Ethnic Media Election Coverage 18-24 August 2019

This week about 160 election-related articles were analyzed.

Major issues covered:

Ethics (SNC Lavalin): The ethics commissioner’s finding that PM Trudeau had violated the conflict of interest code, the PM’s refusal to apologize, the blocking of hearings by Liberals in the House Ethics Committee and CPC leader Scheer’s call for a RCMP investigation were widely covered in many language groups.

“Host Mark Strong said this does not look good right around election time. He said it is a bombshell report and leaves a substantial crater in the Liberal government’s road to re-election.” (Caribbean, G 98.7 FM Mark & Jem in the Morning)

“The SNC-Lavalin scandal will clearly be fatal for Trudeau’s political career. ‘Will it become fatal for the Liberal Party, and what should the party do to prevent this from happening?’ asks the author. He continues, ‘If Trudeau’s main concern were the victory of his party in the election, he would take responsibility for this scandal, apologize, and resign.” (Russian, Russian Express)

Climate change (Elections Canada): The initial ruling by Elections Canada that discussing the risk of climate change could be interpreted as partisan given the PPC denial of climate change, the concerns by environmental organizations and the subsequent assurance that it could be discussed by the Chief Electoral Officer were extensively covered in most languages.

“This sort of “bizarre hyper-guaranteeism” seems more like the result of a “contorted Orwellian vision” than something out of one of the greatest democracies on the planet.” (Italian, Corriere Canadese)

Candidates:

  • Scarborough North: Chen Yan, NDP candidate, had an extensive profile in Chinese media. The riding is currently held by Liberal Shaun Chen.
  • Cumberland-Colchester: Coverage of Stephen Garvey, leader of the far-right National Citizens Alliance, focused on the criminal charges he is facing regarding circumventing election spending limits.
  • Etobicoke North: Sarabjit Kaur, Conservative Party, launch coverage mentioned the presence of provincial PC MPPs Prabhmeet Sarkaria and Amarjot Singh Sandhu, suggesting the Ford government enjoys support among the base. The riding is currently held by Liberal cabinet minister Kirsty Duncan.
  • Longueuil-Saint-Hubert: Former NDP MP Pierre Nantel switching to run for the Green Party received considerable coverage. The margin for the NDP in 2015 was 1.2 percent.
  • Etobicoke Centre: Ted Opitz, the former Conservative MP, is running to regain his seat that he lost to Liberal Borys Wrzesnewskyj who regained his seat in 2015 (Wrzesnewskyj was the MP 2004-11). 7.3 percent of the population is of Polish ancestry.

“He [Opitz] also said that Trudeau disappointed people. Trudeau said in the past that he admires the Chinese dictatorship, and statements like this don’t have to be explained to Polish people that know too well the meaning of communism. Polish people have to stop supporting Justin Trudeau, as he doesn’t represent Polish values, Opitz says.  On the other hand, Andrew Scheer is a devoted Catholic with five children, from a hard-working family who shares the values dear to the Polish community.” (Polish, Puls)

  • Markham-Thornhill: Alex Yuan, Conservative candidate, launched his campaign with Canadian senator Victor Oh, Conservative MP Peter Kent and other federal and provincial conservatives:

“He [Yuan] shared his door knocking experience, and said that voters are most concerned that the Liberal government’s policy may mess up the existing peace and societal order. They are afraid that the legalization of marijuana will lead to loose regulation of other more damaging drugs. Voters are concerned that the Liberal government will not be able to control the border and that we will see an increase in illegal border crossers entering Canada.” (Chinese, Van People)

  • Vancouver-Granville: Taleeb Noormohamed, LPC, running against former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, received further coverage.
  • Brampton South: Sonia Sidhu, Liberal incumbent, received more coverage of her campaign launch.

Campaign: Comparable riding level fundraising of the Conservatives and Liberals continued to be covered. Conservative plans to offer a reduced rate to media on the leader’s tour was noted. One commentator noted:

“At some events, Scheer will act like a naughty little brother trying to tease his older brother. During the visit in Moncton, the way Scheer looked at Trudeau seemed suggestive. Scheer told Trudeau he has to stop lying to Canadians. Trudeau laughed in response and did not think Scheer would care so much about him. Some people on Twitter questioned Scheer’s honesty. It also appears Trudeau has always looked at Scheer in an endearing big brother kind of way.” (Chinese, 51.ca)

Cost of living: CPC leader Scheer’s announcement of their platform commitment to give new parents a non-refundable tax credit of 15 per cent on EI income was widely reported. One commentator noted:

“It is not that great of an approach in reality. These politicians always sugar coat things and make it sound like it’s for Canadians. In reality, low-income individuals already get taxed a small amount or none at all. Hence, this policy will not impact this group.” (Chinese, Van People)

Polls: Covered continued of Nanos research findings that most Canadians disapprove of provincial premier participation in the federal campaign and their expectations that it would be a negative campaign. Ipsos and Leger polls showing no drop in Liberal support following the release of the Ethnics Commissioner’s report were noted. Other coverage included a majority of Ontario voters believing the province was on the “wrong track” (Corbett Communications) as well as Forum Research and Mainstream Research polls.

Leaders’ Debate: In addition to ongoing coverage of the decision by the Leaders’ Debate Commission to exclude PPC leader Bernier, the announcement by CityTV and Macleans for an earlier debate on September 12 was covered.

Citizenship: The revocation of Jack Letts UK citizenship and consequent implications for Canada given his Canadian citizenship was covered, along with comments from the PM and CPC leader. The campaign urging Canadian expatriates in Hong Kong to vote and pressure the parties to take a stronger stand on Hong Kong’s independence was noted.

Immigration: The federal Liberal government’s replacement of Ontario government cuts to legal aid for immigrants and refugees continued to be covered, along with the associated political positioning.

“[The radio host] said that he thinks that Trudeau and Tory have joined to weaken Premier Ford and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer. Ford has become a big problem for Scheer’s future as well. Trudeau is taking aim at Ford by showing that if Canadians elect a Conservative government, it will cut funding and impact healthcare, infrastructure, and immigration and refugee services.” (Punjabi, CJMR Punjab Di Goonj)

Third parties: Third parties mentioned included Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) and anti-abortion groups RightNow and the Campaign Life Coalition. The widespread use of Facebook advertising by third parties was noted.

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