Ethnic Media Election Coverage 1-7 September 2019

This week about 180 election-related articles were analysed.

Major issues covered:

Campaign: Main issues covered factual information pieces such as campaign length, registration process for political parties (provoked by the far-right Canadian Nationalist Party), the campaign by Canadian Alliance of Student Associations to increase the youth vote, and political posturing around the Conservative video featuring former PM Harper.

The respective positions of the NDP and Green Party regarding supporting a minority government were also covered:

“… a tight race between the Conservatives and the Liberals, with no more than a percentage point between them on average, both in the low 30s. The most likely outcome, if this holds: a minority Parliament of some kind, with neither party capable of governing on its own. Next, consider the likely strategies of the two major parties in response. The Liberals will do what they nearly always do: paint the Conservatives as racists, Nazis and worse, the better to frighten NDP and Green supporters into voting Grit as the only way to stop the Tories.” (South Asian English, Asian Tribune)

Candidates:

General candidate coverage focussed on the number of nominated candidates by party (particularly the low number of NDP candidates), the defection of NDP candidates in New Brunswick to the Green Party and the back and forth between the two parties and the initial numbers of women candidates, particularly the significantly increase of Conservative women candidates (about one-third).

  • Saint-Léonard-Saint-Michel: The withdrawal of the Liberal nomination of Hassan Guillet over his anti-semitic and anti-Israel social media posts, along with his complaints regarding the accusations and process, received widespread coverage in Italian media.

“Political parties usually vet their candidates before choosing them; so, what happened this time? According to the author, a party that wants to continue governing should not fail to carry out the necessary background check. The Liberal Party of Canada (LPC) got rid of its candidate quickly because the winds of change are blowing in the riding and the Tories are now competitive. No one should be surprised by what is happening in Saint-Léonard-Saint-Michel because of the LPC’s failure to apologize [for World War II restrictions], its disorderly immigration policy, its legalization of cannabis, higher taxes for the middle class, and the rising federal debt. As for the next Liberal candidate, we can expect more candy, but Trudeau’s candies for the Italian community are just pranks.” (Italian, Il Cittadino Canadese)

  • Beauce: A profile of the riding highlighted the small numbers of immigrants in PPC leader Bernier’s riding but that labour shortages were becoming a local issue.
  • Brampton: Coverage focussed on Conservative candidate Ramona Singh (Brampton East) and Liberal MP Kamal Khera (Brampton West). Brampton Centre MP Ramesh Sangha attracted the most media attention given his interview stating that the Liberals were hampering relations with India:

“He accused his fellow caucus members of being in favour of an independent Punjab, called Khalistan. This is a topic that has been frustrating Trudeau for the past two years, with Indian officials also accusing Trudeau of the same softness for Punjabi independence.” (Punjabi, OMNI 2 TV 8:00 PM South Asian Today)

Brampton Centre has the lowest percentage of Canadian Sikhs of the five Brampton ridings (7.8 percent), with the other ridings ranging from 13 to 33.8 percent). Other significant religious groups include Muslims and Hindus (8.5 and 9.6 percent respectively), all figures from the 2011 NHS. Sangha himself is Hindu.

  • Burnaby South: NDP leader Singh’s nomination received further coverage.
  • Calgary Forest Lawn: Jasraj Singh Hallan defeated, Aman Obhrai, the son of former Calgary Conservative MP Deepak Obhrai.
  • Markam Thornhill: Alex Yuan, CPC candidate, was profiled.
  • Markham-Unionville: Alan Ho, LPC candidate, was profiled.
  • Mississauga Centre: Milad Mikael, CPC candidate, was profiled.
  • Mississauga Lakeshore: Stella Amber, CPC candidate, was profiled.
  • Riviere-du-Nord: Further coverage of CPC star candidate Sylvie Fréchette did not discuss the party position on abortion.
  • Scarborough North: Yan Chen, CPC candidate, was profiled.
  • Scarborough Southwest: Kimberly Smith, CPC candidate, was profiled.
  • Toronto Centre: Ryan Lester, CPC candidate, was profiled.
  • Toronto Danforth: Zia Choudhary, CPC candidate, was profiled.
  • Wellington Halton: Conservative MP Michael Chong, CPC candidate, was profiled.
  • Whitby: Todd McCarthy, CPC candidate, was profiled.
  • Windsor West: Henry Lau, CPC candidate, was profiled.

Same Sex Marriage: Coverage continued of the 2005 video of CPC leader Scheer explaining his opposition to same sex marriage to a number of language groups.

One thing people need to know about Scheer is that he is a devout Catholic and he upholds his faith with great fervour, unlike Trudeau who pretends to be Catholic by receiving Communion even if he is not practising. What’s next? Telling Jagmeet Singh to eat meat just to show support for the meat-eating people of Canada? And if he refuses, will he be called a bigot, discriminatory and ineligible to rule the country because he abides by the practice of his Sikh faith of not consuming meat? If he rejects eating meat, does that mean he hates meat-eaters? In a world where the truth belongs only to the ones who are in charge and who are loud criers and whiners, there is no room to silently contemplate what is real and true. (Filipino, 10000Twice)

Abortion: The CPC position on abortion was also frequently mentioned in articles that focussed on same sex marriage. Coverage this week focussed on the Campaign Life Coalition’s disappointment with the clarification of CPC position:

“Fonseca said Scheer’s speech ‘suggest[ed] he may in fact use intimidation or threats to prevent MPs from bringing forward pro-life private members’ business, or to coerce his caucus to vote against such measures, which for many would be to vote against their own consciences.’ If a Prime Minister Scheer did use threats to keep the caucus in line, that would amount to ‘betrayal’ of the anti-abortion movement, Fonseca said.” (Chinese, Ming Pao Toronto)

Climate change:  Coverage continued on opposition to the carbon tax by the governments of Ontario and Saskatchewan, along with the gas station stickers in Ontario as well as concerns by scientists and environmental groups regarding Elections Canada’s rules on public discussion.

Cost of living: While coverage focussed on the Conservative commitment to give new parents a non-refundable tax credit of 15 per cent on EI income and commitments by all three parties to reduce cell phone costs, a number of related economic issues were also mentioned, including the respective commitments of the three major party leaders at Hamilton’s Labour Day parade (e.g., federal minimum wage by the NDP and skills training by the Liberals). One article in Punjabi mentioned the challenges of the trucking industry.

Ethnic vote: Coverage focussed on general voting issues and making an informed choice (“cast your vote, but don’t vote your caste” (Punjabi, Chin FM 91.9 Ramz Punjabi).

In Muslim media:

“…our people, many of whom are not aware of the political system, are herded to the polls like cattle and eventually vote for a party or candidate that would not benefit our community. Rather we must vote based on a party’s platform or the candidate’s abilities. At times, our community members realize after the fact that a certain individual using his or her unique position in a Muslim organization is influencing our sacred decision. Unfortunately, by the time we realize, it is too late.” (Muslim, al Ameen)

Italian dissatisfaction at being taken for granted was noted by former Liberal Immigration Minister Joe Volpe:

“Hussen represents York South Weston, a riding with an Italian community large enough to influence the outcome of the next elections. Under his leadership, IRCC has put up obstacles to immigration from Italy” (Italian, Corriere Canadese).

One article focused on the Chinese Canadian vote in greater Vancouver,

Voter fraud: Coverage focussed on the Nova Scotia example of one woman received four student registration cards (Elections Nova Scotia, not Elections Canada).

China: The appointment of Dominic Barton as Ambassador to China was noted.

Immigration: Two anti-immigration commentaries occurred in Punjabi media:

“Every day there are reports about immigration fraud, fake IELTS rankings, fake job offers, misuse of student programs,  exploitation of the refugee program etc. in the print and electronic media but the government is paying no attention to these.” (Punjabi, Khabarnama Punjabi Weekly)

Andrew Griffith, ethnic media provided by MIREMS

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