Diversityvotes.ca is kicking off its series of spotlights on Leaders and Parties with a quick initial look at Peoples Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier’s standing in the multilingual media coverage in the first two weeks in August. We will continue this series with a focus on Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as well as what we can find on NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May.
It is perhaps symptomatic that the high point in Bernier’s ethnic media coverage was the news of his exclusion from the debate schedule. About seventy per cent of the couple of dozen stories focusing on Bernier found in daily and weekly ethnic media since the beginning of the month dealt with the exclusion.
Maxime Bernier’s exclusion from the debate was widely reported in Chinese, Spanish, Italian, Punjabi, Tamil, Polish and Filipino media as of this writing, covering debate organizer David Johnston’s decision not to invite Bernier, primarily because the People’s Party does not have elected representatives in the federal parliament. According to current opinion polls, people feel that the People’s Party is unlikely to get more than one candidate elected to Parliament. Although Bernier is currently an MP, he was elected as a Conservative Party representative. However, Johnston said that if the People’s Party can provide more candidates’ names in three to five federal constituencies, he will organize a poll to see if there is support for the party before determining whether an invitation is appropriate.
The People’s Party of Canada has been polling below 5%, as reported in a couple of outlets (1), and its ethnic media coverage has been dwarfed by the slogging match between Trudeau and Scheer.
Yet Bernier argues that some of his candidates will have a real opportunity to be elected. Recent political trends show that in various provincial elections in Canada and in other Western countries, populist parties have emerged and become important players, for example, the Brexit Party. Hmmm. (2)
We expect renewed activity by the PPC on all fronts to prove that at least some of the high number of candidates they have fielded, many unknown, have a chance at delivering a populist message – which might be undistinguishable from the increasingly populist rhetoric permeating the whole campaign, including, as we will see in future articles in this series, the new Liberal direction.
It is hence useful to see what the different Canadian ethnic media outlets are saying to their multilingual communities regarding the PPC. While the Party touts the fact that some of its candidates have diverse backgrounds, a statistical certainty in our diverse society, the official positions do not sound particularly appetizing to immigrants, their families or supporters of larger immigration quotas to fuel the economy.
The fact is, while some immigrants will practice “pull up the ladder after themselves” in the immigration climb to success, few want to appear publicly espousing positions that demonize immigrants and their contribution to Canada. This has led to a negative reaction to Bernier’s debatable statement that only a quarter of immigrants have entered the work force, as well as to the rest of his platform.
A lead editorial in Loving Sister, a Chinese women’s magazine, Anti-immigration sentiment is rising in Canada as well, voters should not treat the matter lightly by Yao Yong An joins the dots, linking Trump’s anti-immigration and racial discrimination sentiments with Maxine Bernier’s speech in Mississauga, saying it is anti-immigration and has traces of white supremacy. The editorial further includes Alberta Premier Kenney as sharing anti-immigration sentiments and uses references to the Fraser Institute’s anti-immigration report and Bill C-24. It links Kenney’s policies excluding people of colour from China and India and opening the back door to Canada to a lot of White people with Bernier and other Conservative candidates’ proposals. (3) This did not sound good to immigrant ears.
“PPC immigration policies are not good for Canada or immigrants,” said Punjabi Zee TV, echoing Liberal Minister Navdeep Bains’ response to People’s Party Leader Bernier’s immigration proposals. Bernier had announced his immigration policies in Mississauga, including significant cuts to the number of immigrants he would admit. Bains is a Mississauga MP. Bains highlighted how much immigrants contribute to society, including his own father, who employed about 20 people in his kitchen cabinet-making business within a few years of coming to Canada. (4)
‘It’s not a wall. It’s a fence:’ Bernier vows to cut immigration, block irregular border crossings – reported the Filipino Star’s Megan Campbell. The statement that his People’s Party would be “fencing off the areas” along the border used by illegal migrants got mixed reactions at an event. Some of the people in the audience hoped to hear Bernier dramatically reduce the annual number. “150,000” said a 21-year-old electrician, who asked to remain anonymous. “Less than 50,000,” said a 25-year-old IT specialist, who also requested anonymity. However, Lynda Shapiro, a retired physiotherapist who lives in Ajax, Ontario, said Canada needs to accept refugees. (5)
On a Brampton Red FM Punjabi Radio talk show, Bernier’s claim that only 26% of immigrants in Canada are economic immigrants and the rest are subsidized immigrants took a beating at the hands of guest speaker and political activist Raj, wo said Bernier’s claim is not true. He added that Bernier’s claims are politically motivated and are pandering to the small number of people who fear immigration. (6)
In Vancouver, the Indo-Canadian Times published the news under the headline Maxime Bernier promises to build border fences if elected PM. (7)
In contrast, none other than a very White European Russian weekly says that Bernier’s speech on immigration reform was accompanied by expressions of support from the audience, a large part of whom were “representatives of non-European immigrant communities.” (8)
In an interview with a Montreal Baptist pastor, reported by the RCI’s Arabic journalist Fadi Al Harouni, Bernier says he believes that sex education classes in Quebec schools affect individual rights. Bernier encourages Quebec parents to fight the imposition of the sex education program offered in the province’s schools – definitely an audience concern! (9)
From where we sit, it would look like the main chance the People’s Party of Canada has at winning any position in some local ridings in the October electoral race will be playing not only on a presumed White antipathy toward immigrants, but also at inter-group animosities and at positions that trend conservative rather than progressive on the opinion charts. Stay tuned.
(~ 1473 words inc. footnotes, Andres Machalski, President, MIREMS Ltd, with files from diversityvotes.ca)
(1) TV – Zee TV Canada – BC Round Up (Daily) – Vancouver, 02/08/2019 – NEWS, Punjabi;
RADIO – WTOR 770 AM Radio South Asian Pulse Prime Time (Daily) – Mississauga, 09/08/2019 – COMMENTARY, Punjabi
(2) RADIO – Voces Latinas CHHA AM 1610 (Daily) – Toronto, 12/08/2019 – NEWS, Spanish
RADIO – CFMB AM 1280 Italian Morning (Daily) – Montreal, 13/08/2019 – NEWS, Italian
RADIO – Red FM 106.7 Good Morning Calgary (Daily) – Calgary, 13/08/2019 – News, Punjabi
RADIO – CMR FM 101.3 Tamil Morning (Daily) – Toronto, 13/08/2019 – News, Tamil
RADIO – WTOR 770 AM Radio South Asian Pulse Prime Time (Daily) – Mississauga, 13/08/2019 – COMMENTARY, Punjabi
RADIO – Red FM 93.1 Punjabi Morning (Daily) – Vancouver, 13/08/2019 – News, 02/09, Punjabi
WEB – Ming Pao Toronto (227000 – Daily) – Toronto, 13/08/2019 – NEWS, Chinese
WEB – Sing Tao Vancouver (50000 – Daily) – Vancouver, 13/08/2019 – NEWS, Chinese
WEB – Van People (Daily) – Vancouver, 13/08/2019 – ARTICLE, Chinese
WEB – Goniec (3000 – Daily) – Toronto, 13/08/2019 – NEWS, Polish
WEB – Atin Ito (9000 – Daily) – Mississauga, 13/08/2019 – NEWS, English
WEB – Philippine Canadian Inquirer (Daily) – National, 12/08/2019 – NEWS, English
RADIO – CFMB AM 1280 Italian Morning (Daily) – Montreal, 14/08/2019 – NEWS, Italian
TV – Talent Vision Canada News (Daily) – Toronto, 13/08/2019 – NEWS, Mandarin
WEB – Canadian Chinese Express (Vancouver) (Weekly) – Vancouver, 14/08/2019 – NEWS, Chinese
WEB – lahoo.ca (Daily) – Vancouver, 12/08/2019 – NEWS, Chinese
TV – Fairchild TV British Columbia (Daily) – Vancouver, 13/08/2019 – News, Cantonese