Ethnic Media Election Coverage 28 July – 3 August 2019

For the past week of diversityvotes.ca, over 160 election-related articles were analysed.

Major issues covered included:

  • Election date: For the second week in a row, the election date occurring on the Jewish holiday coverage of Shemini Atzeret dominated coverage with the focus being on Elections Canada decision to maintain the October 21 date after its reconsideration in response to the Federal Court ruling. The issue was widely covered in the following language media: Punjabi, Chinese, Polish, Italian, Tamil, Gujarati, Hindi, Filipino, Jewish, South Asian English, Russian and Urdu.

Coverage was largely neutral reporting with only a few commentaries:

“Canada is a multicultural country and it will not be possible to accommodate every community’s religious needs”

“If Chinese Canadians want to protect their interests, they should learn from the Jewish community and participate in these community conversations. Fairness has to be fought for; it is not something that is given out for free.”

  • Campaign: Coverage was dominated by federal party fundraising and spending, including on Facebook. The Conservatives continuing to lead the Liberals in fund-raising and the number of persons contributing the maximum to both parties were noted as was the Greens having raised more money than the NDP. The high level of federal government advertising allowed in the final pre-election quarter was covered, with some articles noting that this also occurred under the Conservatives.
  • Immigration: Maxime Bernier’s announcement of his restrictive approach to immigration continued to receive widespread coverage. In addition to the critique by Minister Bains, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and MP Jenny Kwan made similar critical points with an emphasis on family reunification in a meeting with Chinese media. Talk show and on-line commentary in Punjabi and Chinese media revealed, not surprisingly, a mix of views.
  • Candidates:
    • Brampton-North MP and Liberal candidate Rudy Sahota;
    • Conservative challenger Maria Augimeri and Liberal incumbent Judy Sgro in Humber River – Black Creek;
    • Opening of the campaign office of Minister Navdeep Bains in Mississauga-Malton along with his critique of the PPC’s proposed immigration policies;
    • Conservative nomination contest in Dufferin-Caledon following the removal of former nominee Harzadan Singh Khattra;
    • NDP’s nomination of Grassy Narrows chief Rudy Turtle in Kenora; and,
    • PPC Saskatchewan candidate (Carlton Trail-Eagle Creek) Cody Payant’s call for more hate speech was criticized.
  • Polls: Polls from Léger and Research Co, along with the CBC Poll Tracker, showing a tightening race were covered. Commentary noted the declining impact of the SNC-Lavalin scandal as an explanation.
  • China relations and Huawei: China coverage continued on PMO’s effort to pressure former ambassadors to consult with the government prior to making public comments. Commentary criticized CPC leader Andrew Scheer and Ontario Premier Doug Ford for different messaging to mainstream and Chinese media. Comments by NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and MP Jenny Kwan to Chinese media on Canada-China relations were covered, including the “urgency” of appointing an ambassador (same meeting that covered immigration as above).

While most Huawei coverage concerned the government’s announcement that any decision regarding Huawei’s involvement in 5G networks will be made after the election, former Minister of Public Safety Stockwell Day praise for Huawei and CPC leader Scheer’s distancing from his remarks was noted (Day serves on the Board of Telus, a major user of Huawei equipment).

  • Third parties: Liberal party requests that Elections Canada look into possible improper co-ordination between two Conservative pressure groups, Canada Proud and British Columbia Proud.
  • Indigenous: Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde remarks that the SNC-Lavalin affair and Jody Wilson-Raybauld’s exit could hurt the Liberals with Indigenous voters. Commentary in Punjabi media noted that any questioning of the Liberal record on unfilled Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations would lead to Conservatives being questioned on their plans.
  • Cannabis: The change in the Conservative position from being opposed to accepting cannabis legalization was noted in Chinese media (Chinese Canadian public opinion mainly opposed legalization).
  • Food guide: In addition to some further reporting of Liberal and Conservatives on the Canada food guide, one commentator referred to the Toronto Star editorial on the need to separate politics from the food guide.
  • Other issues covered (2 media coverage or less): pipeline ads by major oil producers, Punjabi commentary on voter fraud related to address changes close to elections, housing prices, student loans, foreign interference, planned leaders debate, climate change, Conservative party pledge on healthcare funding and concerns over horse meat.