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 superlife.ca 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 diversityvotes.ca. MIREMS monitors 600 outlets and 30 language groups daily, by far the most comprehensive read of multicultural media available in Canada. 

 

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

A Glimpse into Trudeau’s Victory through the Eyes of Ethnic Media

There is no way to tell if any of the ethnic media coverage made a difference to the final result, which saw the Liberals fall short of a majority by 13 seats, but gave the Conservatives a plurality of the votes. Photo: [Liberal Party of Canada]

 

NCM News Desk Analysis

Canada’s immigrant communities went to the polling booths on Oct. 21 just as divided as the rest of Canada, unsure whether Prime Minister Justin Trudeau deserved another term in office or if Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer or the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh could be trusted to run the country.

In the end, the Pagini Romanesti published in Romanian from Montreal, perhaps summed up the election results best: “Canadians do not hate him [Trudeau] enough to show him the exit door.” Another telling comment came from a Punjabi radio station in Oakville, Ont., where host Kamandeep Singh Gill saw the Liberal win as an answer to prayer: “People outside Canada, especially Punjab, were praying for a Trudeau win. Their prayers and phone calls have been answered.”

Kristen Price/Freephotos.com

New Canadian Media reviewed 146 ethnic media summaries provided by monitoring service MIREMS for the Oct. 18 to 25 period. Few media organizations appeared to endorse particular parties or candidates, but several encouraged their audience to go out and vote. A Tamil publication, the Canada Ulahathamilar weekly published from Toronto, had an article headlined “Voting: right or duty?” where they reminded readers that not voting could result in an unfavourable outcome for the immigrant community.

The Tamil paper was among the few that seemed to offer guidance to its readers, arguing that the Liberals were trying to “relax” immigration rules so that more permanent residents could become citizens and thus avail voting rights. The Conservatives, they said, are seen as champions of English and French-speaking Canadians, while being less friendly to refugees, immigrants and minorities.

However, at the other extreme, the Chinese Sing Tao in Vancouver said their community is “dissatisfied” with the Liberals over the way they are handling China relations, cannabis legislation and gay rights. The Chinese Readers weekly, also from Vancouver, weighed in for the Conservatives, alluding to the historically low turnout among those of Chinese origin. Virtually every media organization serving the Chinese diaspora in Canada moaned their audience’s lack of participation in politics and their seemingly marginal role in influencing policy.

Media monitoring company MIREMS’ President Andrés Machalski says:

“For me, the conversations that distinguished the ethnic media coverage were the ones on Canada’s foreign policy and its connection to homeland politics. Just look at the two largest communities: People in India prayed for Trudeau’s victory, Chinese Canadians debated decisions based on the Hong Kong – Mainland conflict or each party’s position on Canada –  China relations — subjects all parties did their best to avoid.”

Focus on the Chinese diaspora

Interestingly, this large diaspora community was in the crosshairs for at least one party, the Conservatives, who ran controversial ads on the Chinese WeChat social media platform saying that the Liberals would legalize “hard drugs” if they won another mandate. These ads came in for criticism not just in Chinese-language media, but also in other languages like the Goniec published in Polish from Toronto.

The ongoing protests in Hong Kong was mentioned as part of election coverage by several media outlets serving this large immigrant community, but opinion on both relations with China and how Canada should respond to the demands of the Hong Kong people was divided. Cai Hongan, a commentator for Chinese Readers, called these policy issues a “minefield” for all parties, while Vancouver People, an online outlet serving the Chinese community, did a report on the parties’ positions on Hong Kong and found the Liberals “the weakest”.

Several media outlets also took note of the fact that most candidates of Chinese origin come from Hong Kong, as opposed to Taiwan or mainland China. Sing Tao from Vancouver offered an opinion the day before the election speculating on a minority government. The paper said that the Liberals are good for the middle-class, while the Conservatives are better for the rich.

There is no way to tell if any of this coverage made a difference to the final result, which saw the Liberals fall short of a majority by 13 seats, but gave the Conservatives a plurality of the votes. The media serving the Chinese community said after the vote that there didn’t seem to have been an uptick in the turnout despite the momentous choices facing them, but 51.ca in Toronto did not mince words in its verdict: “Trudeau defeated his anti-China rival”.

The Chinese Readers had an interesting headline on Oct. 23: ‘Did China congratulate Trudeau?’ It quoted a China government spokesman responding to a reporter’s question, “We note the Canadian election result. We do not comment on it as it is Canada’s internal affair.”

One other theme that emerged from this NCM analysis was the mention of the “Ford factor” influencing the Conservative vote. On Oct. 18, writing in the Milenio Stadium weekly in Portuguese from Toronto, columnist Vincent Black predicted that Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s poor popularity ratings would haunt Scheer’s chances. The day after the election, radio host Yudhwir Jaswal attributed the poor Conservative performance in Ontario to Ford, on South Asian Pulse radio from Mississauga.

Spinning the results

Our analysis revealed this nugget of insight on NDP leader Jagmeet Singh’s poor performance, from a former Liberal minister and now publisher of Corriere Canadese in Italian, Joe Volpe:

“The NDP Leader, a turban-wearing Sikh, did not even make a dent in the Liberal Sikh fortress of Brampton-Mississauga. If he did not succeed in convincing his natural base to bet on him, why should we do so?”

Three days after the vote, the same paper crowed “Italian-Canadians keep Justin Trudeau afloat,” claiming that the number of Liberal Members of Parliament (MPs) voted from ridings with more than 10,000 voters of Italian origin went up from 24 to 25.

Similarly, the Korea Times Daily from Toronto celebrated the election of Nelly Shin for the Liberals in the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam, B.C., while the editor-in-chief of Goniec in Polish moaned, “In Canada, we don’t know how to take care of our Polish interest.” The editor-in-chief of another Polish media outlet, Fakty Czas from Toronto, attributed “last-minute switches” for the loss of Polish-Canadian candidates, except Irek Kusmierczyk for the Liberals from Windsor – Tecumseh.

Photo: [CHIN Radio Canada]

Silvia Mendez of CHIN Spanish radio from Toronto spoke of the success of several Latino candidates, including current Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez.

However, none were as impressive as the reporting by Hiiraan daily from Ottawa which serves the Somali community. Four Somali-Canadians, including current Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen, were running, the paper reported, stressing that all four “were once refugees”. The Hamdard daily from Toronto took note of the large number of candidates of Indian origin who were running as candidates.

Speculating on a possible alliance between the Liberals and the NDP in the coming weeks, the Iranian Canadian daily from Thornhill in Farsi, said immigration was unlikely to be the subject of “hard bargaining” between the two parties given their similar views on receiving newcomers.

Off the beaten track

The NCM analysis revealed a few news reports that — shall we say — may raise eyebrows. Here they are, without comment:

The Asian Star reported from Vancouver on Oct. 19 a story headlined, “‘Filthy’ candidates in elections supporting Zionism, homosexuality, Canadian imam says”. The report quoted a sermon by Sheikh Younus Kathrada of Victoria, B.C., as saying on Oct. 11, “On Judgment Day, you will stand before Allah and be asked about it. If you plan on voting, ask yourself prepare the answer first — what am I going to tell Allah when Allah asks me: ‘You voted for that filthy non-Muslim, why?’”

Readers of a paper in Russian from Toronto, the Canadian Courier, wondered why Elections Canada uses pencils rather than pens to mark ballots, arguing that pencil marks can easily be erased. “The answer was simple: millions of pencils were much cheaper, and it is almost impossible to erase or correct the markings because observers from all political parties witness the vote-counting process.”

Lastly, a Tamil radio program from Toronto station CMR FM 101.3 warned its listeners against ‘fake news’ being spread through social media memes targeting Trudeau. The station cited a Liberal plan to implement sharia Islamic law in Canada following their re-election and reports that Trudeau had converted to Islam as examples of anti-Muslim lies.

This analysis has been created as a service to readers who wish to follow news and commentary in languages other than English and French, in partnership with MIREMS and diversityvotes.ca. MIREMS monitors 600 outlets and 30 language groups daily, by far the most comprehensive read of multicultural media available in Canada.

See original article at New Canadian Media at https://newcanadianmedia.ca/trudeau-through-eyes-of-ethnic-media/

Ethnic Media Election Coverage 21-28 October

This week about 140 election-related articles were analysed, with about half prior to the election results.

Major issues covered:

Ethnic vote: Chinese, Italian, Latino, Muslim, Polish, Punjabi, Russian, Somali and Tamil media all had articles on the importance of voting, the various initiatives to encourage voting and  an analysis of the number of ridings where communities formed a higher percentage of the population.

Chinese language media focussed particularly on the relatively lower voting rates and thus political influence of Chinese Canadians compared to other groups and the different voting patterns between Hong Kong and mainland Chinese:

“Wong said Chinese Canadians became involved in politics late and had a rough start. He said the community needs more organizations to encourage Chinese voters to participate in politics. The fact certain ridings had more than one Chinese candidate created more complications. In comparison, Wong said we should learn from South Asians. Chinese voters need to know the benefits of voting. If Chinese Canadians vote, federal parties are likely to pay more attention to their community and encourage more Chinese candidates to run for positions. This is still not understood by newcomers. South Asians are very religious, and this has helped to unite them as a community. Wong said we do not have this kind of bond in the Chinese community. Host Michael Shao is curious as to whether that is the reason Chinese people are not as united. Wong agreed and said more traditional Chinese Canadians focus more on taking care of themselves and their families instead of thinking about the country. Shao asked whether this hindered them from voting. Wong said yes. Some parties do not think the Chinese vote matters, yet they still come and campaign in ridings populated by Chinese residents. Wong said they are afraid that if Chinese Canadians do vote, it will impact the outcomes. There have been many Chinese candidates in the past, but not many became cabinet ministers.” (Chinese, Fairchild Radio AM 1430 News Beat)

Italian media noted the success of Liberals in the 33 ridings where Italian Canadians numbered 10,000 or more. Polish media commentary noted a possible link with the defeat of two of three Polish Canadian candidates to their being under the banner of the Conservatives. Muslim media noted the re-election of Muslim candidates running under the Liberal banner. Somali media urged Somali Canadians to vote Liberal citing, the Ford government cuts in Ontario as a reason to vote Liberal.

An article in Russian media noted:

“…on Facebook, our compatriots [Russian-speaking Canadians], who are ardent fans of the Conservatives, are outraged that the crosses on the ballots had to be put in pencils. In their opinion, these marks would have been easy to erase. The newspaper asked experts why they [Elections Canada] didn’t use ink pens. The answer was simple: millions of pencils were much cheaper, and it is almost impossible to erase or correct the inscriptions because observers from all parties participate in the vote counting.” (Russian, Canadian Courier)

Results: General results coverage in all outlets surveyed largely mirrored mainstream media with more specific issue related covered under other headings.

Campaign: Coverage focussed in various media on the general importance of voting. In addition, there were a number of articles on the number of expatriates registered to vote, the ongoing invoking by the Liberals of Ontario Premier Ford as a reason to not vote Conservative and the overall negative tone of the campaign:

“Vote! The electoral campaign was confusing, marked by personal attacks, and also embarrassing lies. But you, the voters, are the ones who can bring the politicians to their feet on the ground, who must remind him [sic] that he is in your service, and not the other way around. You have on Monday, on voting day, an important opportunity to do so. Vote without having higher expectations from politicians than you would have from yourselves. They are people. They will make mistakes and they will not be able to be perfect, no matter the party. Any vote is good and important! Even the one made from the heart, the one made strategically, and the one made to punish the party or politician who disappointed you. There is no stupid vote in a democracy. Think about, if you still choose Canada as your adopted country, how you want the country to look, how you want to leave it for your children.” (Romanian, Pagini Romanesti)

Immigration: Coverage included a mix of party platform comparisons prior to the election and assessment that the re-election of the Liberal government meant few changes beyond the platform commitments.

“A caller said that many people have been highlighting Syrian refugees and international students, and have been linking increasing crime to it. Where are they now? He said all the issues were confined to radio shows. Responding to the caller, Kamandeep Gill said that the election result means we like the Liberals’ immigration policies. Some were talking about Justin Trudeau’s flexible immigration policies as a major issue. However, the results show that we actually want the same immigration policies to continue. A caller said that this election actually defeated divisive thinking and divisive politics. Another caller voiced the same thoughts and said that Indian-style divisive politics should not be encouraged in Canada.” (Punjabi, CJMR 1320 Desi Rang Morning)

Candidates:

  • Brampton South: NDP candidate Mandeep Kaur criticized the Liberal government for not addressing healthcare issues and the need for a second hospital. Conservative candidate Ramandeep Brar criticized the Liberal government for not meeting Brampton’s infrastructure needs along with the need for better integration of international students (both defeated).
  • Brampton West: While Liberal incumbent Kamal Khera (re-elected) defended the government’s record, Conservative candidate Murarilal Thapliyal committed to work towards meeting Brampton’s infrastructure needs.
  • Davenport: Julie Dzerowicz, Liberal incumbent, was profiled (re-elected).
  • Humber River-Black Creek: Judy Sgro, Liberal incumbent, was interviewed on immigration (re-elected).
  • Laval-les-Iles: The loss of Greek Canadian CPC candidate Tom Pentefountas was covered in Greek media.
  • Markham-Unionville: Alan Ho, Liberal candidate, was interviewed (re-elected).
  • Port Moody—Coquitlam: The victory of Nelly Shin, Conservative candidate and first Korean Canadian MP, was covered:

“Nelly Shin’s winning the seat in Parliament means a lot to Korean community in Canada. It would have been better if she were a Liberal candidate, but hopefully Shin will enhance her influence in politics and represent Korean-Canadians.” (Korean, The Korea Times Daily)

  • Scarborough-North: David Kong, Conservative candidate, was interviewed (defeated).
  • Scarborough-Rouge Park: Kingsley Kwok, NDP candidate, was interviewed (defeated).
  • Vaughan-Woodbridge: Francesco Sorbara, Liberal incumbent’s accusation that the Conservative Party claims the Liberals would increase property taxes and the carbon tax was covered (re-elected).
  • Vimy: Greek media covered the victory of Liberal Annie Koutrakis, noting the controversy over her replacement of previous Liberal MP, Eva Nassif.
  • York Centre: Andrea Vazquez Jimenez, NDP candidate was profiled (defeated).

China: There was considerable pre- and post-election discussion of relations with China, contrasting the positions of the Liberals and Conservatives, what was perceived as relative silence by the parties on Hong Kong/China issues, and the differences between Hong Kong and Mainland China origin Canadians on China-related issues:

“… U.S. President Trump congratulated Trudeau on Twitter: ‘Canada is well served over the past four years.’ The writer says that this feedback from the South comes as no surprise considering that Trudeau has been obedient to the U.S. After all, in the past four years, Canada’s economic and political interests have been closely tied with the United States – this can be seen when Canada dared to openly politically kidnap the executive of a foreign company. But this U.S. government believes in ‘America First’, so the writer says that being tied too tightly to such a government is bound to sacrifice a lot of this country’s (Canada’s) interests.” (Chinese, Chinese Readers)

Social media: The CPC WeChat ad and candidate comments falsely claiming that a Liberal government would legalize hard drugs was covered, along with an interview with PM Trudeau stating the government had no such plans.

Multiculturalism: The incident of an elderly couple being called Nazi scum by protesters at a Bernier event was covered, along with online rumours that PM Trudeau wanted to implement sharia law in Canada.

Third party: Articles noted that unions were the largest funders of third party election advertising.

Citizenship and others: An article noted the political importance of citizenship ceremonies in encouraging voting for the Liberals:

“The author said there were many people at the citizenship oath ceremony. There were seniors, babies, Indian immigrants, Arabic immigrants and some Chinese immigrants. There were a few dozen immigrants who were getting naturalized, and there were different skin colours and ethnicities and a huge range in age. A month after receiving the right to vote, the author’s family member cast their first vote in their lifetime. The author could not help but wonder about the other people who took the oath and became citizens that day; who would they vote for? After the election results came out, media outlets were asking how Trudeau achieved his revival. The author said he/she thinks those radio hosts must not have attended a citizenship oath ceremony in a very long time, otherwise they would have known that Trudeau’s victory could be foreseen at the naturalization events. You can almost say that, from the time of the 2015 federal election, the Liberal Party has been preparing its vote inventory. The author provided more details and argued that the future of Canada belongs to the immigrants of Canada and that the one who controls immigration will be able to influence Canada’s future.” (Chinese, lahoo.ca)

Other issues included: housing costs, polling on the relative importance of issues and NDP leader Singh’s statement after the election that he would press hard for electoral reform.

Andrew Griffith, ethnic media provided by MIREMS

Muslim Link: Muslim Canadians Who Won in the 2019 Federal Election

Muslim Link has included statistics from diversityvotes.ca on the immigrant and visible minority populations living in each riding where a Muslim MP was elected.  Read the full article at:

https://muslimlink.ca/news/muslim-canadians-who-won-in-the-2019-federal-election

Ethnic Media Election Coverage 13-20 October

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)

Candidates:

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

From National Post: After accusing Tories of fear-mongering in Chinese-language ads, Liberals face same question

The Liberals said the Conservatives were stealing from the ‘American right-wing playbook’ by ‘spreading false information to scare and mislead voters’

After accusing Conservatives of fearmongering in Chinese-language election ads, the Liberals are now facing questions about whether they’re guilty of doing the same thing.

A Liberal party ad posted on Facebook this week features a prominent picture of a rifle and a tagline that says “The Conservative Party wants looser gun regulation.” An accompanying caption says: “Once the Conservative Party takes power, these assault rifles will spread through the streets. The Liberal Party will strengthen gun control, and crack down on gun crime.”

Asked Thursday by a Global News reporter if the Liberals were engaged in the spread of disinformation just like they had accused the Conservatives of doing, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said: “We have made the commitment to ban military-style assault weapons across this country. (Conservative Leader) Andrew Scheer has clearly said he will not. Indeed, he wants to reverse some of the changes we made to render it easier for people to access weapons.”

Liberal party spokesman Joe Pickerill later added by email: “We will always make sure our position is clear and available to everyone and contrast that to what the Conservatives are proposing so Canadians have access to the facts.”

But Conservative party spokesman Simon Jefferies said the ad was “nothing but more lies.” He went on to outline Scheer’s plans to tackle violent crime and gun crime, including ending automatic bail for gang members, ensuring prison time for possessing a smuggled firearm and creating stronger background checks for gun licences. He did not, however, say anything about the party’s plans to change access to guns themselves.

Just last week, it was the Liberals who accused the Conservatives of using scare tactics in various Chinese-language ads.

A Liberal Facebook ad in Chinese attacks Andrew Scheer’s gun policy. Liberal Party of Canada/Facebook

 

One ad on Facebook featured an image of someone using a razor blade to cut white powder. “Previously, Trudeau legalized marijuana, and now he plans to legalize hard drugs!” the caption read. A similar ad also reportedly appeared on the popular Chinese-language messaging platform WeChat.

A related Facebook video stated that the Liberals “intend to legalize hard drugs, just like they legalized marijuana. Only Scheer’s Conservatives can stop Trudeau’s hard drug legalization plan and protect the safety of our children.”

 

The Liberals said at the time that the Conservatives were stealing from the “American right-wing playbook” by “spreading false information to scare and mislead voters.” Trudeau has previously stated he has no plans to pursue further decriminalization of drugs.

But Jefferies cited video clips in which Trudeau states he is not considering legalizing hard drugs “right now” or “at this time.”

“If Justin Trudeau tells us precisely when he is going to legalize dangerous drugs we will amend our advertisements to reflect this new information,” he said.

Asked by the Post if both parties were guilty of fearmongering, representatives did not respond. They also would not say why certain ads were being put out in Chinese language only.

Niraj Sinha, founder and CEO of Maple Diversity Communications, said both parties are clearly attempting to influence the growing numbers of Chinese voters, particularly in Ontario and B.C.

This Conservative Chinese-language ad alleges that the Liberals are going to legalize hard drugs. Conservative Party of Canada/Facebook

Traditional Eastern cultures, she said, tend to view drugs and guns differently than the West. Research has shown that Chinese immigrants tend to cite well-being and opportunities for their children as the primary reason for their immigration to Canada.

“Drugs and guns can be something directly relatable to their younger generations. That’s why this Chinese segment (even South Asians) will view it more sensitively,” she said.

Andres Machalski, president of MIREMS International, an ethnic-media monitoring company, said the ads appeared to be a “desperate expression of the lack of real distinction between the party platforms in many issues that concern immigrants.”

“What for me is astounding is the fact that Canadian politicians have so little respect for the intelligence of our ethnic communities that they think they can dupe them with fake claims about their opponents’ platforms. And that is a crime against democracy in my view.”

Douglas Quan
Douglas Quan

Translation provided by Niko Bell

Original article posted in National Post: https://nationalpost.com/news/politics/election-2019/after-accusing-tories-of-fear-mongering-in-chinese-language-ads-liberals-face-same-question

 

Ethnic Media Election Coverage 7-12 October

This week about 160 election-related articles were analysed.

Major issues covered:

Immigration: Immigration coverage was dominated by CPC leader Scheer’s proposals to address asylum seekers crossing at Roxham Road and the Safe Third Country Agreement with the USA. There were a number of articles contrasting party positions, particularly with respect to immigration levels and refugees. The campaign announcement by the Liberals of a “Municipal Nominee Program” was covered. South Asian media had a number of reports on immigration fraud with respect to international students who came as students but whose real purpose was to work and eventually become permanent residents:

“Andrew Scheer was at the Quebec border today, where he met with refugees putting in claims to enter Canada. Now Trudeau needs to give a substantial statement about what he will do about controlling immigration, or at least refugees who put in bogus claims to enter the country. This will give reassurance to Canada’s voters that something will be done about the situation. Students in India are also watching these elections very closely, because if the Liberals win again, they will have a chance at getting in. If the Conservatives win, the situation will be a lot more difficult.” (Punjabi, CMJR 1320 Apna Punjab)

Candidates:

An article highlighted that there were 15 Chinese Canadian candidates running in British Columbia, the majority being either CPC or PPC.

CPC leader Sheer’s rally for Mississauga-area candidates was covered.

  • Beaches-East York: Mae J. Nam, NDP candidate, was interviewed in Korean media.
  • Brampton Centre: Baljit Bawa, PPC candidate, continued to receive coverage:

“He said that Brampton has been neglected by all governments.  He said that neither the previous Conservative government nor the current Liberal government that has five MPs from Brampton have done anything for the City.” (Punjabi, Chin FM 91.9 Ramz Punjabi)

  • Brampton East: Saranjit Singh, NDP candidate’s promises that the NDP would provide funding for a hospital and university was covered. Commentary noted the race was particularly tight given that Liberal incumbent Raj Grewal is not running as he is addressing his gambling addiction.
  • Brampton North: Arpan Khanna, CPC candidate, received coverage for his critique of limited transit funding (23 buses) compared to other regions.
  • Brampton South: Sonia Sidhu, Liberal incumbent, received coverage for her listing of Liberal achievements.
  • Brampton West: The arguments in favour of a new Brampton hospital by Navjit Kaur, NDP candidate, were covered:

“There is only one hospital in Brampton for 600,000 people. If you compare Mississauga and Brampton, Mississauga that has less population than Brampton has three hospitals.”(Punjabi, Chin FM 91.9 Ramz Punjabi)

Roger Sampson, PPC candidate, was interviewed on immigration:

“… we need to see how we can better integrate immigrants and refugees into the Canadian society. The reduction in immigration will help review and reform our immigration policy. Sampson said that the PPC wants to limit the number of immigrants to 100,000 – 150,000 for now to integrate them better and move forward.” (Punjabi, WTOR 770 AM Radio South Asian Pulse Prime Time)

Harinderpal Hundal, Communist Party candidate, was interviewed.

  • Burnaby North-Seymour: The removal of Heather Leong as a Conservative candidate after the nomination deadline was covered, noting that she nevertheless would remain on the ballot as Conservative given that the ballots have been printed.
  • Calgary Shepard: The complaint by Conservative candidate Tomasz Kmiec against his Liberal rival Del Arnold spreading false information that Kmiec lived in Quebec and not in the riding was covered:

“Political parties should avoid using dirty tactics like attacking someone’s reputation or spreading false information about candidates.” (Polish, Wiadomosci)

  • Mississauga Malton: It was noted that the Conservatives had nominated a weak candidate, Tom Varughese, against Liberal incumbent and minister Navdeep Bains:

“… this is worse than a friendly match — a term that is used when a political party fields a weaker candidate with the purpose of not giving a respected leader of the opposing party a strong fight.” (Punjabi, Canadian Punjabi Post)

  • Nunavut: PM Trudeau’s visit to Nunavut to support candidate Megan Pizzo-Lyall was covered.
  • Richmond Centre: An all candidates meeting was covered.
  • Scarborough Centre: Salma Zahid, Liberal incumbent for Scarborough Centre, was interviewed.

“Pakistan has been included on the Student Direct Stream List. The SDS will make it much easier for Pakistani students to come to Canada.” (Urdu, Saaz-O-Awaz)

  • Vimy: There was more coverage of Liberal MP Eva Nassif allegations of being forced out of the nomination race (Annie Koutrakis is the Liberal candidate).
  • West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country: The riding and candidates were profiled with the following prediction:

“The riding was established in 1996, populated by mostly Caucasian residents. With the immigration strategy becoming more flexible in the 1990s, an influx of Chinese and Iranian immigrants began to settle in the area as well. Conservative candidate Gabrielle Loren is at an advantage in this riding, because the upper class are more in favour of Conservative policies. If Loren focuses on promoting an economic focus in her campaign, she may be able to gain support from right-wing voters.” (Chinese, Van People)

Campaign: There continued to be reporting on voting procedures and initiatives to increase participation, where the leaders were concentrating their activities, the general contrast between the Liberals and Conservatives and a lament that substantive issues were not being addressed. The contrast between Alberta Premier Kenney’s active support and Ontario Premier Doug Ford being forced to sit out the campaign was noted:

“It has become a political discussion that Tory Leader Scheer is expecting that Jason Kenney will succeed in bringing immigrant voters to the Tories which he (Scheer) himself couldn’t do in a region dominated by immigrant voters. He cannot connect with Ontarians broadly. Jason Kenney’s participation in the federal Conservative campaign is an interesting twist, but what is surprising is the party’s stopping a premier like Doug Ford from contacting voters. By calling Kenney from the other end of the country for his campaign, Andrew Scheer is giving the impression to the voters that his camp badly needs an impressive leader. The author of the editorial says that victory or defeat in any war depends on which party instills a sense of fear, and the same principle applies to the elections. The Tories may have to pay a big price for ignoring this fact.” (Punjabi, Canadian Punjabi Post)

Leaders’ debate: Coverage of the debate included some interesting commentary:

“The paper talks specifically about Bill 21. It says Canadians were expecting their leaders to strongly oppose that Quebec bill. The Sikh community was expecting Jagmeet Singh in particular to strongly oppose it, but that did not happen. The minority communities are unhappy to see that. Only Trudeau said he opposes this bill and if Liberals come to power again, he would intervene in this matter. This clear stand of Trudeau brings him closer to the minorities. That was reflected in an improvement in the Liberal standing after the debate.” (Punjabi, Hamdard Daily)

“All these debates could achieve one thing — making Trudeau the prime minister of Canada once again — not due to Trudeau’s ability, but due to the others’ inability.” (Tamil, Yarl Inayam)

“During the debate, Maxime Bernier said that only 6% of Canadians want to increase immigration. The rest of Canadians are either in favour of reducing immigration or having it remain at the current levels. François Legault of the Coalition Avenir Québec promised to reduce immigration levels in his immigration campaign and he was elected to form the government. It clearly indicates that a discussion should be initiated on the number of immigrants. Do we need 100,000 immigrants or 400,000 immigrants each year? Co-host Shaili Saini agreed with Jaswal and said that she agrees with Bernier’s emphasis on the integration of immigrants to contribute better to the Canadian economy. Jaswal called for an independent portfolio for integration.” (Punjabi, WTOR 770 AM Radio South Asian Pulse Prime Time)

Citizenship: The campaign promise by the Liberals to eliminate citizenship fees continued to receive coverage. Andrew Scheer’s dual Canadian-American citizenship drew some commentary:

“Silvia Mendez cited Andrew Scheer saying that he didn’t say anything because no one asked him, and radio host Fabian Merlo burst out laughing. Fabian Merlo said it’s like the scene in ‘Lord of the Rings’ where the character Gollum is asked why he didn’t answer, and Gollum replies, ‘Because Master never asked me’. … Silvia Mendez said that Scheer having dual citizenship has nothing to do with being prime minister, but the problem is that Scheer previously criticized the governor general for having dual citizenship. He had asked how she can be Canada’s governor general if she has dual citizenship. Fabian Merlo said the issue is that Scheer wasn’t honest, not the fact that he has dual citizenship. Silvia Mendez wonders who Scheer voted for in the last US election. The question about how Scheer’s interests and policies line up is causing a stir.” (Spanish, CHIN 91.9 FM Spanish)

Poll: The latest Angus Reid poll was covered with the focus being on which immigration levels and which leaders the public had more confidence to manage immigration:

“More Canadians trust Scheer than Trudeau to manage immigration.” (Farsi, Daily7, Mandarin, Talent Vision Canada News)

“Immigration: Over half of Canadians agree with Trudeau.” (Portuguese, Correio da Manha)

“Immigration and migration: Canadians disagree with Trudeau.” (Russian, Russian Express)

“More Canadians trust Scheer on immigration.” (Greek, CKDG FM 105.1 Greek)

Foreign interference: Ongoing coverage of the Rapid Response Team’s finding with respect to the Alberta election continued. Commentary on possible Chinese and Indian interference included:

“Twitter identified some 200,000 accounts, many of which were deliberately and specifically attempting to sow political discord in Hong Kong, including undermining the legitimacy and political positions of the protest movement on the ground. According to Twitter’s research, most of the accounts and their subversive activity has been state-backed. Canadian pro-democracy supporters have been targeted with threats published on the Beijing-controlled WeChat platform, and it’s been alleged that many of the Hong Kong counter-protests in Canadian cities have been organized by Chinese consulates.” (Chinese, Epoch Times)

“A caller said that Akhand Paths (continuous recitation of sacred religious texts in Sikhism) are being organized in Punjab, India for the victory of Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party in federal elections. Some people even say that anyone who votes for the NDP or any other party will be considered traitors. Host Sandip Bhatti said that he also heard about Akhand Paths to vote for and support Trudeau. At the time of the election in India, the Indian community in Canada calls people in India to vote for a specific party or candidates of our choice. We even visit India to help them in their elections. When we interfere to influence voters in India, the people in India can also try to interfere in Canadian elections.” (Punjabi, CHTO AM 1690 Hulchul Radio)

Multiculturalism: Stories included the limited impact of Liberal leader Trudeau’s blackface and the harassment of an older woman at a protest against PPC leader Bernier and the subsequent closure of Soufi’s given the attack on their son (one of the demonstrators) and social media threats.

China: Coverage noted that relations with China, like other foreign policy issues, has not been that prominent an issue, more commentary by former Ontario minister Chan arguing that the West has always distrusted China and CPC leader Scheer expressing concerns regarding the situation in Hong Kong.

Climate Change: A number of stories contrasted party positions.

Other: The lead-up to a potential strike by Ontario public school support workers along with the potential political impact was covered.

Andrew Griffith, ethnic media provided by MIREMS

Douglas Todd: How the election is playing out in local Chinese-language media

Opinion: More than 300,000 people in Hong Kong hold Canadian passports — and October 21 marks the first Canadian election in which they can cast a ballot.

The conflict between Hong Kong and China. The pros and cons of immigration and refugees. Beliefs on abortion and same-sex issues. The tension between paying taxes and benefiting from social services.

Specialists who monitor Canada’s roughly 290 Chinese-language newspapers, websites, radio stations and TV channels say the political coverage not only echoes the mainstream media, it also reveals the distinct concerns of people with origins in East Asia.

Immigration and refugee issues garner more attention in the Chinese-language media than they do among the general Canadian public, say professional observers.

And even though Chinese-Canadians with roots in Hong Kong, Taiwan and China show a complex range of political opinions, Andrew Griffith, a former senior director in Ottawa’s immigration department, has concluded: “There is more of a conservative trend among Chinese-Canadians than, for example, South Asians.”

Like other Canadians, the 1.3 million people of Chinese origin switch party allegiances according to broader political patterns, said Griffith, who works with Diversityvotes.ca, a website highlighting political coverage in the country’s ethnic media. But their votes could make a crucial difference in dozens of urban swing ridings with large immigrant and visible-minority populations.

Roughly three out of four Chinese-Canadians live in either Greater Toronto, where they make up 11 per cent of voters, or Metro Vancouver, where they account for 20 per cent of voters. In the Vancouver suburb of Richmond, which has two federal ridings, 54 per cent of the population is ethnic Chinese.

Andres Malchaski, president of MIREMS International, which monitors the ethnic-language media and helped create Diversityvotes.ca, says that, while a large portion of Canadians tell pollsters the environment is their top election issue, that issue is far outweighed in the Chinese-language media by debates over immigration and refugees.

Chinese-Canadian media outlets, including their discussion forums, contain frequent criticism of Liberal leader Justin Trudeau for bringing in more than 60,000 Syrian refugees since 2015, said Machalski, who has analyzed Canada’s ethnic media for three decades.

Media outlets that target Canadians from China are often wary of refugees from Muslim countries, Machalski said, an attitude that reflects the way China’s authoritarian leaders have restricted the religious freedom of millions of Uighur Muslims.

“The feelings expressed by some of the calls and comments on phone-in shows and in newspaper columns (in Canada) certainly support the idea there will be segments of Chinese voters that might even go so far as to support the People’s Party of Canada,” which is calling for reducing immigration and refugee levels, Machalski said.

Still, Machalski emphasized that the views expressed in the Chinese-language outlets in Canada offer a “kaleidoscope” of perspectives, which often reflect whether their respective audiences are connected to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Hanoi or Beijing.

That is especially so in regards to the recent anti-Beijing protests in the financial centre of Hong Kong.

More than 300,000 people living in Hong Kong hold Canadian passports — and Oct. 21 marks the first Canadian election in which they can cast a ballot, says a Diversityvotes.ca article by Blythe Irwin.

The Chinese media is picking up on everything Canadian politicians are saying about the special administrative region of China. Ethnic-Chinese media commentators, she says, are both approving and sceptical of the way Trudeau says he is “extremely concerned” about Hong Kong, while Conservative leader Andrew Scheer went further by declaring in a tweet: “We are all Hong Kongers.”

Fenella Sung, a former Chinese-language radio show host, said that Chinese-media perspectives about the conflict largely reflect whether the Canadian-based outlets are aimed at audiences rooted in Hong Kong or China.

It’s not surprising that readers of media directed at the large mainland-Chinese population in Canada “would think the Hong Kong issue is China’s internal affair and that it would not be appropriate for Canadian politicians to comment,” said Sung, who is a member of Canadian Friends of Hong Kong.

Long-time immigrants from Hong Kong, Taiwan and other parts of East Asia, Sung said, tend to have political concerns that are in line with Canadians at large, such as jobs, housing and protecting the environment.

“But newer and younger immigrants, mostly from mainland China, are very consistent and focussed on economic growth, expansion of trade, less government bureaucracy, and lower taxation. They don’t like social spending.”

Prior to the B.C. election in 2016, some opinion polls suggested that, even while the province’s more than 500,000 ethnic Chinese voters held diverse views, they generally leaned to the centre-right B.C. Liberals, and had almost no interest in the Greens.

In an article on politics and Canada’s ethnic media published Wednesday in Policy Options magazine, Griffith said Liberal and Conservative party approaches to same-sex marriage and abortion have been widely commented upon, suggesting so-called “family values” are important to many recent immigrants and people of colour.

“While the Liberals and Conservatives get widespread coverage of their electoral promises and commitments, the NDP and Green Party are under-covered,” Griffith added, after reviewing 1,200 recent articles in the ethnic media.

“In contrast, the People’s Party of Canada, given its focus on restricting immigration and its initial exclusion from the leaders’ debate, received more than twice as much substantive coverage as the NDP and Greens combined.”

Chinese-language and other ethnic media outlets in Canada don’t necessarily reinforce cultural silos, Griffith says. But it’s clear they also offer a special window into political discussions of particular concern to certain ethnic groups.

Douglas Todd

See original article: https://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/douglas-todd-how-the-election-is-playing-out-in-local-chinese-language-media

 

 

How does ethnic media campaign coverage differ?

Reprinted with permission of Policy Options

Photo: NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh chats with young supporters during a campaign stop at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg on Sept. 24, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Canadians who rely on ethnic media as their main information source receive coverage of issues comparable to that of mainstream media.

A major focus of this 2019 election for the various campaigns will be courting voters from immigrant and visible minority communities, who are a majority of the population in 41 ridings, and 20 percent or more in an additional 93 ridings. All parties will attempt to reach those voters through candidate selection, conventional and online advertising, and both “mainstream” and ethnic media outlets.

While ethnic media coverage is unlikely to be decisive in influencing voter intentions, given its coverage of many of the same issues as “mainstream” counterparts, it may very well be influential in swing ridings with significant numbers of visible minority community members and immigrants, where some rely on ethnic media organizations as their main news source. MIREMS (Multilingual International Research and Ethnic Media Services) and I recently set up the www.diversityvotes.ca website to shed more light on what issues ethnic media outlets are covering, and how riding demographics might influence electoral strategies.

Ethnic media organizations tend to reflect the population and dominant language groups of their audiences. Out of the close to 800 outlets operating across Canada, 60 percent are based in Ontario, 16 percent in British Columbia and 12 percent each in Alberta and Quebec. Over one-third of ethnic media outlets operate in Punjabi, South Asian English or Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese); another third use European languages such as Spanish, Italian and Russian.

All major national issues are covered by ethnic media organizations, whether controversies over China (particularly former ambassador John McCallum’s comments about Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou), the new Canada Food Guide or the challenge to the election date by some Orthodox Jews. The ethnic media overall focuses its content on news coverage. Analysis, opinion and commentary form between 10 and 20 percent for most language groups, based on the data we have collected.

These outlets will also focus more on ridings where there are candidates from their particular ethnic and/or language group. Greater space will be given to issues that are of particular relevance to the group.

So how do ethnic media outlets influence party campaigns and their strategies? What have we learned from the more than 1,200 media articles analyzed during the pre-writ period (July 20 to September 7)?

The ethnic media largely mirrors the mainstream media in its coverage of election issues and trends. National issues such as ethics, Canada-China relations and climate change are widely covered, as well as party electoral strategies, promises and tactics. This reflects the fact that most articles are taken and translated from the mainstream media. The Liberal values positioning on same-sex marriage and abortion and the delayed and confused Conservative response were widely covered and commented upon.

However, some issues are less well covered, reflecting internal community sensitivities or possible foreign interference. For example, there has been relatively less coverage of some of the divisions between Hong Kong and mainland Chinese-Canadians and of the Chinese government’s efforts to strengthen the pro-China narrative.

Given resource and time constraints, ethnic media outlets have relatively less in-depth issue coverage and emphasize “horse race” aspects of the campaign. However, major reports and studies are covered to provide depth.

Coverage of party nominations, candidates and individual ridings reflects riding demographics (for example, there is extensive Punjabi-media coverage of ridings in Brampton, Ontario). Moreover, this focus is amplified by the relative strength of various language groups, explaining the predominance of Chinese and Punjabi media outlets. Candidate profiles often provide more information on candidates’ views, such as the emphasis by some Conservative candidates on family values. Nomination battles and disputes, particularly when these involve conflict between communities, attract commentary, as seen in the ongoing attention in the Italian-language media to the riding of Saint-Léonard-Saint-Michel, where the former Liberal candidate, Hassan Guillet, was not of Italian origin.

While the Liberals and Conservatives get widespread coverage of their electoral promises and commitments, the NDP and Green Party are under-covered. In contrast, the People’s Party of Canada, given its focus on restricting immigration and its initial exclusion from the leaders’ debate, received more than twice as much substantive coverage as the NDP and Greens combined.

Commentary and opinion in most sources capture a range of views, with some criticism of the tone and substance of both major parties and their campaigns and of some of the more transparent attempts to play identity politics (for instance, the Liberal promise for an apology to Italian Canadians for internment during the Second World War).  Other diaspora or “homeland” issues also attract commentary, such as the expression of concern by Liberal MP Ramesh Sangha on the excessive influence of Canadian Sikhs on India policy.

Overall, while coverage may vary by language group, those who rely on the ethnic media as their main information source would have an understanding of the major election issues reasonably comparable to that of people who rely on the mainstream media, with the exception of diaspora-related issues that receive more coverage.

In other words, rather than the ethnic media providing a parallel and separate space and reinforcing cultural silos, these outlets for the most part serve an important role in political integration through their coverage of the main political issues common to all Canadians.

This article is part of The media and Canadian elections special feature.

Andrew Griffith