This week about 230 election-related articles were analysed.
Major issues covered:
Campaign: As expected, the official start of the campaign and the initial messaging and positioning of the main parties dominated campaign-related coverage. Other aspects receiving significant coverage included the fundraising weakness of the NDP, a number of information articles regarding voting registration and procedures, expanded voting rights for Canadian expatriates no matter how long they had been absent from Canada and previous barriers to voting faced by Chinese Canadians:
“…although voting rights for Chinese Canadians did not come easily, it seems like Chinese Canadians don’t seem to care about voting. In the last general elections, the Chinese Canadian voter turnout rate was very low; it was far lower than other ethnic minorities such as Indian and Muslims. It is only when Chinese Canadians become a whole that they will be valued greatly by others. We are Chinese Canadian and that should be our common label and common interest. On October 21, for the benefit of the Chinese, let us all vote together!” (Chinese, 51.ca)
- Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill: Leona Alleslev, former Liberal and current CPC MP, was profiled.
- Beauce: The Rhinoceros Party’s plans to run a candidate also named Maxime Berner to run against the PPC leader.
- Brampton Centre: Baljit Bawa, PPC candidate, was questioned regarding PPC immigration policies in a city where most residents are immigrants of visible minorities:
- “Referring to the increasing crime rate, Bawa cited the increasing number of immigrants and refugees coming to Canada as a possible reason. He talked in particular about asylum seekers coming to Canada from across the border. They don’t have enough background checks. …The PPC wants to stop all the loopholes in Canada’s immigration system…Bawa said that the PPC is not anti-immigrant, but aimed at ˜pure and truer immigrants” (Punjabi, WTOR 770 AM Radio South Asian Pulse Prime Time)
- Brampton West: Murarilal Thapliyal, CPC candidate, campaign office launch was covered.
- Don Valley North: Sarah Fischer, CPC candidate, was profiled.
- Dufferin-Caledon: Kyle Seeback, CPC candidate’s nomination was challenged by runner-up Barb Shaughnessy in an email blast, with Seeback considering legal action.
- Eglinton-Lawrence: Marco Mendicino, Liberal MP and candidate, was interviewed by the Corriere Canadese:
- “Mendicino also discusses the Liberal government’s efforts to protect Italian culture in Canada and to help seniors through the CPP and GIS. He is concerned about what is happening at Villa Colombo, where the Ford administration’s cuts are putting assistance to seniors at risk.” (Italian, Corriere Canadese)
- Kingston and the Islands: Barrington Walker Jr., NDP candidate, was profiled.
- LaSalle—Émard—Verdun: David Lametti, Justice Minister and Liberal candidate, was profiled:
- “With regard to immigration, everybody from the Indigenous peoples to the French to the English to the Italians, Lametti says, has helped make Canada a welcoming and inclusive nation that respects human rights and religious diversity.” (Italian, Corriere Canadese, ironic given Quebec’s Bill 21)
- Laval-Les Iles: Tom Pentefoundas, CPC candidate’s inauguration of his campaign office was attended by CPC leader Scheer.
- Markham Stouffville: Former Liberal minister and current independent MP Jane Philpott commented on abortion:
- “[She] is standing by the pledge she made as a Liberal candidate to support access to abortion despite her beliefs, but accuses her former party of playing politics with a deeply personal issue.” (South Asian English, The Canadian Parvasi)
- Markam Thornhill: Mary Ng, Small Business Minister and LPC candidate, was profiled.
- Markham-Unionville: Current MP and CPC candidate Bob Saroya, and Alan Ho, LPC candidate, were profiled.
- Oakville: Anita Anand, LPC candidate, attended a fundraising with Liberal leader Trudeau.
- Saint-Léonard-Saint-Michel: Controversy regarding the former Liberal candidate Hassan Guillet continued, with both Guillet and former Liberal MP Di Iorio complaints receiving coverage, along with the appointment of the nomination runner-up, Patricia Lattanzio.
- Regina Qu’Appelle: Andrew Scheer, CPC leader, was profiled.
- Scarborough Agincourt: Jean Yip, MP and LPC candidate, was profiled (Yip succeeded her late MP husband Arnold Chan in a by-election). Sean Hu, CPC candidate, was also profiled.
- Scarborough North: Sean Chen, Liberal MP and candidate, was profiled. David Kong, CPC candidate, was also profiled.
- Spadina-Fort York: Frank Fang, CPC candidate, was profiled.
- Surrey: Harjit Gill, NDP candidate, was profiled.
- Surrey Centre: Randeep Sarai, Liberal MP and candidate, was profiled.
- Vaughan-Woodbridge: Francesco Sorbara, Liberal MP and candidate, was profiled.
- Waterloo: Jerry Zhang, CPC candidate, was profiled.
- Windsor West: Sandra Pupatello, former Ontario provincial cabinet minister and Liberal candidate, was profiled.
Foreign interference: Studies by the Rapid Response Mechanism Team and Sergey Sukhankin of University of Calgary warning of foreign interference, the former with respect to cyber-attacks and social media, the latter with respect to Russia and its interest in dominating the Arctic, received widespread coverage.
Immigration: PPC proposed immigration policies continued to receive largely critical coverage. The NDP’s proposal to increase settlement funding to Quebec was also covered.
“Experts say there is a niche group of voters in the 905 area of the GTA, a lot of them first-generation Canadians and new Canadians, who have an issue with asylum seekers walking over the border because they see these people as queue jumping. That group could be the focus for the Conservatives.” (Caribbean, G 98.7 FM Mark & Jem in the Morning)
Polls: Recent polls by Abacus Data, Ipsos (increase in populist and anti-immigration attitudes) and Nanos Research (preparedness for a change in government) were covered.
Leaders’ debate: Liberal leader Trudeau’s decision to skip the Macleans/City TV and Munk debates received neutral coverage.
Ethnic vote: Joe Volpe, former federal immigration minister in the Martin government (2005-6) continued a series of commentaries, conspiratorial in nature, reflecting a perceived loss of influence of Italian Canadians:
“Political parties see each other as adversaries rather than enemies. The real enemies are in their own ranks. The Conservative Party is legendary for the precarious position of its leaders: Bernier, Ford and Kenney vs. Scheer. Meanwhile, Justin Trudeau has his nemesis: the “Deputy Prime Minister of Brampton.” Nav Bains, whose family runs the World Sikh Organization (which promotes the independence of the Indian state of Punjab), has put his followers in key positions within the party. He seems to have a stranglehold on Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen: in the last four years, 180,925 Indian applicants – 22.5% of all immigrants – have received Canadian permanent residence while Italians, Portuguese and Poles have been kept at under 0.05% a year. Bains’ detractors claim this is part of a plan to populate Canada with supporters for the impending leadership race to replace Trudeau. Some party supporters worry about foreign elements influencing the upcoming political elections because Hindus, presumably encouraged by political activism at home, appear determined to vote against parties supported by Sikhs.” (Italian, Corriere Canadese) [Note: Visible minority immigrants have formed about 80 percent of all immigrants for the past 20 years)
Other articles included the importance of the ethnic media, improved understanding of the Canadian political system, and the risks of identity politics (religious and ethnic).
Cost of living: The Conservative overall focus on cost of living issues, including making EI parental benefits tax deductible, continued to be covered. The Liberal campaign promise for an expansion of the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive (FTHBI) and the establishment of a national vacancy tax on homes to help curb foreign speculation in the housing market were also covered.
Abortion: In addition to continuing coverage of the Conservative pledge not to reopen the abortion debate, Green leader Elizabeth May’s position that Green MPs would not be prohibited from re-opening the debate on abortion despite her personal support for abortion rights.
China: Coverage included PM Trudeau’s comment on China’s use of arbitrary detention, CPC leader Scheer’s statement that PM Trudeau would not participate in the Munk foreign policy debate as he was “afraid” of his own record, and former Ontario cabinet minister Chan’s rebuttal to criticism of his perceived taking the Chinese government side in a demonstration supporting Hong Kong protestors: “Chan said that he spoke against the violence and in support of the unity, peace and prosperity of Hong Kong.” (Chinese, 51.ca)
Other: Other issues that received some coverage included climate change, cyber security and same sex marriage.
Andrew Griffith, ethnic media provided by MIREMS