Ethnic Media Election Coverage 22-28 September 2019

This week about 150 election-related articles were analysed.

Major issues covered:

Immigration: Coverage focussed on party differences regarding overall immigration levels, including the PPC’s call for sharp reductions, the Safe Third Country Agreement with the USA and irregular arrivals (crossing between official border crossings, and the application process for family reunification (parents and grandparents, spouses). The Angus Reid survey showing public concerns regarding immigration and refugees was covered:

“… when international students apply for spousal sponsorship, they are immediately granted a visa without being required to provide so much evidence.  Ads for ‘IELTS marriage’ and ‘contract marriage’ are placed in the Punjabi media in Canada and overseas, however, Canada’s immigration department is paying no heed to it. When Canadian citizens and PRs complete applications to sponsor their parents, the quota is reached in five minutes. However, when international students apply for their parents, they are granted 10-year multiple entry visas without any evidence.” (Punjabi, Khabarnama Punjabi Weekly)

Candidates:

All candidate meetings in Brampton ridings were covered in Punjabi media.

  • Brampton Centre: Analysis regarding the relative prospects between the Liberals and Conservatives, with the prediction that Liberal MP Ramesh Sangha will win (Sangha has stated that his party is “pandering” to Sikh separatists.)
  • Brampton North: Conservative candidate Arpan Khanna responded to criticism that the Conservative party was against immigration (CPC leader Scheer visited the riding):

“… the immigration target was 260,000 annually during the previous Conservative government. Today, the target is 280,000 which is not a major difference. We have a balanced approach when we bring immigrants here without any back door entry. During the Trudeau government, 80,000 illegal refugees crossed the border into Canada. Khanna highlighted the burden on the Canadian immigration system and taxpayers with refugees. He said that the Liberals are not focusing on Hindu and Sikh refugees whose lives are under threat in Afghanistan. He also criticized the Liberals’ visa policy, including the parental sponsorship application intake system. He said that Conservatives emphasize an immigration system that is fair, orderly and compassionate.” (Punjabi, CJMR Parvasi)

  • Brantford–Brant: LPC Candidate Danielle Takacs’ posting an image on Facebook that showing a farm with the message “Scheer-Ford ain’t no difference!” carved into the field was covered.
  • Davenport: Sanjay Bhatia, CPC candidate, was profiled with his commitment that “a conservative government will bring justice, order and compassion to the immigration system.” (Portuguese, Correio da Manha)
  • Don Valley North: Bang Gu Jiang’s concession speech after losing the Liberal nomination to former MPP Han Dong, Liberal candidate, along with the opening of Han Dong’s campaign office, were covered.
  • Kitchener Centre: Stephen Woodworth, CPC candidate and former MP came under criticism for using previous signs that say ‘re-elect’. Elections Canada clarified that it is not against the law given he was an MP 2008-15.
  • Markham Unionville: Elvin Kao, Green Party candidate, was profiled. The visit of PM Trudeau to the Mid-Autumn Festival in support of Liberal candidate Alan Ho was also covered.
  • Ottawa West–Nepean: Anita Vandenbeld, Liberal MP and candidate, was profiled in Somali media.
  • Vancouver East: The launch of Jenny Kwan’s campaign office, NDP MP and candidate, was profiled.
  • Vimy: Liberal MP Eva Nassif’s complaints regarding bullying from other area Liberal MPs and her nomination being rejected for her not praising PM Trudeau as being a feminist was covered.

Campaign: Apart from general overviews of party positions and positioning, the respective tactics of the Liberals in invoking Premier Ford and the Conservatives in invoking former Premier Wynne to draw (or amplify) the contrast between their respective philosophies and approaches dominated coverage. Fake news regarding Liberal plans to increase the capital gains tax and PM Trudeau’s personal relationship with far-right commentator was covered. There were also a number of articles on the importance and procedures of voting.

“The scene was repeated at Scheer’s next campaign stop in Brampton, where Ford turned the tide for the PCs during the 2018 provincial election. Ford is already messing with Scheer’s chances in a big way in Ontario. The chaos of cuts he’s unleashed on the province has seen to that. With the possibility of Ford’s fight with teachers unions ending up in a strike in Ontario smack dab in the middle of the election to remind voters of the disaster Ford has been, Scheer’s electoral prospects are looking even more dicey.” (Farsi, Iran Javan)

Foreign interference:

Coverage continued on the warnings by Canadian intelligence agencies regarding possible foreign interference through the diaspora communities, citing China and India in particular but also mentioning Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela (along with Eelam Tamil). The comments by Elections Canada Commissioner regarding the difficulties of investigating foreign interference were noted again. The call by former ambassador to China, David Mulroney, for a foreign lobbyist registry was noted.

Multiculturalism: Coverage continued over the Trudeau brown face/blackface photos:

“Instead of discussing the economy, taxes, how to improve this country, how to ensure it doesn’t fall into a recession, our election debate instead concentrates on the fact, that our Prime Minister who is always so politically correct, now got caught in his own trap. Kumor says that although painting your face brown or black is not appropriate he doesn’t think that in this case Trudeau’s intention was to make fun of people of colour. Kumor asks, why if the pictures and videos were taken 18 years ago, they surfaced just now? Kumor believes it’s part of the opponents election strategy.  Looking into opponents’ past to see what they did in Kindergarten is probably the main task at the campaign headquarters, Kumor says.  There are real problems in this country, like the economy, and for that we need a good government that will take things seriously.” (Polish, Goniec)

“Trudeau apologized several times, but the Black Coalition of Quebec said that Trudeau should not take these comments to heart nor did he have to apologize. The president of the coalition, Dan Philip, said Trudeau’s blackface makeup was mainly for performance, which does not make him a racist. Philip said Trudeau took measures to help ethnic minority communities after he was elected prime minister. Trudeau also appointed a cabinet with people from all backgrounds. Philip said some politicians who criticize Trudeau are mostly hypocrites, and they do not have an interest in supporting the Black community. The reason why this photo surfaced was a political tactic to stir up controversy and gain from the chaos. Quebec Haitian author Danish Laferriere said Trudeau’s 2001 Aladdin costume was not completely blackface. Laferriere said this is a tactic used by white politicians to attack each other, and it has no connection with the black community whatsoever. ” (Chinese, Van People)

Cost of living: Coverage included the various party proposals on taxes, parental benefits, housing, and seniors (CPP and OAS increased benefits).

Ethnic vote: Commentary focussed on the need for Chinese Canadians to vote given their lower voting rate than other groups in order to influence policy debates and discussions. Italian media analyzed Ontario ridings with significant numbers of Italian Canadians, noting that this is largely between the Conservatives and Liberals. An article in Russian media focussed on the importance of the Canadian Sikh in Brampton.

“… the writer says that one finds that if anything happens to the Chinese, few politicians speak for us. Why is this the case? According to the writer, the reasoning is simple — it’s because for a long time, Chinese people haven’t been voting and haven’t formed a proxy relationship with political figures. Therefore there aren’t any political figures who would speak for the interests of Chinese people like us. For a long time, the voter turnout rate of Chinese people has been very low. So politicians don’t know what the basic demands of Chinese people are and don’t introduce policies and laws that are in the interest of Chinese people.” (Chinese, 51.ca)

Climate Change: Campaign promises by Liberals and Conservatives to provide financial support to make homes more efficient were covered, along with comparisons of party climate change commitments. The NDP’s clever riposte to Liberal plans, “You. Bought. A. Pipeline.” was covered.

China: The Bloomberg story stating that the diplomatic crisis created by the Meng Wanzhou case will affect the Canadian election drew the following comments:

“Canadians have recognized the reality now is that the Trudeau government is unable to well maintain the strategic relationship that was established with China. … Canadian Chinese newspaper columnist Gao Bingchen had pointed out that the arrest of Meng Wanzhou and a series of incidents that followed forced Canadians to gradually wake up; they are starting to take into consideration the cost it takes to maintain good diplomatic relations with China, and whether they can afford such a cost.” (Chinese, BCbay.com)

“… the author says he does not agree with Bloomberg’s comments that the hearing will affect the federal election, on the grounds that the Chinese-Canadian community is a mature community that clearly separates politics from people’s livelihoods. In addition, during the election the Trudeau government is carefully maintaining a distance from “China topics.” (Chinese, Sing Tao Vancouver)

BQ leader Yves Francois Blanchet’s call for the federal government to use all diplomatic tools at its disposal to negotiate with China to resolve the trade dispute that is severely damaging the agricultural industry was noted.

Polls and other: The Angus Reid poll highlighting the negative impact of the Ford government’s unpopularity on voter intention was covered as was the Ipsos poll showing immigration being a top issue to 14 percent of voters, behind health care, affordability and the cost of living, climate change, and the economy.

Other issues receiving coverage (that is more than one article) included healthcare and the leaders’ debate.

Andrew Griffith, ethnic media provided by MIREMS

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