prefer to support them , he says.

The campaign strategies of 2015 always seem to have left a bitter taste, at least in this county.

From 33 to 41

At the time, Ajax was not yet in federal ridings with a majority visible minority population. It is one of eight constituencies that have been added to the list since 2015.

Andrew Griffith, expert on multiculturalism, has broken down the data. This former senior immigration official notes that 27 of these 41 constituencies are in Ontario, 9 in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec each have 2 while another is in Manitoba.

“You can not win a majority government without winning those counties”.

– Andrew Griffith,multiculturalism expert

 

In the 2015 election, the Liberals won 85% of those ridings, 35 out of 41. The Conservatives and New Democrats had to settle for three seats each.

The population of Scarborough North County, Ontario, is 92% visible minorities. In Canada, 17 federal ridings now have a population of over 70% visible minorities. Photo: Radio-Canada / Marc Godbout

Andrew Griffith explains that we can no longer speak of immigrant populations as a monolithic block. Groups that arrived 20 years ago may have a tendency to be more conservative. But those who followed are not automatically and continuously linked to a political party , says the researcher.

To put them in precise boxes would be an error, according to him. They can make a left turn as they can turn right.

These are constituencies that can move from one party to another. Of course, this has a constant impact on the electoral strategies of the different parties.

– Andrew Griffith, multiculturalism expert

Andrew Griffith, Multiculturalism Expert and former Senior Official at the Department of Immigration. Photo: Radio-Canada / Marc Godbout

In 2011, the Conservatives won the majority of these counties. In 2015, they passed into the hands of the Liberals. And to be considered, in the Ontario provincial election of 2018, Doug Ford and the Progressive Conservatives had almost all rounded up.

Kenney, the master card?

The Conservatives would like to be able to count on Alberta Premier Jason Kenney in this campaign to help Andrew Scheer in some of those ridings in Ontario. This scenario is still on the table even if no strategy has yet been stopped.

Jason Kenney, formerly Harper’s Minister of Immigration, had been the architect of the Conservative Party’s great seduction of cultural communities.

But the simple fact of wanting to use the Alberta prime minister shows that the efforts of rapprochement have not been sufficient since the arrival of Andrew Scheer at the head of his party, said Ghanaharan S. Pillai.

Ghanaharan S. Pillai, host of political broadcasts at the CMR Tamil Station in Toronto. Photo: Radio-Canada / Marc Godbout

“The interaction between the communities and the Conservative Party is no longer what it was under the Harper years”.

– Ghanaharan S. Pillai

Yet they would have an opportunity to seize.

According to this Toronto Tamil radio and television host, who has been observing the political game in cultural communities for years, Justin Trudeau does not necessarily enjoy the same popularity as in 2015. While the Liberals have maintained their base, they do not have not widened, he adds.

But the Conservatives do not control everything. Beyond the field work, for Ghanaharan S. Pillai, the main challenge for them is to overcome an obstacle that could benefit his opponents: Doug Ford.

The Ontario premier was brought to power thanks to the support of this electorate, which is made up mostly of immigrants. Since then, Doug Ford has particularly bad press in multicultural media notes Andrew Griffith who regularly analyzes their content. They are very strict about it.

The media factor

This is a significant factor.

There are no less than 600 multicultural media in Canada. More than half are in the greater Toronto area. Their influence is important in the communities.

A resident of Brampton, Ontario reads a newspaper in Punjabi. Photo: Radio-Canada / Marc Godbout

Ghanaharan S. Pillai’s radio broadcasts show a serious breach of trust in Doug Ford after just 15 months.

How much will this mistrust affect Andrew Scheer?

How successful will the Conservative leader be in shadowing the 2015 campaign strategies?

The stake is major. After all, 41 ridings are now 9 more than the four Atlantic provinces combined. 41, almost the same number of seats as in British Columbia.

Original article:  https://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelle/1304276/canada-election-circonscriptions-multiculturelles-pouvoir?partageApp=appInfoiOS&accesVia=partage

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