Diversity Votes Stories

from our Ethnic Media Partner and other sources

Trending Early Summer Election Issues in the Ethnic Media

As summer begins at last in Canada, the country’s ethnic media have their eyes on the upcoming federal elections. Over the last two weeks in June, the ethnic media outlets reported on a variety of elections topics, prominently featuring the environment, the latest poll results revealing a Conservative lead, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urging Canadian Muslims to participate in the elections.

The environment, which is shaping up to be one of the key issues in the election campaign, was one of the leading issues reported in the ethnic media between June 16-30. The majority of coverage on the environment was informative and neutral in tone, merely reporting its prominence as an election issue and highlighting Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer’s environmental platform.

Chinese newspaper Ming Pao Vancouver noted that the environment is emerging as “one of the defining battle grounds” for the upcoming federal election.

The only criticism on this issue came from Fairchild TV British Columbia (Cantonese), which reported that the Conservative Party’s climate platform is, without question, a handsome document, in full colour with many large photos and many words – some of which are in large fonts and others in italics. Unfortunately, however, according to the program, none of them explain at any point by how much the federal Conservatives hope to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through this plan.

Meanwhile, the latest polling numbers showing the Conservatives in the lead also received a lot of attention in the ethnic media.

Toronto-based Chinese website New Star Net reported that the latest poll shows with just four months to go for the federal election, the Liberal Party is lagging more and more behind the Conservative Party in terms of voter support, and the support rate for Trudeau has hit rock bottom. According to New Star Net, the results are the lowest scores Canadians have given the Liberal Party since the Liberals won the 2015 election, and there is lots more bad news because more than half of Canadians (64%) said they are very dissatisfied with the current government’s performance.

Other prominent topics in the early summer ethnic media elections coverage included Renata Ford’s declared candidacy to run for the People’s Party of Canada in the Etobicoke North riding; Elections Canada hiring social media influencers to encourage more people to participate in the elections, Twitter banning political ads in Canada until the election campaign; the NDP’s healthcare platform; and the launched of this diversityvotes.ca website created to showcase the impact of diverse demographics and the media that serves multilingual Canadians on the upcoming election process.

Surprisingly, immigration only just made the list of the top ten elections issues discussed in the ethnic media in the second half of June.

An ethnic media reaction that stood out regarding immigration was radio host Harjinder Thind’s commentary on the Red FM 93.1 Punjabi Morning program in Vancouver. Harjinder Thind said it seems there has been more mess than well-balanced policy in place in Canadian immigration since Ahmed Hussen took up the post of Immigration Minister. The host talked about an interview with Hussen and said the minister was not able to give a satisfactory answer to many callers’ questions. The minister kept praising the Super Visa, which was introduced by the former Conservative government. On many other topics, including visitor visas and family reunification, the minister could not provide any solid answers. Hussen said he may bring more changes to address the issues, but it looks as if he may not be able to get that chance as there is a federal election in October, the host said.

This overview of top election issues was based on a sample of 123 stories collected between June 16-30 by MIREMS, covering 18 different language groups and 57 ethnic media outlets across Canada. It will become increasingly important to pay attention to the ethnic media as they express the viewpoints of multilingual voices in their communities. These outlets reach newcomer voters with reporting and commentary on the elections in their own language, providing a direct connection between politics and the various ethnic communities.

Was the Race and Politics live event covered in the ethnic media?

On June 19, 2019, Multilingual International Research and Ethnic Media Services President Andrés Machalski and Vice President Silke Reichrath attended “Race and Politics,” a live event hosted by The Hill Times and CPAC at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.

The discussion was chaired by Hill Times Managing Editor Charelle Evelyn and featured a panel with Independent MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes, Indigenous Reconciliation Group CEO Rose LeMay and former Harper government senior adviser Alykhan Velshi. The event coincided with the US Emancipation Day on June 19 – an Act proclaiming Emancipation Day in Canada is still pending – and took place two days before Canada’s National Indigenous Day on June 21.

The event was sold out and packed with people from different cultural backgrounds who likely share an interest in the issue being discussed – as does the ethnic media we monitor.

Caesar-Chavannes and LeMay coincided in the view that Parliament should reflect the diversity of the people it represents so that the voices of all groups are heard and their interests represented. Currently, 15% of the House of Commons are visible minority, while 22% of the population are visible minority. 3% of the House of Commons are indigenous, while 5% of the population are indigenous. While LeMay considered this was not enough, Velshi pointed to a high degree of diversity overall in Parliament, including diversity of thought, and suggested that the political system can address the issue. Politicians win by representing the country as best they can, and all parties continuously renew themselves.

There was a clear demarcation between opinions that thought enough was enough when it came to diversity management in politics, and those who thought more was needed.

Caesar-Chavannes reported that she has been called the most racist MP because she calls out racism where she sees it. She advocates for all the disenfranchised, and people are fine with her speaking of mental health issues, but not of Black issues. There is no Black deputy minister or assistant deputy minister, and highly qualified Black applicants cannot get managerial jobs in the Canadian government.

Velshi disagreed that the political system is racist and said he had never had difficulties motivated by racism in his career with the Conservative party. As a whole the system was good, and better than in most countries. In contrast, LeMay pointed out that Canada is built on colonialism and an Indian Act that still treats indigenous people as minors. Caesar-Chavannes said talking about systemic racism is not an indictment of the entire system, but talking about it is a way to improve the system.

Barriers to more minority representation include difficulties breaking into the right circles to be considered at nomination meetings and networking to know the right people. Financial barriers to running in an election can be significant. Members of minorities are sometimes perceived as just representing their group. Many have internal barriers to running when they see MPs have a rough ride. Indigenous people in particular have different ways of decision-making than the adversarial style in Parliament.

Velshi argued that the British system is inherently adversarial – “politics is a blood sport” – and it is not possible to insulate individual MPs from that. The discussion suddenly became focused on political behaviour, irrespective of race. LeMay argued that politics should not be a “blood sport;” politicians should not be allowed to act in ways that children would not be allowed. They should work for the people they serve. Caesar-Chavannes agreed that they should work together. LeMay also suggested that indigenous people had concepts in their governance models that Parliament could draw on, including sanctions for leaders who did not meet their goals.

Among the conclusions were the need for representatives from visible minorities to be authentic and raise awkward issues and for all representatives to learn from perspectives not their own. There is no point in diversity if the diverse representatives do not reflect the voices of their constituencies.

Oh, we almost forgot to answer the headline question: Was the event covered by any of the close to forty Ottawa-based media – the print, web, radio and TV outlets in Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Greek, Italian, Spanish, Somali and Ukrainian or serving Anglophone or Francophone communities like the Jewish, African, Caribbean, Haitian ones?

No, and if it was, it wasn’t picked up by our monitoring of these outlets. We hope the ethnic journalists were invited – the subject matter would have attracted them, and it would have been interesting to see what they had to say.

MIREMS is proud to contribute to the democratic process as a channel for voices from visible minority communities to allow for such learning and exchange to take place.

Ethnic Media Election Coverage (15-22 June 2019)

Ethnic Media Coverage

For the first week of http://diversityvotes.ca/, 61 election-related articles were analysed.

Chinese and Indo-Canadian ethnic media dominated articles surveyed (44 and 21 percent respectively. The chart below provides the breakdown by different media sources.

Major news items such as various polls on party preference, the Nanos poll on the importance of ethnics as an election issue, CPC leader Andrew Scheer’s climate change speech and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh’s unveiling of the NDP platform were covered.

The http://diversityvotes.ca/ announcement was covered in Tamil, South Asian English and Urdu media.

Candidate nominations in a number of ridings were mentioned as were announcement by MPs who were not running (Liberal Geng Tan, Don Valley North) or running (Liberal Dominic LeBlanc, Beauséjour). Korean media noted six Korean Canadian candidates. Italian Canadian media covered the disappointment by some that a non-Italian Canadian was nominated in Saint-Léonard Saint-Michel.

Other issues covered included:

• PM announcement during Italian heritage month that the government would make a formal apology for the treatment of Italian Canadians during World War 2 (Italian)

• Possible changes to immigration should the Conservatives win (Korean);

• The Engage Canada anti-CPC ad during the NBA finals, the Canada Proud demonstration, Liberal insiders worries about PM Trudeau’s continued leadership and the plastics announcement (Chinese);

• The government announcement for its first-time home buyers program (Russian)

• Complaints by CPC candidates in Eglinton-Lawrence and York Centre regarding discrimination against orthodox Jews regarding election day falling on Shemini Atzeret and most advance polls taking place on the Jewish Sabbath (Russian);

• The government funding announcement regarding flood prevention measures in Toronto (Russian); and,

• Conservative MP Pierre Poilivre’s criticism of Elections Canada for being “too soft” on the Liberals for SNC Lavalin donations (Tamil).

Quebec-based media noted Liberal attack ads and media blitz in the province.

Analysis and commentary noted the impact of Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s unpopularity is having on the federal Conservatives, with one commentary on the lack of realism of the NDP platform and another favouring more conservative economic policies.

Story of the week:

Canadian federal elections fall on Shemini Atzeret: lawsuit filed – Russian

Chani Aryeh-Bain, the Conservative Party candidate for the Toronto-area district of Eglington-Lawrence, and voter Ira Walfish of York Centre, also a Toronto-area district, filed a lawsuit claiming that the election date discriminates against observant Canadian Jews. The holiday of Shemini Atzeret this year falls on Election Day, October 21, which will prevent observant Jews from voting. Of the four days of preliminary voting, three days fall on other Jewish holidays or a Shabbat. The lawsuit was filed last week in a federal court and asks to postpone the election date to October 28. According to Canadian Jewish News, both districts are currently represented by MPs from the Liberal Party, who defeated conservative Jewish candidates in the last election. The 2008 Canadian federal elections were held on the first day of Sukkot. “There should have been no need for this litigation,” said Michael Mostyn, chief executive officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “The Chief Electoral Officer has the discretion to shift election day to avoid ‘a day of cultural or religious significance’ under Section 56.2(1) of the Elections Act, but he has inexplicably failed to take that entirely logical step.” Shemini Atzeret is celebrated at the end of the Sukkot week-long celebration.

Kandskaya Panorama – Toronto, 16/06/2019

From The Toronto Star – New tool launched to shine light on ethnic media coverage of election issues

Over 250 different sources across the country have already published about the launch of diversityvotes.ca. Check out the Toronto Start article below.

OTTAWA — A new tool launched Tuesday could help voters learn what political issues are resonating in ethnic media and how that could impact voting in the fall federal election.

Andrew Griffith, a former director general with the Immigration Department, has partnered with MIREMS, a firm that monitors and translates stories from over 800 ethnic media outlets, to create Diversityvotes.ca.

The website takes comprehensive statistics about Canada’s minority communities and presents it alongside stories by ethnic media outlets. Griffith said the data will provide context about who is consuming multilingual news stories in any riding and quantify how their opinions could influence individual races.

“One of the key objectives is really to break the communities out of their silos and break the politicians out of their silo approach by basically level the playing field,” Griffith said.

“(This will) provide greater transparency about what is happening within one community versus a different community, what is the diversity within the community, and those kinds of issues to help empower the process and ensure there is greater participation and greater awareness.”

The online tool is also expected to shine a light on how campaigns are interacting with different ethnic communities. It could, for example, provide greater transparency over politicians or parties that target their messages differently to individual minority groups in the hopes of winning votes in the October election.

This kind of targeting became an issue in the lead-up to the byelection in Burnaby South earlier this year after the Liberal candidate in the riding, Karen Wang, posted on Chinese social media platform WeChat that she was the “only” Chinese candidate while NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh — her opponent — was “of Indian descent.”

Wang resigned as the candidate and issued an apology denying any racist intent.

Andres Machalski, president of MIREMS, said he hopes the new initiative will not only expose possible political gaffes like the one in Burnaby South, but more widely give new and native-born Canadians a better idea of what is being discussed among different ethnic groups.

“It’s an awareness of diversity,” he said.

“What has happened to diversity in Canada and the world is that it’s shifted from being motherhood and apple pie to being something that is polarized. It’s being weaponized and used to discriminate and at the same time it is the heart of our country — this is a country made up of immigrants.”

There are 41 ridings where visible minorities form the majority of the voting population and another 93 ridings where minorities make up between 20 and 50 per cent of eligible voters, Griffith said. Issues that matter to them and the way they react to policy announcements in the campaign will make a difference in those ridings or in areas with close races, he said.

“You’re not going to win a majority government unless you have strong support in immigrant-rich or visible-minority-rich ridings. It’s just physically impossible.”

The tool is free to use, but Machalski said users can donate on the website to the public service project.

Beyond Election Hype: New Site Explores Ridings’ Cultural Data, Role of Ethnic Media

By New Canadian Media Reporting Desk

As a means for transparency and a window into the lead up for the fall federal election, a new online tool aims to combine an opportunity for voters to see demographic data from Canada’s most multicultural electoral ridings with the chance to determine whether ethnic media in those same voter pockets are tackling issues close to voters’ hearts.

The combination of offerings comes from Diversityvotes.ca, an interactive web project designed to break down political silos and level the playing field for Canada’s growing population of visible minority voters. The site launched Tuesday under the lead of Ottawa-based immigration policy and data expert Andrew Griffith, who has long been a key player in New Canadian Media’s own ventures. For the project, Griffith has joined forces with ethnic media monitoring service MIREMS (Multilingual International Research and Ethnic Media Services) to match riding level demographic and socio-economic data with insights from ethnic media in key provinces and cities.

Griffith, a former director general with the Immigration Department, may be best known as the 2015 author of Multiculturalism in Canada: Evidence and Anecdote. He points to the controversy around the resignation of Liberal candidate Karen Wang in British Columbia’s Burnaby South riding as proof of the need for an informational tool such as Diversity Votes. Wang pulled out of the by-election race in January after essentially using her ethnicity to entice voters. In a social media post, Wang singled out her opponent as being of “Indian descent”, which many Canadians found to be an unnecessary act of political division.

“Diversityvotes.ca aims to improve the understanding and transparency of electoral strategies to the various language groups,” Griffith said. “By sharing what is reported in the major language groups, we hope that political leaders and the media will be more mindful of the need to ensure that any community-based messaging is inclusive, rather than divisive.”

Diversity Votes intends to provide a deeper understanding of the cultural composition around where voters live. It also aims to help understand how this composition interacts with electoral strategies by local politicians and media.

Numbers Tell a Story

While all electoral ridings will be covered, the primary focus of Diversity Votes will be the 41 Canadian ridings where visible minorities are the majority, and the 93 where they form more than 20 per cent. The site will also provide a window into another 95 ridings that have significant pockets of ethnic voters.

“The site then combines these statistics with an ethnic media headline feed from around 600 media sources in 25 languages, as well as editorial and opinion stories and invitational blogs written by ethnic journalists and journalism students,” stated Diversity Votes in an announcement about the project.

How local issues are portrayed in community and regional ethnic media may also raise new questions and further the discussion around accountability for ethnic-oriented media strategies.

“Diversity empowers democracy,” states a tagline on the new website.

From Tamil Morning – Website introduced to capture federal election related issues discussed in the ethnic media – Tamil

A website has been introduced so that Canadians could come to know about the important issues discussed in the ethnic media, related to the federal election happening in October 2019. The website, known as diversityvotes.ca, will carry stories related to the Canadian federal election, appearing in about 800 ethnic media sources across Canada. The website also contains statistics about diverse ethnic groups and immigrants. The founders of the website say that the mission of this website is to provide equal opportunity to all candidates by creating transparency about the exclusive campaigns/propaganda targeted towards minority communities by candidates and political parties.

Source: RADIO – CMR FM 101.3 Tamil Morning (200000 – Daily5) – Toronto, 18/06/2019 – News, 1/2 min, 4/4, Tamil

From The Canadian Parvasi – New tool launched to shine light on ethnic media coverage of election issues – South Asian English

A new tool will help voters learn what federal issues are resonating in ethnic media and the potential effect on voting in this fall’s election. Andrew Griffith, a former director general with the Immigration Department, has partnered with Mirems — a firm that monitors and translates stories from over 800 ethnic media outlets. Together, they created a website called Diversityvotes.ca, that ties comprehensive statistics about Canada’s minority communities with ethnic media stories. Griffith says the data will provide riding-by-riding context about who is consuming multi-lingual news stories and quantify how their opinions could influence individual races. Andres Machalski, president of Mirems, says he hopes the initiative will allow new and native-born Canadians to have a better understand the political issues being discussed and how they resonate among different ethnic groups.

Source: WEB – The Canadian Parvasi (Daily7) – Mississauga, 18/06/2019 – NEWS, 1 page web, 5th.

From The Canadian Global Affairs Institute – Check Out This New Election Resource From CGAI Fellow Andrew Griffith

Diversity Votes: Matching ridings with ethnic media to increase civic knowledge and participation

CGAI Fellow Andrew Griffith has been working with MIREMS (Multilingual International Research in Ethnic Media Services) to match riding level demographic and socio-economic data with insights from ethnic media.

Their objectives are:

  • More in-depth understanding of riding characteristics, and how these interact with electoral strategies;
  • Wider awareness of how national and local issues are portrayed in community and regional ethnic media to increase accountability of ethnic-oriented media strategies;
  • Allow for more informed discussion regarding ethnic voting patterns and issues; and,
  • Greater responsibility of candidates and political parties of their messaging to different groups.

diversityvotes.ca launched this week, a fully interactive website that combines this riding level data with stories and commentaries from ethnic media to fill the gaps in understanding between Canada’s diverse communities, the media they listen to, read and watch, and how that can affect how they cast their ballot in the upcoming federal election.

The website is focussing on ridings with the largest number of visible minorities: 41 where visible minorities are the majority, 93 where they form more than 20 percent, with significant pockets of five to 20 percent in another 95 ridings.

We invite you to check out diversityvotes.ca. Look up your riding and explore the data. Check the ethnic media headlines and articles. Read the blogs, articles and background.

The Canadian Press: New tool launched to shine light on ethnic media coverage of election issues

Andrew Griffith, left to right, Mirems Editor-In-Chief Silke Reichrath and President Andrew Machalski pose for a photo in Ottawa on Monday June 17, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA — A new tool launched Tuesday could help voters learn what political issues are resonating in ethnic media and how that could impact voting in the fall federal election.

Andrew Griffith, a former director general with the Immigration Department, has partnered with MIREMS, a firm that monitors and translates stories from over 800 ethnic media outlets, to create Diversityvotes.ca.

The website takes comprehensive statistics about Canada’s minority communities and presents it alongside stories by ethnic media outlets. Griffith said the data will provide context about who is consuming multilingual news stories in any riding and quantify how their opinions could influence individual races.

“One of the key objectives is really to break the communities out of their silos and break the politicians out of their silo approach by basically level the playing field,” Griffith said.

“(This will) provide greater transparency about what is happening within one community versus a different community, what is the diversity within the community, and those kinds of issues to help empower the process and ensure there is greater participation and greater awareness.”

The online tool is also expected to shine a light on how campaigns are interacting with different ethnic communities. It could, for example, provide greater transparency over politicians or parties that target their messages differently to individual minority groups in the hopes of winning votes in the October election.

This kind of targeting became an issue in the lead-up to the byelection in Burnaby South earlier this year after the Liberal candidate in the riding, Karen Wang, posted on Chinese social media platform WeChat that she was the “only” Chinese candidate while NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh — her opponent — was “of Indian descent.”

Wang resigned as the candidate and issued an apology denying any racist intent.

Andres Machalski, president of MIREMS, said he hopes the new initiative will not only expose possible political gaffes like the one in Burnaby South, but more widely give new and native-born Canadians a better idea of what is being discussed among different ethnic groups.

“It’s an awareness of diversity,” he said.

“What has happened to diversity in Canada and the world is that it’s shifted from being motherhood and apple pie to being something that is polarized. It’s being weaponized and used to discriminate and at the same time it is the heart of our country — this is a country made up of immigrants.”

There are 41 ridings where visible minorities form the majority of the voting population and another 93 ridings where minorities make up between 20 and 50 per cent of eligible voters, Griffith said. Issues that matter to them and the way they react to policy announcements in the campaign will make a difference in those ridings or in areas with close races, he said.

“You’re not going to win a majority government unless you have strong support in immigrant-rich or visible-minority-rich ridings. It’s just physically impossible.”

The tool is free to use, but Machalski said users can donate on the website to the public service project.

The rise of the Green Party and environmental concerns in the ethnic media

As a riding that is about 80% Caucasian and 10% Aboriginal with no major concentration of any other ethnic group, Nanaimo-Ladysmith does not typically capture the imagination of the ethnic media in Canada. Its recent by-election got barely a handful of mentions in the run-up to the event. However, the surprise win of Green Party Candidate Paul Manly was widely covered, followed by reports that the Green Party is trying to recruit MPs Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott.

A lot of coverage was concentrated in the Chinese and South Asian media, which with their daily news reporting on radio, TV and print often mirror mainstream reporting and then add their own perspective in commentaries and talk show discussions, and in the Italian and Spanish media, possibly reflecting a heightened European and Latino preoccupation with environmental matters. All the coverage was neutral or positive towards the Green Party.

Much of the reporting concentrated on revealing the by-election results reflected that it shows that environmental issues are becoming more prominent in Canada and will be at play in the upcoming federal election. However, Punjabi media in particular were concerned with the implications for the NDP under Jagmeet Singh. A caller on the Punjabi program on Red FM in Vancouver speculated that the NDP and the Liberals lost because they ran First Nations candidates in a riding that was predominantly white. The Punjabi radio program on WTOR 770 AM in Toronto reported that Indian news channels in India consider the by-election a big loss for Jagmeet Singh. However, WTOR pointed out that it was a big loss for the Conservatives, Liberals and NDP.

Wu Chu He wrote a commentary in the Chinese paper 51.ca indicating that Canadians are feeling betrayed and angry at Prime Minister Trudeau and have the impression that he does not deliver. The NDP’s performance has also been disappointing, so that non-Conservative voters have no choice but to vote for the Green Party. One comment on this piece argued that people are fooled by the mainstream media, who don’t like the Conservative Party because “the bosses of mainstream media are all rich people.”

The daily national Italian news on OMNI TV ran a feature connecting the by-election in Nanaimo-Ladysmith and the provincial election in Prince Edward Island, where the Green Party formed the Official Opposition for the first time ever, to national election polls, the struggle between the federal government and several provinces over the carbon tax, and a recent United Nations report on biodiversity. The United Nations found that a million species are threatened with extinction. A York University professor said humans will not survive as a species if they continue to have such a negative impact on the earth. Young people interviewed on the program expressed concern for the environment and called for more action.

With the national struggle over the carbon tax, environmental matters are increasingly becoming a concern in the ethnic media. To some extent, they reflect mainstream media and provincial priorities – support for the oil industry in Alberta vs. support for environmental protection in BC –, but they are also informed by the prominence environmental concerns have in countries of origin and by the views of individual opinion leaders on talk shows and in editorials and by discussion with callers from the audience and online comments.