Punjabi Connection: NDP’s leader’s Q&A with ethnic media highlights influence of the community

Original story source Calgary Sun Sept. 13, 2019

The ability to communicate with ethnic media is particularly important at the individual riding level, since most ethnic media are focused on specific communities, according to Silke Reichrath, the editor- in- chief at MIREMS, a group that monitors and tracks ethnic media.

And like English- and French-language media, Punjabi and other ethnic media also make decisions to focus more or less on candidates, said Reichrath, who is also part of Diversity Votes, a project examining the impact of ethnic media and diverse communities on the election.

“Sometimes you get two or three Punjabi candidates from different parties, and these may be from different factions within the community” and receive varying levels of attention from outlets, Reichrath said.

She said the Portuguese community in the Toronto riding of Davenport constitutes a meaningful voting bloc. So do the Chinese communities in several Markham, Ont., ridings and Edmonton Mill Woods (won in a very tight race in 2015 by Liberal Amarjeet Sohi).

Reichrath also said the fact that this year’s election debates (including Thursday’s Maclean’s debate) will be translated live for Punjabi speakers will be “very significant to get them involved” in the democratic process.

The Maclean’s debate will also be translated into Mandarin and Cantonese, while the October debates organized by a broad partnership of media outlets will also be offered in several other languages, including Arabic and Italian. And on top of those national debates, ethnic media often organize all-candidates debates and town halls at the local level, Reichrath said.

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