Diversity Votes Stories

from our Ethnic Media Partner and other sources

Ethnic Media Election Coverage 15-21 September 2019

Given the increased volume of mainstream election coverage duplicated in the ethnic media, this and future weekly analyses will focus more on commentary, selected ridings and specific subjects rather than broader coverage.

This week about 120 election-related articles were analysed.

Major issues covered:

Foreign interference: Coverage focused on the warnings by Canadian intelligence agencies regarding possible foreign interference through the diaspora communities, citing China and India in particular but also mentioning Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela (along with Eelam Tamil). The comments by Elections Canada Commissioner regarding the difficulties of investigating foreign interference were noted.

Chinese Canadian media noted efforts to influence nomination meetings to select candidates with more pro-China views. Coverage in Indo-Canadian media was relatively less but one commentary in Punjabi media noted:

“Attempts to interfere by the Canadian or US government in the Punjab provincial election or in general elections in India has never been reported, even though the influence of Non Resident Indians (NRI) on Indian elections can be seen. But in Canadian elections, governments are being identified. Bobby, a guest on the show said that in Indian elections many NRIs living in Canada and other countries supported their family members who were running in the election and played a big role. The political base of any community living anywhere internationally, impacts the politics of the country where they’re living.” (Punjabi, Chin FM 91.9 Ramz Punjabi)

Campaign: Much of general campaign coverage focussed on Ontario Premier Ford’s decision to sit out the federal campaign and not be seen with CPC leader Scheer (likely at the CPC request). Other coverage included information regarding campaign length, the tightness of the race, the various campaign strategies and main issues.

“The temperament of this election will become nasty when the marketing of the campaign begins. All parties will be throwing money they don’t have at the country and make promises they won’t keep. We will be fighting with our instincts to try and reach an ending where our vote may count. In the end because of the quality of the candidates we may feel that our vote was wasted.” (Portuguese, Milenio Stadium)

Multiculturalism: Not surprisingly, the media frenzy over the Trudeau brown face/blackface photos dominated coverage in most language groups. Commentary to date was relatively limited.

“Radio host Fabian Merlo said that one can draw many conclusions from this, some more informed than others. There has been a lot of criticism in recent years against people who dress up as someone of another race or religion during Halloween. Radio host Silvia Mendez said it’s a complicated subject and in 2001 Justin Trudeau didn’t know he was going to be prime minister. Fabian Merlo said your past condemns you.” (Spanish, CHIN 91.9 FM Spanish)

“Responding to a caller, [host] Jaswal said that Trudeau’s photo in brownface is no big issue. The photo was taken 18 years ago. There is a huge difference in Trudeau’s thinking now compared to then. Jaswal was surprised that the mainstream media is making the photograph a big issue. Why had no Canadian media outlet found this photo before. It is for the people to decide, but it’s not a big issue, said Jaswal.” (Punjabi, WTOR 770 AM Radio South Asian Pulse Prime Time)

The muted reaction by federal leaders to Quebec Premier Legault’s assertion that the federal government should never challenge Bill 21’s prohibition of religious symbols for public servants was noted.

Candidates:

The number of Chinese Canadian candidates in Vancouver was covered (10).

  • Brampton North: The Liberals exposed a past homophobic tweet of Conservative candidate Arpan Khanna who is running against MP Ruby Sahota:

“Political parties are finding it easier to come into the limelight by accusing other candidates rather than debating more serious issues. In 2015, Conservative candidate Jagdish Grewal, who is the editor of the Canadian Punjabi Post, lost his candidacy due to such petty issues. The writer further says that politicians and political parties should rise above the petty issues to work to resolve the real, more serious issues facing the country rather than involving the public in cheap mudslinging games.” (Punjabi, Canadian Punjabi Post)

  • Brampton West: Navjit Kaur, NDP candidate, was profiled.
  • Davenport: Andrew Cash, NDP candidate and former MP, was profiled.
  • Etobicoke Centre: Yvan Baker, Liberal candidate, was profiled.
  • Markham-Unionville: Alan Ho, LPC candidate, was profiled.
  • Vancouver East: The opening of Jenny Kwan’s, NDP MP and candidate, was covered.
  • Vancouver South: Wai Young, Conservative candidate and former MP, was profiled.
  • Vimy: Annie Koutrakis, Liberal candidate, was profiled.

Ethnic vote:

Ethnic vote coverage focussed on the analysis of the number of ridings where Filipino, Italian, Latino, and Portuguese Canadians are significant along with the number of candidates with these origins.

“What do the political parties need to do to engage the 850,000 Fil-Canadians to vote in the next elections? There’s at least two things political parties need to remember about Fil-Canadian voters. First, they need to know you will do something about the needs of their families, their jobs or careers, and their desire to be homeowners. If you want to win the elections, make sure your platforms are not mamby-pamby, vague ideas of what your political agendas are, but simple, down-to-earth, to the bones policies regarding post-secondary education for them and for their children, professional accreditation and the recognition of their post-secondary education in the Philippines, and housing affordability. Second, they want to be taken seriously, not because they have the most awesome celebrations and events, and the food Is always abundant and delicious, but to be recognized as a legitimate member of the multicultural fabric of Canada by giving them a chance to hold a position of the political system that the former Senator Enverga held.” (Filipino, Philippine Asian News Today)

Immigration: Coverage included the proposed cuts in immigration levels by the PPC and the related support among some Chinese Canadians, the increased focus on regular and irregular asylum seekers, and the commitment by CPC leader Scheer to close the loophole in the Safe Third Country Agreement with the USA.

“…the annual immigration quota that Bernier is calling for is a reduction of up to 70% when compared to the current Canadian government’s quota. As we step into the Canadian federal election season, the most notable aspect of the People’s Party’s political platform is anti-immigration, yet the writer says many Chinese people seem to turn a blind eye and continue to support the People’s Party. Why do some older Chinese immigrants want to burn the bridge after crossing the river by being against immigration? Perhaps this is due to selfishness.” (Chinese, Ottawazine)

Cost of living: The various policy announcements of the parties were covered: the Conservative and Liberal proposals making EI parental benefits tax deductible, the Liberal proposal to help first-time homebuyers, the NDP proposal to build 500,000 new affordable homes, and the Conservative proposal to reduce the lowest marginal tax rate were all covered.

Leaders’ debate: Commentary on Liberal leader Trudeau’s decision to skip the Macleans/City TV was more supportive than critical. Former Liberal Minister Joe Volpe asked the question “Why…have they not scheduled even one with the multilingual community of 7.2 million Canadians?”  (Italian, Corriere Canadese)

Healthcare: Healthcare coverage focussed on NDP leader Singh’s promise to build a new hospital in Brampton (Note: Provincial rather than federal responsibility) along with coverage of the different party proposals on drug prices/pharmacare.

Business Support and other: In addition to coverage of the Liberal promise to provide additional support to start-ups, other issues mentioned were citizenship (expatriate voting), education (RESP CPC proposal to increase the government contribution), ethics (critique of both parties), polls, social media (deep fakes) and third party advertising.

Andrew Griffith, ethnic media provided by MIREMS

Greater Access Should Be the Only Issue Regarding Abortion

Greater Access Should Be the Only Issue Regarding Abortion

Abortion has emerged as a wedge issue as the federal elections approach in October, and Canada’s ethnic media are paying attention.

According to Can India News, a South Asian Mississauga-based newspaper, one issue the Liberals have been criticized for is their use of women’s rights, especially access to abortion, to draw “sharp contrasts” between their party and the Conservatives.

“Nothing is fair in love and politics, and despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insisting he won’t go near divisive issues, voters would like our political parties to stake out their positions on, well, divisive issues,” the article stated.

Unfortunately, the Liberals chose to bring abortion up as a wedge issue rather than an inclusive one that promotes increasing access and support for women. Pakistan Post, an Urdu newspaper in Toronto, noted that Justin Trudeau has crisscrossed the country by warning about the dangers of electing a Conservative government. He is “shouting from the rooftops” that everything from guns in the streets to abortions being outlawed and the healthcare system being slashed could happen if Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives are elected, according to Pakistan Post.

However, the Conservative Party is in the spotlight of the issue, too. After Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale released a 2005 video of Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer speaking against same-sex marriage, Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie, shared her concerns about Scheer re-opening the abortion debate with free votes on anti-choice issues. Joly then tweeted a video clip of Scott Hayward, co-founder of anti-abortion group RightNow, highlighting Scheer’s position.

“While some Conservatives say the abortion debate is closed, this new video proves Scheer tells anti-choice activists the opposite,” Joly said on Twitter.

Vancouver-based Chinese website Van People jumped on the issue, asking what the Liberals’ election talking points are during this time of environmental insecurity and economic anxiety. The source stated the following: “That Andrew Scheer is scary. He’s scary because he does not support a woman’s right to abortion, and because he seems to harbour some sort of animus toward gay and transgender people. It’s also reasonable to conclude he doesn’t want to be around gay people at all, given his refusal to take part in Pride parades.”

Bringing Green Party leader Elizabeth May into the fray, Goniec, a Polish newspaper in Toronto, reported that in 2006, May generated some controversy by saying she is against abortion and that she didn’t think a woman has a “frivolous right to choose”.

People gather at the California State Capitol to rally in support of abortion rights. (Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press)

But rather than attacking a politician’s previous views on same-sex marriage or abortion, we should instead be discussing how to increase access to abortion in Canada and how we can provide further support for women choose to do so.

Some ethnic media sources fear that there is a risk of abortion being repealed in Canada. CFMB AM 1280 Italian Morning, a Montreal-based radio program, gave its opinion on this matter, commenting that although the Conservative Party is saying that it has no plans to reopen the abortion debate if elected, it will not be able to prevent its members from doing so if they wish. The source added that such a scenario is virtually guaranteed, given the number of pro-life MPs on the Conservative team.

Along these lines, some ethnic media outlets highlighted the fact that pro-life groups aren’t pleased with Scheer regarding his stance on the issue. Radio CINA 1650 AM News at 9 a.m., a Hindi program in Toronto, reported that anti-abortion groups are angry with Scheer’s stance on the issue of abortion.

Including ethnic media in the conversation enables Canada’s multilingual voices to equally participate, as the country discusses election issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. Our diversityvotes.ca initiative helps connect demographics and diversity with democracy in order to promote the inclusion of all Canadians in the upcoming federal elections.

Let’s hope that our political leaders put aside their attack tactics and get back to focusing on issues that matter to everyone, such as jobs, the environment, housing and supporting our communities, one aspect of which includes providing greater access to abortion instead of using it as a wedge issue.

Written by Blythe Irwin, with files from diversityvotes.ca

Why the unrest in Hong Kong matters to Canada in an election year: Canadian-Chinese voices speak out

There are 300,000 Canadians living in Hong Kong as the upcoming Canadian federal election approaches, the first in which expats can vote. It’s therefore significant that Canadian politicians are making statements about the situation in Hong Kong, even if they are all talk and no action.

Our Chinese team at diversityvotes.ca read hundreds of stories in the Canadian Chinese media over the past month, discovering that Toronto-based daily Chinese news portal 51.ca was prominent in contributing to the conversation on Kong Kong and its relevance to the Canadian election via the voices of its readers. Its rich reader comment section showcases some of the street-level thinking in the Chinese community.

As the Canadian federal election in October draws closer, Surrey, BC-based Chinese website westca.com pointed out that the leaders of the various political parties do not want to miss any opportunities for performing on stage.

                            Photo Credit: (Fred Dufour/Reuters)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is “extremely concerned” about Hong Kong, according to 51.ca. He has expressed concerns about Hong Kong’s situation and called on the Chinese authorities to adopt a cautious attitude and respect the protesters’ demands. In 51.ca forums, some internet users wonder what the Hong Kong matter has to do with Canada. One 51.ca commenter found it strange that Canada is publicly meddling with China’s internal affairs, and is being so bold and confident about it. Another one asked whether or not Hong Kong issues have a lot to do with the Canadian prime minister.

Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer even went as far as saying we are all Hong Kongers. Westca.com cited Scheer saying in a Twitter post: “As Beijing amasses troops at the Hong Kong border, now is the time for everyone committed to democracy, freedom, human rights, and the rule of law to stand with the people of Hong Kong, including the 300,000 ex-pat Canadians. Now, and in the coming days, we are all Hong Kongers”.

However, not all readers of Chinese ethnic media in Canada agree with Scheer’s remark that “we are all Hong Kongers”. It was noted in a 51.ca article that Scheer is just an opposition party leader and is not qualified to represent the federal government or Canada. And it appears that not all Twitter users agree with Scheer’s remark either, as one Twitter user wrote in response on westca.com: “We are all Hong Kongers? Hard pass dude, I’ve got no interest in fighting the Chinese”.

“Currently, Canada’s relations with China and its position on the Hong Kong issue have caught the attention of many Chinese Canadians” – noted Chinese Readers, a Vancouver-based website

And it is clear that Canadian politicians are concerned with the unrest in Hong Kong. Why is it that some Canadian politicians are voicing their concerns on this matter? Comments on various Chinese forums indicate that some people just don’t understand why Canada is bothering to comment on Hong Kong and China’s internal affairs. Meanwhile, others are worried about further retaliation or economic sanctions.

Canadian politicians’ concerns could have to do with the fact that the upcoming federal election will be the first time overseas Canadian citizens will be allowed to cast their votes outside Canada.

The Chinese Ming Pao newspaper reported that, according to Canada-Hong Kong Link Director Gloria Fung, the unrest in Hong Kong is not only a Hong Kong issue but has become an issue for Canada as well because there are 300,000 Canadian citizens presently living in Hong Kong and their votes can affect the outcome in many ridings where neither the Conservatives nor Liberals have a clear-cut lead.

According to an article on 51.ca written by Michael Chan, with the federal election approaching, community members suspect the National Post is attempting to pull Hong Kong and “negative China” rhetoric into mainstream Canadian society, in hopes of influencing this October’s federal election. According to the writer, many people know that “negative China” rhetoric is one of the ways to win votes in the mainstream North American society.

  Photo Credit: Law and Border

In addition to Canadian politicians voicing their concerns on this matter, there have been calls on Canada to help the Hong Kong protesters. Among these calls is an open letter from a group of Hong Kongers living in Halifax, which was published in The Coast. 51.ca reported that the letter, titled “What Canada can do to help the Hong Kong protesters”, demanded Canada enact measures to deny entry to, or revoke the Canadian citizenships of, Hong Kong government officials, among other demands.

But do Canadians and the Chinese ethnic media in Canada think it’s likely that Canada will actually do anything to help? Do they want Canada to do anything in the first place?

The Twitter user who expressed no interest in fighting the Chinese also wrote: “Not that there’s much Canada can do in that regard either. Just a bunch of hot air virtue signalling that’s going to have us hit with more economic penalties.”

According to 51.ca, Trudeau doesn’t actually have the time to “save” Hong Kong, because he is going to be busy with the upcoming federal election. The writer said that Trudeau has no motive to “save” Hong Kong, and also noted that Trudeau is already in terrible shape due to the Meng Wanzhou case. Canada-China relations have reached their hardest moment in history, and the writer asked whether one still expects Trudeau to add fuel to the fire.

There is doubt among Chinese Canadians that Canada either has the desire or ability to do anything about Hong Kong. We will see what, if anything, happens after the election. If Hong Kong matters to Canadian politicians only in the context of the 300,000 expat voters who will be exercising their right to vote for the first time, then there may not be any political will to continue standing up for Hong Kong after October. Even if there is, expressing concern is not the same as taking action.

41 multicultural constituencies could tip the scales

Image source:  RADIO-CANADA / MARC GODBOUT

Canada now has 41 constituencies with a majority of visible minorities. That’s eight more than in the last federal election. These key battlefields, often pivotal counties, could play a decisive role on October 21st. The Conservatives who lost most of this block in 2015 are they better placed to regain these seats?

Something ironic happened in the riding of Ajax, a suburb of Toronto.

It has seen the largest increase in visible minority residents. A good of 11% in 5 years.

Irony? This county was represented by the former Minister of Immigration, Chris Alexander, defeated in 2015.

He presented the Conservative election promise to set up a whistleblower to report alleged cases of barbaric cultural practices . This announcement stuck to his skin and added to the controversial positions of the Conservatives on both the revocation of citizenship and the niqab.

All of this was going to be detrimental to Stephen Harper and his party, who had put so much effort into conquering cultural communities.

Linda and Ernest Ombrog, of Filipino origin, live in Ajax. In five years, this riding east of Toronto has seen the largest increase in Canada’s visible minority population. Photo: Radio-Canada / Marc Godbout

At the Ajax suburban train station, a couple from the Philippines is waiting for the next departure. Linda and Ernest Ombrog heard about this episode even though they arrived in Canada after the 2015 federal election.

We do not quite trust , says Ernest Ombrog. I do not think we will vote for the Conservatives , adds his wife.

A few meters further on is Abdol Nadi, a surgeon turned taxi driver. This Afghan says that most of the immigrants who settled in Ajax in recent years are mostly from Tajikistan, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Many are his clients.

Abdol Nadi of Afghan origin is driving his taxi in Ajax, Ontario. Photo: Radio-Canada / Marc Godbout

I feel mistrust in some, rightly or wrongly. Although I think the Liberals are far from perfect, I still prefer to support them , he says.

The campaign strategies of 2015 always seem to have left a bitter taste, at least in this county.

From 33 to 41

At the time, Ajax was not yet in federal ridings with a majority visible minority population. It is one of eight constituencies that have been added to the list since 2015.

Andrew Griffith, expert on multiculturalism, has broken down the data. This former senior immigration official notes that 27 of these 41 constituencies are in Ontario, 9 in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec each have 2 while another is in Manitoba.

“You can not win a majority government without winning those counties”.

– Andrew Griffith,multiculturalism expert

In the 2015 election, the Liberals won 85% of those ridings, 35 out of 41. The Conservatives and New Democrats had to settle for three seats each.

The population of Scarborough North County, Ontario, is 92% visible minorities. In Canada, 17 federal ridings now have a population of over 70% visible minorities. Photo: Radio-Canada / Marc Godbout

Andrew Griffith explains that we can no longer speak of immigrant populations as a monolithic block. Groups that arrived 20 years ago may have a tendency to be more conservative. But those who followed are not automatically and continuously linked to a political party , says the researcher.

To put them in precise boxes would be an error, according to him. They can make a left turn as they can turn right.

These are constituencies that can move from one party to another. Of course, this has a constant impact on the electoral strategies of the different parties.

– Andrew Griffith, multiculturalism expert

Andrew Griffith, Multiculturalism Expert and former Senior Official at the Department of Immigration. Photo: Radio-Canada / Marc Godbout

In 2011, the Conservatives won the majority of these counties. In 2015, they passed into the hands of the Liberals. And to be considered, in the Ontario provincial election of 2018, Doug Ford and the Progressive Conservatives had almost all rounded up.

Kenney, the master card?

The Conservatives would like to be able to count on Alberta Premier Jason Kenney in this campaign to help Andrew Scheer in some of those ridings in Ontario. This scenario is still on the table even if no strategy has yet been stopped.

Jason Kenney, formerly Harper’s Minister of Immigration, had been the architect of the Conservative Party’s great seduction of cultural communities.

But the simple fact of wanting to use the Alberta prime minister shows that the efforts of rapprochement have not been sufficient since the arrival of Andrew Scheer at the head of his party, said Ghanaharan S. Pillai.

Ghanaharan S. Pillai, host of political broadcasts at the CMR Tamil Station in Toronto. Photo: Radio-Canada / Marc Godbout

“The interaction between the communities and the Conservative Party is no longer what it was under the Harper years”.

– Ghanaharan S. Pillai

Yet they would have an opportunity to seize.

According to this Toronto Tamil radio and television host, who has been observing the political game in cultural communities for years, Justin Trudeau does not necessarily enjoy the same popularity as in 2015. While the Liberals have maintained their base, they do not have not widened, he adds.

But the Conservatives do not control everything. Beyond the field work, for Ghanaharan S. Pillai, the main challenge for them is to overcome an obstacle that could benefit his opponents: Doug Ford.

The Ontario premier was brought to power thanks to the support of this electorate, which is made up mostly of immigrants. Since then, Doug Ford has particularly bad press in multicultural media notes Andrew Griffith who regularly analyzes their content. They are very strict about it.

The media factor

This is a significant factor.

There are no less than 600 multicultural media in Canada. More than half are in the greater Toronto area. Their influence is important in the communities.

A resident of Brampton, Ontario reads a newspaper in Punjabi. Photo: Radio-Canada / Marc Godbout

Ghanaharan S. Pillai’s radio broadcasts show a serious breach of trust in Doug Ford after just 15 months.

How much will this mistrust affect Andrew Scheer?

How successful will the Conservative leader be in shadowing the 2015 campaign strategies?

The stake is major. After all, 41 ridings are now 9 more than the four Atlantic provinces combined. 41, almost the same number of seats as in British Columbia.

Original article:  https://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelle/1304276/canada-election-circonscriptions-multiculturelles-pouvoir?partageApp=appInfoiOS&accesVia=partage

Multicultural Media Sound Alarm Over ‘Fake News’

This news analysis has been created as a service to readers who wish to follow news and commentary in languages other than English and French, in partnership with MIREMS and diversityvotes.ca. Photo by Kayla Velasquez on Unsplash

NCM News Desk Analysis

Canada’s mainstream and multicultural media world may be two solitudes with little in common, but they are agreed on the danger posed by “fake news” and “disinformation”. Multicultural media have devoted reams of newsprint and airtime to keep their audiences informed as Canadians prepare to vote in the Oct. 21 national election.

New Canadian Media partnered with MIREMS, an ethnic media monitoring service, and diversityvotes.ca to review 635 pages of election coverage translated into English from their original multicultural media source. They analysis covered the period between June 1 and Sept. 12, the day after the election was called.

The analysis did not reveal any concrete instances of news manipulation other than two instances that were also reported by mainstream organizations. In both instances, social media posts tried to muddy the waters around voter eligibility by suggesting that international students and expat Canadians were being wrongly encouraged to exercise their franchise.

Our review showed the following themes: an Ipsos poll in June showing that 90 per cent of Canadians

Photo by Nariman Ansari

feel vulnerable to “fake news”; an Apathy is Boring campaign encouraging youth to think critically of their media choices; government-issued warnings against specific foreign nations that will seek to influence the elections; the much-discussed Russian interference and lessons drawn from the recent Alberta provincial elections.

In at least one instance, an ethnic media organization weighed in with commentary wondering why it has taken the government so long to wake upThe comment from the Punjab Guardian in Surrey, B.C. on July 4 is noteworthy. Responding to repeated government warnings that agents from Russia, China and Saudi Arabia may try to interfere with the elections, the paper responded with this wisecrack: “It needs to be remembered that Canadian Sikhs have been telling the Canadian government and Canadian media about it for a long time.

However, security agencies have accepted for the first time that foreign interference is occurring. Now that security agencies are openly expressing their concerns about it, the government should take some serious steps in this regard.

Sowing confusion over voting rights

The instance of “voter fraud” appears to have been based on a genuine Facebook post by Truro, N.S., woman, but quickly morphed into a clear case of disinformation. This case received coverage in Portuguese, Mandarin and Filipino media at the end of AugustAfter the Truro woman posted about receiving four voter registration letters addressed to international students who had been rooming in her home, bad actors used their own social media accounts to imply that Elections Nova Scotia were wrongly adding non-citizens to the voters’ list. The Atin Ito daily’s reporting for its Filipino audience was typical, “It turns out there’s a simple explanation for the letters, but the confusion is just one example of misinformation circulating online that’s stoking fears around voter fraud as Canadians head closer to the federal election.”

The same stories also mentioned the voting rights recently given back to Canadians living abroad (“expats”), but that fact was distorted to suggest that over two million people who were not citizens were being allowed to vote on Oct. 21.

Last June’s Ipsos survey on “fake news” got wide coverage, according to NCM’s analysis. The survey, in which 90 per cent of respondents confessed to being fooled by “fake news” – a rate slightly higher than their international and North American cousins – was reported by an Italian publication, four different Tamil media organizations, a Punjabi outleta Filipino newspaperMuslim Link and a weekly Urdu weekly paper in Montreal, Nawai-Pakistan.

Reporting on the survey, the Urdu paper referred to “Russian trolls  trying to stoke divisions among Canadians by tweeting fake news stories and Islamophobic statements after the Québec mosque shootings in 2017,” warning that a similar threat exists leading up to the October election.

Apathy is Boring’s campaign to equip youth with tools to distinguish between credible and fake news was covered by media serving the South Asian community and Chinese diaspora. The Canadian Parvasi’s coverage from Mississauga was typical: The “group wants young voters ‘to think critically about what they’re seeing online and why it might be spreading.’ The federal government has set up a team of top civil servants who will monitor the election for foreign interference and alert the public if necessary. Parties have also been given secret briefings on how to protect themselves and their candidates from online misinformation.

Range of foreign actors

In mid-July, The Canadian Press quoted documents to suggest “China and India trying to use their respective ethnic communities in Canada to advance their own agendas. This got surprisingly little coverage – just three outlets in Cantonese and South Asian outlets. The reports specifically cited a series of tactics, including “cyberattacks, efforts to spread misinformation and using diaspora communities, either directly or indirectly, to steal technology, influence elections and target Canada’s economy, infrastructure and democratic institutions.”

A University of Calgary academic’s warning on Russia’s election meddling found mention in a South Asian publication and Russian Week published from Toronto. Sergey Sukhankin’s study was quoted as saying:

Perceived as one of Russia’s chief adversaries in the Arctic region, Canada is a prime target in the information wars, with Russia potentially even meddling in the October 2019 federal election. Ottawa should be ready for a new surge in cyberattacks, disinformation and propaganda levelled against Canada in the near future.”

Russian Week reported that disinformation about Canada will focus on three main areas: ridiculing Canada’s military presence in Latvia as part of NATO’s deterrent against Russia, portraying the country as a “useful satellite” of the U.S., and calling it a testing ground for “immoral Western values” because of its support of same-sex marriage and the legalization of cannabis.

Atin Ito, a Filipino publication in English, cited suspicious social media activity in the run-up to the Alberta provincial election as foreshadowing the period before Oct. 21. The online site reported on Sept. 7 that although malicious accounts clearly acted in sync during the April provincial election, there is no evidence to suggest this social media activity affected the Alberta election outcome. However, the Hamdard Daily in Punjabi reported on its front page that although investigators had identified a large number of fake social media accounts in the run up to the Alberta poll, there was no evidence of “foreign interference” – all of the accounts were identified as Canadian.

‘Censorship is coming’

Our analysis also revealed a rather unusual opinion from the Polish language Wiadomosci weekly published from Toronto, on June 6. This editorial seemed to conflate a whole host of issues, concluding that the Liberal government supports internet censorship. Here is the translated comment, verbatim: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is introducing a digital charter in Canada that will impose consequences on tech companies if they do not rein in misinformation on their platforms. It is a form of internet censorship that the Liberal government is introducing even though officially, Trudeau says that freedom of speech “is fundamental to our democracies.” In addition, Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould announced she had managed to persuade high-tech companies to censor the internet in the upcoming political election, with the guidance of a new declaration on “electoral integrity.” The opposition feels that this is being done for political reasons. Trudeau already ensured main media support by giving them more than $500,000 of public money to “help selected news outlets.” 

This news analysis has been created as a service to readers who wish to follow news and commentary in languages other than English and French, in partnership with MIREMS and diversityvotes.ca.

For more New Canadian Media stories, please visit: https://newcanadianmedia.ca

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.

Ethnic Media Election Coverage 8-14 September 2019

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)

Candidates:

  • 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

Petition for National Diabetes Strategy urges action in the fight against diabetes

Strategy includes recommendations to support high-risk communities

TORONTO, Ont. (September 10, 2019) – In 2018, Diabetes Canada released a report on how implementing a diabetes strategy could help governments take action to help manage and reduce the risk of diabetes, including recommendations for ethnic groups who are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Although there has been strong momentum, it hasn’t been enough to persuade government to implement the strategy which is why the Diabetes 360° Petition has been launched to help showcase the support of Canadians and get the attention of all parties and candidates running in the upcoming federal election.

“Diabetes is a complex and challenging disease that brings with it many serious health challenges and that disproportionately affects certain groups of Canadians,” says Charlene Lavergne, Indigenous diabetes advocate and person living with type 2 diabetes. “People of certain ethnic backgrounds are at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes, specifically people of African, Arab, Asian, Hispanic, Indigenous and South Asian descent.”

Diabetes 3600 is an evidence-based, community-developed strategy that has the potential to reduce the human burden of this rapidly escalating disease and the unsustainable pressure on the health-care system.

Recommendations that have special relevance for people at risk of diabetes due to ethnicity:

  1. Healthy Eating Strategy measures like making the Canada Food Guide inclusive of all cultural dietary patterns and available in 26 languages will make it easier for people to eat a healthy, culturally appropriate diet and prevent diabetes and its complications.
  2. Culturally appropriate tools will be developed in collaboration with ethnic communities at higher risk of diabetes to support them in preventing diabetes and its complications.
  3. Greater adherence to the Clinical Practice Guidelines for screening will mean that people of African, Arab, Asian, Hispanic, Indigenous or South Asian descent are screened regularly for diabetes. Improvements in treatment will ensure that everyone gets culturally relevant care when and where they need it.
  4. A patient portal will help Canadians access community-based supports for diabetes self-management in their language, in their culture and in their community.

Diabetes 360° is a framework that is intended to be implemented differently in each province and territory, and possibly in each community, based on their unique priorities and needs. This is to ensure the requirements of each group at higher risk of diabetes due to ethnicity are well met.

About Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body either cannot produce insulin or cannot properly use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that controls the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Diabetes leads to high blood sugar levels, which can damage organs, blood vessels and nerves. The body needs insulin to use sugar as an energy source.

 About Diabetes Canada

Diabetes Canada is the registered national charitable organization that is making the invisible epidemic of diabetes visible and urgent. Diabetes Canada partners with Canadians to End Diabetes through:

  • Resources for health care professionals on best practices to care for people with diabetes;
  • Advocacy to governments, schools and workplaces; and
  • Funding world-leading Canadian research to improve treatments and find a cure.

For more information, visit diabetes.ca or call 1-800-BANTING (226-8464).

Ethnic Media Election Coverage 1-7 September 2019

This week about 180 election-related articles were analysed.

Major issues covered:

Campaign: Main issues covered factual information pieces such as campaign length, registration process for political parties (provoked by the far-right Canadian Nationalist Party), the campaign by Canadian Alliance of Student Associations to increase the youth vote, and political posturing around the Conservative video featuring former PM Harper.

The respective positions of the NDP and Green Party regarding supporting a minority government were also covered:

“… a tight race between the Conservatives and the Liberals, with no more than a percentage point between them on average, both in the low 30s. The most likely outcome, if this holds: a minority Parliament of some kind, with neither party capable of governing on its own. Next, consider the likely strategies of the two major parties in response. The Liberals will do what they nearly always do: paint the Conservatives as racists, Nazis and worse, the better to frighten NDP and Green supporters into voting Grit as the only way to stop the Tories.” (South Asian English, Asian Tribune)

Candidates:

General candidate coverage focussed on the number of nominated candidates by party (particularly the low number of NDP candidates), the defection of NDP candidates in New Brunswick to the Green Party and the back and forth between the two parties and the initial numbers of women candidates, particularly the significantly increase of Conservative women candidates (about one-third).

  • Saint-Léonard-Saint-Michel: The withdrawal of the Liberal nomination of Hassan Guillet over his anti-semitic and anti-Israel social media posts, along with his complaints regarding the accusations and process, received widespread coverage in Italian media.

“Political parties usually vet their candidates before choosing them; so, what happened this time? According to the author, a party that wants to continue governing should not fail to carry out the necessary background check. The Liberal Party of Canada (LPC) got rid of its candidate quickly because the winds of change are blowing in the riding and the Tories are now competitive. No one should be surprised by what is happening in Saint-Léonard-Saint-Michel because of the LPC’s failure to apologize [for World War II restrictions], its disorderly immigration policy, its legalization of cannabis, higher taxes for the middle class, and the rising federal debt. As for the next Liberal candidate, we can expect more candy, but Trudeau’s candies for the Italian community are just pranks.” (Italian, Il Cittadino Canadese)

  • Beauce: A profile of the riding highlighted the small numbers of immigrants in PPC leader Bernier’s riding but that labour shortages were becoming a local issue.
  • Brampton: Coverage focussed on Conservative candidate Ramona Singh (Brampton East) and Liberal MP Kamal Khera (Brampton West). Brampton Centre MP Ramesh Sangha attracted the most media attention given his interview stating that the Liberals were hampering relations with India:

“He accused his fellow caucus members of being in favour of an independent Punjab, called Khalistan. This is a topic that has been frustrating Trudeau for the past two years, with Indian officials also accusing Trudeau of the same softness for Punjabi independence.” (Punjabi, OMNI 2 TV 8:00 PM South Asian Today)

Brampton Centre has the lowest percentage of Canadian Sikhs of the five Brampton ridings (7.8 percent), with the other ridings ranging from 13 to 33.8 percent). Other significant religious groups include Muslims and Hindus (8.5 and 9.6 percent respectively), all figures from the 2011 NHS. Sangha himself is Hindu.

  • Burnaby South: NDP leader Singh’s nomination received further coverage.
  • Calgary Forest Lawn: Jasraj Singh Hallan defeated, Aman Obhrai, the son of former Calgary Conservative MP Deepak Obhrai.
  • Markam Thornhill: Alex Yuan, CPC candidate, was profiled.
  • Markham-Unionville: Alan Ho, LPC candidate, was profiled.
  • Mississauga Centre: Milad Mikael, CPC candidate, was profiled.
  • Mississauga Lakeshore: Stella Amber, CPC candidate, was profiled.
  • Riviere-du-Nord: Further coverage of CPC star candidate Sylvie Fréchette did not discuss the party position on abortion.
  • Scarborough North: Yan Chen, CPC candidate, was profiled.
  • Scarborough Southwest: Kimberly Smith, CPC candidate, was profiled.
  • Toronto Centre: Ryan Lester, CPC candidate, was profiled.
  • Toronto Danforth: Zia Choudhary, CPC candidate, was profiled.
  • Wellington Halton: Conservative MP Michael Chong, CPC candidate, was profiled.
  • Whitby: Todd McCarthy, CPC candidate, was profiled.
  • Windsor West: Henry Lau, CPC candidate, was profiled.

Same Sex Marriage: Coverage continued of the 2005 video of CPC leader Scheer explaining his opposition to same sex marriage to a number of language groups.

One thing people need to know about Scheer is that he is a devout Catholic and he upholds his faith with great fervour, unlike Trudeau who pretends to be Catholic by receiving Communion even if he is not practising. What’s next? Telling Jagmeet Singh to eat meat just to show support for the meat-eating people of Canada? And if he refuses, will he be called a bigot, discriminatory and ineligible to rule the country because he abides by the practice of his Sikh faith of not consuming meat? If he rejects eating meat, does that mean he hates meat-eaters? In a world where the truth belongs only to the ones who are in charge and who are loud criers and whiners, there is no room to silently contemplate what is real and true. (Filipino, 10000Twice)

Abortion: The CPC position on abortion was also frequently mentioned in articles that focussed on same sex marriage. Coverage this week focussed on the Campaign Life Coalition’s disappointment with the clarification of CPC position:

“Fonseca said Scheer’s speech ‘suggest[ed] he may in fact use intimidation or threats to prevent MPs from bringing forward pro-life private members’ business, or to coerce his caucus to vote against such measures, which for many would be to vote against their own consciences.’ If a Prime Minister Scheer did use threats to keep the caucus in line, that would amount to ‘betrayal’ of the anti-abortion movement, Fonseca said.” (Chinese, Ming Pao Toronto)

Climate change:  Coverage continued on opposition to the carbon tax by the governments of Ontario and Saskatchewan, along with the gas station stickers in Ontario as well as concerns by scientists and environmental groups regarding Elections Canada’s rules on public discussion.

Cost of living: While coverage focussed on the Conservative commitment to give new parents a non-refundable tax credit of 15 per cent on EI income and commitments by all three parties to reduce cell phone costs, a number of related economic issues were also mentioned, including the respective commitments of the three major party leaders at Hamilton’s Labour Day parade (e.g., federal minimum wage by the NDP and skills training by the Liberals). One article in Punjabi mentioned the challenges of the trucking industry.

Ethnic vote: Coverage focussed on general voting issues and making an informed choice (“cast your vote, but don’t vote your caste” (Punjabi, Chin FM 91.9 Ramz Punjabi).

In Muslim media:

“…our people, many of whom are not aware of the political system, are herded to the polls like cattle and eventually vote for a party or candidate that would not benefit our community. Rather we must vote based on a party’s platform or the candidate’s abilities. At times, our community members realize after the fact that a certain individual using his or her unique position in a Muslim organization is influencing our sacred decision. Unfortunately, by the time we realize, it is too late.” (Muslim, al Ameen)

Italian dissatisfaction at being taken for granted was noted by former Liberal Immigration Minister Joe Volpe:

“Hussen represents York South Weston, a riding with an Italian community large enough to influence the outcome of the next elections. Under his leadership, IRCC has put up obstacles to immigration from Italy” (Italian, Corriere Canadese).

One article focused on the Chinese Canadian vote in greater Vancouver,

Voter fraud: Coverage focussed on the Nova Scotia example of one woman received four student registration cards (Elections Nova Scotia, not Elections Canada).

China: The appointment of Dominic Barton as Ambassador to China was noted.

Immigration: Two anti-immigration commentaries occurred in Punjabi media:

“Every day there are reports about immigration fraud, fake IELTS rankings, fake job offers, misuse of student programs,  exploitation of the refugee program etc. in the print and electronic media but the government is paying no attention to these.” (Punjabi, Khabarnama Punjabi Weekly)

Andrew Griffith, ethnic media provided by MIREMS

Ethnic Media Election Coverage 25-31 August 2019

This week about 220 election-related articles were analysed.

Major issues covered:

Third parties: Third party advertising dominated coverage in virtually all language groups given outrage over the anti-immigration and pro-Bernier billboards of True North Strong and Free Advertising. Coverage included Bernier’s endorsement and railing against the “totalitarian leftist mob” for the decision by Pattison Outdoor Advertising to take down the billboards. The fact that no person or organization took responsibility for approving their content was noted (hard to believe given their $60,000 cost).

Campaign: The unveiling of the Conservative and Liberal campaign slogans received the most coverage. The book, Assessing Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Government, analyzing the degree to which the Trudeau and Harper governments delivered on their election promises received moderate coverage (showing that both largely did but the Harper government more so). Campaign financing violations by two Quebec companies (Axor) and the resulting fines received some coverage.

“The Conservatives misguide people to believe that pipelines can create jobs and they ignore the economic potential of green energy, transition policies and the disastrous effects of climate change as a whole. The best strategy to fight right-wing populism is not wishy-washy liberalism, but having a social democratic party which can bravely and confidently deal with issues such as climate change, an unstable economy and worsening inequality.” (Korean, CNDreams)

The importance of the youth vote in determining election outcomes along with the Apathy is Boring initiative received considerable coverage.

Candidates:

  • Beauce: PPC leader Bernier’s comments that he was “not fazed” by a riding level poll showing him in a dead heat with the Conservative candidate, former mayor, Richard Lehoux was reported.
  • Brampton: Conservative candidates Arpan Khanna (Brampton North), Ramona Singh (Brampton East), Ramandeep Brar (Brampton South) launched their campaigns and received significant coverage in South Asian media. Liberal MPs seeking re-election, Sonia, Sidhu, Ruby Sahota and Kamal Khera attending a barbecue with Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown (former Ontario PC leader) was covered.
  • Calgary Forest Lawn: Aman Obhrai is seeking the party’s nomination to replace his father, former Calgary Conservative MP Deepak Obhrai.
  • Central Nova: Country music star, George Canyon, Conservative, received coverage regarding retaking this traditionally Conservative seat (former minister Peter McKay’s seat).
  • Longueuil-Saint-Hubert: MP Pierre Nantel’s leaving the NDP to run for the Green Party received further coverage.
  • Markam Thornhill: Liberal MP Mary Ng continued her op-eds promoting the government’s achievements with Doug Ford being the bogeyman:

“In the name of austerity policies and prudent finances, Doug Ford’s cuts already cut the dreams of setting up a university campus in Markham. They also forced high school students to stand up and protest against the proposed increase in class size and decline in the quality of education. There’s no doubt that if Andrew Scheer gets the chance to do so, he will also follow the steps of his friend Ford.” (Chinese, 51.ca)

  • Mississauga-Malton: Tom Varughese, CPC candidate stressed Conservative plans to remove the federal income tax from employment insurance (EI) maternity and paternal benefits to assist families:

“Varughese further said in his letter that Justin Trudeau said he would help the middle class, but the last four years show that he is not as advertised. He raised taxes on 80 per cent of middle-class families and brought in a carbon tax that makes everyday essentials more expensive. Andrew Scheer has a plan to help young families get ahead and keep more of their hard earned money.” (Punjabi, Canadian Punjabi Post)

  • Mississauga-Streetsville: The controversy over anti-LGTBQ posts on the personal website of Ghada Melek, CPC candidate, was noted.
  • Riviere-du-Nord: The announcement that former Olympic synchronized swimming champion Sylvie Fréchette would be a star Conservative candidate was marred by the controversy over abortion (see below). BQ MP Rhéal Fortin won in 2015 (margin 1.9 percent over the NDP), with Conservatives far behind in fourth place.
  • Vimy: The refusal by the Liberal party to approve the candidacy of MP Eva Nassif received further coverage with the local Liberal association complaining of being “left in the dark.”
  • Elections Canada voter procedures and information were noted.

Same Sex Marriage: The 2005 video of CPC leader Scheer explaining his opposition to same sex marriage shared by the Liberals was covered extensively particularly in Chinese language media. His assurance that he supports the law and his refusal to state whether his views have evolved were noted. NDP leader Singh’s statement that he would not support a Conservative minority government given Scheer’s views was also covered.

Cost of living: Extensive coverage continued on CPC leader Scheer’s announcement of their platform commitment to give new parents a non-refundable tax credit of 15 per cent on EI income was widely reported. One commentator noted:

“The government should help families to raise their children, and not try to solve people’s ‘gender’ problems, or support the ideology of feminism. … The author says that “assessing this initiative, it should be noted that support of families with children is the best manifestation of state feminism.” (Russian, Russian Express)

Proposals by all three major parties to address cell phone costs were noted. One commentator noted that banning Huawei would result in higher cell phone costs

Climate change: In addition to ongoing coverage of Elections Canada rules on discussing climate change, Environment Minister McKenna’s stating that the amount of the carbon tax would be reviewed in 2022 and consequent back and further with Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre was covered.

“McKenna accidentally told the truth. She admitted that if re-elected the carbon tax would go much higher than Liberals previously said.” (Punjabi, Canadian Punjabi Post)

Ontario Premier Ford’s statement that he would drop the carbon tax court challenge should the Conservatives win was noted, along with polling that showed voters being concerned but less willing to pay more to combat climate change.

Polls: The Angus Reid poll, identifying the top three issues for Canadians—climate change, healthcare, taxes— and that the ethnics commissioner’s report on SNC-Lavalin had not adversely affected the Liberals, drew the most coverage. Ipsos and Léger polls showing a similar lack of impact and a dead heat between the Conservatives and Liberals were covered. The Digital Democracy Project’s overall findings of dissatisfaction with Canadian politicians and the limited impact of voting received some coverage.

Abortion: Confusion between CPC leader Scheer and his Quebec lieutenant Alain Rayes over whether Conservative MPs would be free or not to introduce anti-abortion bills drew considerable coverage. Coverage included Conservative star candidate Sylvie Fréchette following Rayes understanding that individual MPs would not be able to table anti-immigration bills as well as Scheer’s clarification that that MPs would be free to do so.

“I [Fréchette]can confirm that it’s false. It’s false. It’s totally false” (Filipino, Philippine Canadian Inquirer)

One article noted that the Conservative party would not be able to prevent its MPs:

”Such a scenario is virtually guaranteed, given the number of pro-life MPs on the Conservative team. The current Conservative caucus has 44 pro-life members out of 95, and 34 are running for re-election this fall.” (Italian, CFMB AM 1280 Italian Morning)

Ethnic vote: A number of articles discussed the general importance of the ethnic media and ethnic votes. Visits by Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez met with the Hispanic community to discuss fake news and efforts to increase voter turnout.

Trade: Former Conservative Ambrose’s disagreement with CPC leader Scheer’s “assertion that Canada got taken to the cleaners by Donald Trump on the renegotiated NAFTA” (South Asian English, The Canadian Parvasi) was widely covered (Ambrose was on the government advisory panel).

Andrew Griffith, ethnic media provided by MIREMS