This week about 220 election-related articles were analysed.
Major issues covered:
Third parties: Third party advertising dominated coverage in virtually all language groups given outrage over the anti-immigration and pro-Bernier billboards of True North Strong and Free Advertising. Coverage included Bernier’s endorsement and railing against the “totalitarian leftist mob” for the decision by Pattison Outdoor Advertising to take down the billboards. The fact that no person or organization took responsibility for approving their content was noted (hard to believe given their $60,000 cost).
Campaign: The unveiling of the Conservative and Liberal campaign slogans received the most coverage. The book, Assessing Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Government, analyzing the degree to which the Trudeau and Harper governments delivered on their election promises received moderate coverage (showing that both largely did but the Harper government more so). Campaign financing violations by two Quebec companies (Axor) and the resulting fines received some coverage.
“The Conservatives misguide people to believe that pipelines can create jobs and they ignore the economic potential of green energy, transition policies and the disastrous effects of climate change as a whole. The best strategy to fight right-wing populism is not wishy-washy liberalism, but having a social democratic party which can bravely and confidently deal with issues such as climate change, an unstable economy and worsening inequality.” (Korean, CNDreams)
The importance of the youth vote in determining election outcomes along with the Apathy is Boring initiative received considerable coverage.
- Beauce: PPC leader Bernier’s comments that he was “not fazed” by a riding level poll showing him in a dead heat with the Conservative candidate, former mayor, Richard Lehoux was reported.
- Brampton: Conservative candidates Arpan Khanna (Brampton North), Ramona Singh (Brampton East), Ramandeep Brar (Brampton South) launched their campaigns and received significant coverage in South Asian media. Liberal MPs seeking re-election, Sonia, Sidhu, Ruby Sahota and Kamal Khera attending a barbecue with Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown (former Ontario PC leader) was covered.
- Calgary Forest Lawn: Aman Obhrai is seeking the party’s nomination to replace his father, former Calgary Conservative MP Deepak Obhrai.
- Central Nova: Country music star, George Canyon, Conservative, received coverage regarding retaking this traditionally Conservative seat (former minister Peter McKay’s seat).
- Longueuil-Saint-Hubert: MP Pierre Nantel’s leaving the NDP to run for the Green Party received further coverage.
- Markam Thornhill: Liberal MP Mary Ng continued her op-eds promoting the government’s achievements with Doug Ford being the bogeyman:
“In the name of austerity policies and prudent finances, Doug Ford’s cuts already cut the dreams of setting up a university campus in Markham. They also forced high school students to stand up and protest against the proposed increase in class size and decline in the quality of education. There’s no doubt that if Andrew Scheer gets the chance to do so, he will also follow the steps of his friend Ford.” (Chinese, 51.ca)
- Mississauga-Malton: Tom Varughese, CPC candidate stressed Conservative plans to remove the federal income tax from employment insurance (EI) maternity and paternal benefits to assist families:
“Varughese further said in his letter that Justin Trudeau said he would help the middle class, but the last four years show that he is not as advertised. He raised taxes on 80 per cent of middle-class families and brought in a carbon tax that makes everyday essentials more expensive. Andrew Scheer has a plan to help young families get ahead and keep more of their hard earned money.” (Punjabi, Canadian Punjabi Post)
- Mississauga-Streetsville: The controversy over anti-LGTBQ posts on the personal website of Ghada Melek, CPC candidate, was noted.
- Riviere-du-Nord: The announcement that former Olympic synchronized swimming champion Sylvie Fréchette would be a star Conservative candidate was marred by the controversy over abortion (see below). BQ MP Rhéal Fortin won in 2015 (margin 1.9 percent over the NDP), with Conservatives far behind in fourth place.
- Vimy: The refusal by the Liberal party to approve the candidacy of MP Eva Nassif received further coverage with the local Liberal association complaining of being “left in the dark.”
- Elections Canada voter procedures and information were noted.
Same Sex Marriage: The 2005 video of CPC leader Scheer explaining his opposition to same sex marriage shared by the Liberals was covered extensively particularly in Chinese language media. His assurance that he supports the law and his refusal to state whether his views have evolved were noted. NDP leader Singh’s statement that he would not support a Conservative minority government given Scheer’s views was also covered.
Cost of living: Extensive coverage continued on 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:
“The government should help families to raise their children, and not try to solve people’s ‘gender’ problems, or support the ideology of feminism. … The author says that “assessing this initiative, it should be noted that support of families with children is the best manifestation of state feminism.” (Russian, Russian Express)
Proposals by all three major parties to address cell phone costs were noted. One commentator noted that banning Huawei would result in higher cell phone costs
Climate change: In addition to ongoing coverage of Elections Canada rules on discussing climate change, Environment Minister McKenna’s stating that the amount of the carbon tax would be reviewed in 2022 and consequent back and further with Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre was covered.
“McKenna accidentally told the truth. She admitted that if re-elected the carbon tax would go much higher than Liberals previously said.” (Punjabi, Canadian Punjabi Post)
Ontario Premier Ford’s statement that he would drop the carbon tax court challenge should the Conservatives win was noted, along with polling that showed voters being concerned but less willing to pay more to combat climate change.
Polls: The Angus Reid poll, identifying the top three issues for Canadians—climate change, healthcare, taxes— and that the ethnics commissioner’s report on SNC-Lavalin had not adversely affected the Liberals, drew the most coverage. Ipsos and Léger polls showing a similar lack of impact and a dead heat between the Conservatives and Liberals were covered. The Digital Democracy Project’s overall findings of dissatisfaction with Canadian politicians and the limited impact of voting received some coverage.
Abortion: Confusion between CPC leader Scheer and his Quebec lieutenant Alain Rayes over whether Conservative MPs would be free or not to introduce anti-abortion bills drew considerable coverage. Coverage included Conservative star candidate Sylvie Fréchette following Rayes understanding that individual MPs would not be able to table anti-immigration bills as well as Scheer’s clarification that that MPs would be free to do so.
“I [Fréchette]can confirm that it’s false. It’s false. It’s totally false” (Filipino, Philippine Canadian Inquirer)
One article noted that the Conservative party would not be able to prevent its MPs:
”Such a scenario is virtually guaranteed, given the number of pro-life MPs on the Conservative team. The current Conservative caucus has 44 pro-life members out of 95, and 34 are running for re-election this fall.” (Italian, CFMB AM 1280 Italian Morning)
Ethnic vote: A number of articles discussed the general importance of the ethnic media and ethnic votes. Visits by Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez met with the Hispanic community to discuss fake news and efforts to increase voter turnout.
Trade: Former Conservative Ambrose’s disagreement with CPC leader Scheer’s “assertion that Canada got taken to the cleaners by Donald Trump on the renegotiated NAFTA” (South Asian English, The Canadian Parvasi) was widely covered (Ambrose was on the government advisory panel).
Andrew Griffith, ethnic media provided by MIREMS