Diversity Votes Stories

from our Ethnic Media Partner and other sources

Douglas Todd: Idea of apology splits Italian Canadians

CP-Web. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pauses while making a formal apology to individuals harmed by federal legislation, policies, and practices that led to the oppression of and discrimination against LGBTQ2 people in Canada, in the House of Commons in Ottawa, Tuesday, Nov.28, 2017. ADRIAN WYLD / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has already offered his apologies to many different Canadian minority groups, some Italian Canadian media outlets have been aroused to express anger that their ethnic group has not yet received one from him.

The Italian-language media, which has 25 different outlets in Canada, has been simmering this summer about Trudeau, who has made it clear he will formally apologize only after the Oct. 21 election for the internment of a relatively small portion of Italian-Canadians during the Second World War.

“Almost 80 bitter years later, the federal government appears ready to apologize to Italian Canadians for the humiliation, suffering, arrest and internments of hundreds in 1940. … While some say better late than never, others wonder why he did not do it right after he came to power,” said Lo Specchio newspaper.

“The fact Justin Trudeau has ‘promised’ just before the fall election to apologize in Parliament for the internment of Italian Canadians … raises questions about the prime minister’s sincerity,” said Corriere Canadese newspaper.

“Anti-Italian prejudice must end,” declared one writer in Il Cittadino Canadese.

Trudeau’s promised apology has become a key political issue in ridings with large Italian and other ethnic groups.

And it’s sparked debate among Italian Canadians and others over whether such an apology is warranted, since the detention of 586 suspected Fascist Italian Canadians was different in many ways from the mass internment of 22,000 Japanese Canadians during the Second World War.

Andres Machalski, co-founder of an organization that monitors electoral issues among Canada’s ethnic communities, said many Italian-language newspapers are pushing for Trudeau to say he’s sorry because, like other ethnic groups, they’re “using apology and redress issues to establish their political and cultural identity in Canada.”

Andres Machalski suspects calls for an apology to those Italian Canadians interned during the Second World War has more to do with modern promotion of community interests. HANDOUT BY MACHALSKI / PNG

Italian Canadians are “particularly aggressive … because they have a history of political participation and leadership and a need to defend that space against other ethnic lobbies,” said Malchaski, whose website, diversityvotes.ca, monitors hundreds of ethnic-language media outlets in Canada.

About 1.6 million Canadians are of Italian ethnicity, including almost 100,000 in Metro Vancouver, 280,000 in Greater Montreal and 490,000 in the Toronto region. Malchaski says many are involved in nomination competitions in ridings which have a changing mix of ethnic voters.

In his four years in office Trudeau became the focus of academic studies for his frequent “apologism,” for the way he regularly, often tearfully, expresses regret for historical wrongs to certain groups, including Sikhs, Indigenous people in B.C., Jews, Inuit and LGBTQ people.

As a result many Italian Canadian media outlets are suspicious about why he’s holding off until after the election to apologize for what occurred in Canada during the Second World War, when Canadian soldiers joined the Allies battling against Nazi Germanyimperial Japan and Fascist Italy.

Part of the reason for Trudeau’s delay could have to do with the uncertainty and controversy that continues to burn among Italians and the wider public over whether to apologize to offspring of the those Italian Canadians detained as suspected collaborators with Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s Fascists.

Canada was “not wrong or malicious” to try to protect the country by detaining certain Italians in the country at a time of war, says Patrick Luciana, an Italian Canadian who is a senior fellow at the University of Toronto’s Global Cities Institute.

“To have done otherwise would have shown an extraordinary dereliction of duty to Canada and its people …. What government wouldn’t take precautions against potential enemy subversives?” Luciana recently wrote, noting such precautions were the norm among Allied countries.

“How can we as Italian Canadians ask for an apology when 5,000 Canadian men and boys are buried in cemeteries throughout Italy, who died to rid ‘our’ ancestral home of fascism and naziism?,” Luciana said.

“If we want anything, it’s to avoid having this episode in our history forgotten. But that’s in our hands, not the government’s.”

Another prominent Canadian historian, Jack Granatstein, told Postmedia he thoroughly endorsed the views of Luciana, who argued it’s insulting to ask for an apology today from the descendants of Canada’s leaders in the 1940s, who were predominantly Anglo-Saxon.

Historians often make many distinctions between the targeted Italian Canadian arrests in Eastern Canada and the way that, after the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong and Pearl Harbour, most Japanese Canadians were removed from the West Coast, had their property confiscated and were interned.

Former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, Justin’s father, opposed collective apologies in general. And at least two other Italian Canadian scholars – Franca Iocovetta and Roberto Perin, who edited the 2000 book, Enemies Within – have also expressed skepticism about the Italian redress campaign, according to Christopher Moore, a contributing editor to Canada’s History magazine.

“In the 1930s, there were pro-Fascist organizations in most Italian-Canadian communities, often sponsored by Italian consulates loyal to Mussolini’s Fascist regime. The roughly 600 Italian Canadians interned, out of some 112,000 Italians Canadians, were mostly associated with these pro-Fascist organizations,” Moore said.

On the eve of the Second World War, the Italian Canadian population was split by duelling pro- and anti-Fascist organizations, noted Moore, a prolific writer and former Vancouver resident whose father wrote a biography of Angelo Branca, a leading B.C. lawyer, judge and Italian community leader.

Moore says Branca’s standing among Italian Canadians was “eventually enhanced by his determined resistance in the 1930s to the encroachment of the pro-Fascist movements.”

Regardless of whether Canadians support or oppose an apology, Machalski, whose website translates the Italian-language media into English, said the fight of some Italian Canadians “for an apology is more of a fight for political space for the community than a campaign for redress that might kindle old animosities.”

In advance of this fall’s election, Machalski is on to something when he maintains the campaign to make sure Trudeau says he’s sorry is mostly about trying to conserve a sense of Italian identity among younger generations and to hold onto some political influence.



See original article at: https://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/douglas-todd-idea-of-federal-apology-splits-italian-canadians

Ethnic Media Election Coverage 18-24 August 2019

This week about 160 election-related articles were analyzed.

Major issues covered:

Ethics (SNC Lavalin): The ethics commissioner’s finding that PM Trudeau had violated the conflict of interest code, the PM’s refusal to apologize, the blocking of hearings by Liberals in the House Ethics Committee and CPC leader Scheer’s call for a RCMP investigation were widely covered in many language groups.

“Host Mark Strong said this does not look good right around election time. He said it is a bombshell report and leaves a substantial crater in the Liberal government’s road to re-election.” (Caribbean, G 98.7 FM Mark & Jem in the Morning)

“The SNC-Lavalin scandal will clearly be fatal for Trudeau’s political career. ‘Will it become fatal for the Liberal Party, and what should the party do to prevent this from happening?’ asks the author. He continues, ‘If Trudeau’s main concern were the victory of his party in the election, he would take responsibility for this scandal, apologize, and resign.” (Russian, Russian Express)

Climate change (Elections Canada): The initial ruling by Elections Canada that discussing the risk of climate change could be interpreted as partisan given the PPC denial of climate change, the concerns by environmental organizations and the subsequent assurance that it could be discussed by the Chief Electoral Officer were extensively covered in most languages.

“This sort of “bizarre hyper-guaranteeism” seems more like the result of a “contorted Orwellian vision” than something out of one of the greatest democracies on the planet.” (Italian, Corriere Canadese)


  • Scarborough North: Chen Yan, NDP candidate, had an extensive profile in Chinese media. The riding is currently held by Liberal Shaun Chen.
  • Cumberland-Colchester: Coverage of Stephen Garvey, leader of the far-right National Citizens Alliance, focused on the criminal charges he is facing regarding circumventing election spending limits.
  • Etobicoke North: Sarabjit Kaur, Conservative Party, launch coverage mentioned the presence of provincial PC MPPs Prabhmeet Sarkaria and Amarjot Singh Sandhu, suggesting the Ford government enjoys support among the base. The riding is currently held by Liberal cabinet minister Kirsty Duncan.
  • Longueuil-Saint-Hubert: Former NDP MP Pierre Nantel switching to run for the Green Party received considerable coverage. The margin for the NDP in 2015 was 1.2 percent.
  • Etobicoke Centre: Ted Opitz, the former Conservative MP, is running to regain his seat that he lost to Liberal Borys Wrzesnewskyj who regained his seat in 2015 (Wrzesnewskyj was the MP 2004-11). 7.3 percent of the population is of Polish ancestry.

“He [Opitz] also said that Trudeau disappointed people. Trudeau said in the past that he admires the Chinese dictatorship, and statements like this don’t have to be explained to Polish people that know too well the meaning of communism. Polish people have to stop supporting Justin Trudeau, as he doesn’t represent Polish values, Opitz says.  On the other hand, Andrew Scheer is a devoted Catholic with five children, from a hard-working family who shares the values dear to the Polish community.” (Polish, Puls)

  • Markham-Thornhill: Alex Yuan, Conservative candidate, launched his campaign with Canadian senator Victor Oh, Conservative MP Peter Kent and other federal and provincial conservatives:

“He [Yuan] shared his door knocking experience, and said that voters are most concerned that the Liberal government’s policy may mess up the existing peace and societal order. They are afraid that the legalization of marijuana will lead to loose regulation of other more damaging drugs. Voters are concerned that the Liberal government will not be able to control the border and that we will see an increase in illegal border crossers entering Canada.” (Chinese, Van People)

  • Vancouver-Granville: Taleeb Noormohamed, LPC, running against former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, received further coverage.
  • Brampton South: Sonia Sidhu, Liberal incumbent, received more coverage of her campaign launch.

Campaign: Comparable riding level fundraising of the Conservatives and Liberals continued to be covered. Conservative plans to offer a reduced rate to media on the leader’s tour was noted. One commentator noted:

“At some events, Scheer will act like a naughty little brother trying to tease his older brother. During the visit in Moncton, the way Scheer looked at Trudeau seemed suggestive. Scheer told Trudeau he has to stop lying to Canadians. Trudeau laughed in response and did not think Scheer would care so much about him. Some people on Twitter questioned Scheer’s honesty. It also appears Trudeau has always looked at Scheer in an endearing big brother kind of way.” (Chinese, 51.ca)

Cost of living: 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:

“It is not that great of an approach in reality. These politicians always sugar coat things and make it sound like it’s for Canadians. In reality, low-income individuals already get taxed a small amount or none at all. Hence, this policy will not impact this group.” (Chinese, Van People)

Polls: Covered continued of Nanos research findings that most Canadians disapprove of provincial premier participation in the federal campaign and their expectations that it would be a negative campaign. Ipsos and Leger polls showing no drop in Liberal support following the release of the Ethnics Commissioner’s report were noted. Other coverage included a majority of Ontario voters believing the province was on the “wrong track” (Corbett Communications) as well as Forum Research and Mainstream Research polls.

Leaders’ Debate: In addition to ongoing coverage of the decision by the Leaders’ Debate Commission to exclude PPC leader Bernier, the announcement by CityTV and Macleans for an earlier debate on September 12 was covered.

Citizenship: The revocation of Jack Letts UK citizenship and consequent implications for Canada given his Canadian citizenship was covered, along with comments from the PM and CPC leader. The campaign urging Canadian expatriates in Hong Kong to vote and pressure the parties to take a stronger stand on Hong Kong’s independence was noted.

Immigration: The federal Liberal government’s replacement of Ontario government cuts to legal aid for immigrants and refugees continued to be covered, along with the associated political positioning.

“[The radio host] said that he thinks that Trudeau and Tory have joined to weaken Premier Ford and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer. Ford has become a big problem for Scheer’s future as well. Trudeau is taking aim at Ford by showing that if Canadians elect a Conservative government, it will cut funding and impact healthcare, infrastructure, and immigration and refugee services.” (Punjabi, CJMR Punjab Di Goonj)

Third parties: Third parties mentioned included Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) and anti-abortion groups RightNow and the Campaign Life Coalition. The widespread use of Facebook advertising by third parties was noted.

Leaders and Parties in the Ethnic Media – Part 3 – Conservative Party – cont. Scheer, the Conservative Party and the immigration elephant in the room

Diversityvotes.ca follows with its series of spotlights on Leaders and Parties with a continuation of how Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and his Party are faring in the multilingual media coverage in the first two weeks in August. We will continue this series with a focus on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, followed by NDP Leader Jagdeep Singh and Green Party’s Elizabeth May.

Tanya Davidson – The Post Millennial

The elephant in the ethnic media room, so to speak, is the concern over immigration quotas and policies.

The media asked Scheer about the three words – orderly, fair and compassionate – in his immigration policy. The Canadian Punjabi Post says the policy addresses neither refugee numbers nor border security, improvements to the process of sponsoring parents and grandparents, or issues concerning international students. According to Scheer, there is a great deal that is hidden in these three words, and he will bring his policy to the public in more detail very soon.1

Yao Yong An in Loving Sister points out that mainstream media asked Scheer about how many immigrants his Conservative Party platform would accept annually. Scheer has not responded yet. In recent years, the Conservative Party has vigorously advocated anti-refugee remarks and condemned legitimate asylum seekers as illegals. Conservative MPs even blame all the immigration and tourism visa issues on cross-border asylum seekers when they speak before Parliament.2

Talking about the federal election, WTOR 770 AM host Yudhvir Jaswal said that we will have to see whether Andrew Scheer does something or waits for voters to cast their vote to support him. Until now, Scheer has not revealed what he actually wants to do. Neither has he revealed his policy on immigration or on climate change.3

From fact to craze: The Chinese media seems to be very concerned about the fact that Syrian refugees will be able to vote. The headlines of the articles are quite inflammatory, and seem to have been triggered by a line in a 680 word National Post article: https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/refugees-in-2015-syrians-now-citizens-in-time-for-2019-federal-election

There is a profile of Ahmad Almahmoud, one of 25,000 Syrian refugees who were resettled in Canada between the October 2015 federal election and February 2016. The Chinese media latched on to two dozen words in the original story “More Syrian refugees have landed in the country since then, with Statistics Canada numbers showing almost 60,000 being resettled as of this past February.”

This statement of fact became transformed into alarm in a series of escalating headlines:

  • Syrian refugees who become Canadian citizens will be able to cast federal ballot for first time – Tamil
  • Refugees in 2015, Syrians now citizens in time for 2019 federal election – Filipino
  • Refugees in 2015, Syrians now citizens in time for 2019 federal election – South Asian English
  • Now Canadian citizens, some Syrian refugees able to cast federal ballot for first time – Chinese
  • 60,000 Syrian refugees waiting to become Canadian citizens – Chinese
  • A large number of Syrian refugees who came to Canada in 2015 have already field their citizenship applications, hoping to cast a vote in the fall federal election – Chinese
  • Trudeau expected to take these 2,500 votes! This figure is expected to rise – Chinese
  • Syrian refugees naturalize one after another; expected to become a new force in this year’s federal election – Chinese
  • 897 Syrian-born applicants became Canadian citizens during the first four months of 2019 – Chinese
  • Crazed: 60,000 Syrian refugees are rushing to be naturalized, just to vote in the federal election… – Chinese
  • Canada will change?! 60,000 Syrian refugees line up for naturalization and wait for the October federal election to vote! – Chinese4

Some of the stories carry comments from the audience – perhaps not representative statistically, but indicators of the tone nonetheless:

Syrian refugees queue for Canadian citizenship – Chinese – One Twitter user wrote: “Liberals only hope for a win…refugees and legalized marijuana [sic]…… SAD”. Another Twitter user wrote: “He [sic] thinks he was brought here because of compassion, but the real motive of the government was for him to vote Liberal.” One internet post in the comment section of yorkbbs: “Make Justin be a drama teacher again [sic]”. Another comment: “Do not worry, he [sic] is done after Oct. 21”.5

Change in Canada? – Chinese – One comment asked “who is the lesser evil”? Another comment wrote: “Look at Little Potato (Trudeau)! Look at so many refugees around you! Look at the crime rate now! Look at the current gas prices! Look at the current deficit!”6

60,000 Syrian refugees eager to gain Canadian citizenship and voting rights – Chinese – Wang Luo states that Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer publicly criticized Trudeau for treating refugee acceptance like child’s play. He said he has heard complaints, including from new immigrants, about applying for immigration in accordance with rules and procedures. They said since the Liberal government came to power, they have felt offended because many illegal refugees were able to skip the line-up and exploit loopholes to cross the Canadian border.7

60,000 Syrian refugees will gain Canadian citizenship, Trudeau smiles – Chinese – A lot of online users hold a negative attitude about accepting refugees and about the fact that refugees who will be naturalized will participate in voting in the Canadian election. Some people commented that this circumstance is very beneficial for Trudeau. These refugees were brought to Canada because the government was carrying out humanitarianism, but is the real motive of the government to let these refugees vote for the Liberal Party after naturalization?8

Almost a rebuttal, a thoughtful article entitled Understanding why Chinese people and new immigrants are easily fooled byCanada-U.S. Must Read” comments, “After going abroad, I realized the many Chinese people and new immigrants are easily fooled, because the information platforms they read are still WeChat, Weibo and other mainland Chinese social media.” The writer says that not caring about the English media makes it easy for them to fall into all kinds of traps. This year, as Canada’s federal election looms, the writer says that some parties have taken advantage of Chinese people’s reading habits and are being two-faced in the Chinese and English media, making contradictory commitments to different groups and attempting to fish in troubled water. The writer says, for instance on Twitter, Conservative Party leader Scheer has a tough stance and wants to confront China. However, on social media that Chinese people often use, the writer noted that Scheer’s attitude took a 180 turn and says that the Conservative Party has always wanted to maintain good relations with China!9

An incident at a rally allowed Scheer to condemn the ‘racist’ comments by a woman calling to vote for him, Fadi Al Harouni of RCI Arabic reports. However, Chinese writer Bei Hai says that netizens have raised suspicion about the woman Talya Davidson’s real identity – Davidson may be an undercover supporter for the Liberal Party. The goal is to create negative discussion against the Conservative Party; it is not only directed towards Scheer. If that is the truth, this kind of behavior is too low.10

Next week – Ethnic media takes on Trudeau, the Liberal Party, and more!

(~ 1621 words inc. footnotes, Andres Machalski, President, MIREMS Ltd, with files from diversityvotes.ca)

  1. PRINT – Canadian Punjabi Post (35000 – Daily5) – Toronto, 06/08/2019 – News, 1/6 page, p. 1, Punjabi
  1. WEB – Loving Sister (Daily3) – Toronto, 04/08/2019 – EDITORIAL, 2 page web, 1st Top, Chinese
  2. RADIO – WTOR 770 AM Radio South Asian Pulse Prime Time (Daily5) – Mississauga, 06/08/2019 – COMMENTARY, 2 mins, 03/19, Punjabi
  3. RADIO – CMR FM 101.3 Tamil Weekend (Twice-Weekly) – Toronto, 10/08/2019 – News, Tamil
WEB – Philippine Canadian Inquirer (Daily) – National, 11/08/2019 – NEWS, English
WEB – The Canadian Parvasi (Daily7) – Mississauga, 11/08/2019 – NEWS, English
PRINT – Epoch Times (Daily) – Toronto, 12/08/2019 – NEWS, Chinese
WEB – Van People (Daily) – Vancouver, 10/08/2019 – ARTICLE, Chinese
WEB – BCbay.com (Daily) – Vancouver, 11/08/2019 – COMMENTARY, Chinese
WEB – 51.ca (Daily) – Toronto, 11/08/2019 – NEWS, Chinese
WEB – Dushi.ca (Daily) – Markham, 11/08/2019 – NEWS, Chinese
WEB – yorkbbs (Irregular) – Toronto, 11/08/2019 – NEWS, Chinese WEB – londonchinese.ca (Daily7) – London (Ontario), 13/08/2019 – ARTICLE, Chinese
WEB – Dushi.ca (Daily5) – Markham, 15/08/2019 – NEWS, Chinese
       5. WEB – yorkbbs (Irregular) – Toronto, 10/08/2019 – COMMENTARY, Chinese
  1. WEB – yorkbbs (Irregular) – Toronto, 11/08/2019 – FORUM POST, Chinese
  2. WEB – Van People (Daily7) – Vancouver, 11/08/2019 – EDITORIAL, Chinese
  3. WEB – lahoo.ca (Daily7) – Vancouver, 11/08/2019 – ARTICLE, Chinese
  4. WEB – BCbay.com (Daily5) – Vancouver, 09/08/2019 – NEWS, Chinese
  5. WEB – RCI Arabic (Daily5) – Montreal, 13/08/2019 – News, Arabic
WEB – superlife.ca (Daily7) – North York, 13/08/2019 – ARTICLE, Chinese
TV – PTC North America (100000 – Daily7) – Toronto, 14/08/2019 – News, Punjabi
WEB – Van People (Daily7) – Vancouver, 13/08/2019 – ARTICLE, Chinese
WEB – westca.com (Daily7) – Surrey, 13/08/2019 – ARTICLE, Chinese

Leaders and Parties in the Ethnic Media – Part 2 – Conservative Party The Scheer-Trudeau slug fest centers on health spending and provincial premiers

Diversityvotes.ca follows with its series of spotlights on Leaders and Parties with a two section look at how Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and his Party are faring in the multilingual media coverage in the first two weeks in August. We will continue this series with a focus on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, followed by NDP Leader Jagdeep Singh and Green Party’s Elizabeth May.

Marc Grandmaison/The Canadian Press – Andrew Scheer takes questions from the media in Dieppe, N.B., on Aug. 15, 2019.

As the election focus moves from the scheduling of the event dates and debates to the campaign, our tracking shows that Andrew Scheer seems to be receiving the same level of coverage as Justin Trudeau, but this is hard to determine, since they are often mentioned together.

Beyond highlighting Justin Trudeau and Andrew Scheer playing musical chairs in the polls and reporting on the tail end of the Food Guide spat politicizing Canadian eating habits, the ethnic media have featured Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer in relation to provincial healthcare transfers and the ongoing skirmishes over various actions of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party.

It is important to underscore at this point that the ethnic media is not a single voice but is diverse not only in its language and culture, but also in the individual political points of view of its outlets and their journalists. It is also important to distinguish stories by mainstream writers from Canadian Press or Postmedia wire agencies, which reach new audiences through syndication, and original opinions from community writers who actually are in touch with those audiences.

In an article titled Toward the vote, electoral campaign fails to take off, Corriere Canadese’s Francesco Veronesi complains that while employment, immigration, foreign trade and the environment are among the major questions that should characterize the current federal election campaign, until now the debate has centered on trivial issues like squabbling between the Tories and Liberals over the Canadian Food Guide, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s criticism of Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s failure to take part in the Vancouver Pride Parade. In Francesco Veronesi’s opinion, the destiny of a country is not decided by the participation in or boycott of the Pride Parade. Hopefully as the election draws nearer, the political debate will take a leap forward in terms of quality.1

Of particular interest are two very different accounts of Scheer’s meeting with ethnic journalists from the Greater Toronto Area. According to the Polish source Zycie, not all journalists had a chance to ask questions, as the meeting with Scheer had a time limit. Most of the questions related to local community issues and possible guarantees that Scheer as a future prime minister could give if elected.

In the multicultural twice monthly newspaper Mosaic, Edward Akinwunmi also comments on the event, quoting Andrew Scheer reassuring the ethnic community of his party’s openness. “Conservatism is founded on the principle that all human beings are created with the same inherent value and equal rights,” he says. On a recent visit to the GTA, Scheer was able to meet and see many Canadians from various ethnic backgrounds. He stated that he and his party will not do what Justin Trudeau is doing – “playing politics of division, creating fears amongst communities with baseless accusations”.2

In general, the ethnic press coverage of Scheer and the Conservative Party to date in August seems to center around the discussion of health care policies and the theme of cuts and services, and the Liberal counterarguments. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is promising the premiers that he would increase health transfers and a social transfer by at least three per cent every year should he become prime minister, but a Chinese commenter on 51.ca complains that the federal Conservatives have not revealed their healthcare plan yet.3

This collection of stories includes a very positive spin on Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives’ promise to increase mental health and homecare funding, with the Punjabi Post saying it is very unfortunate that Trudeau’s Liberals deliberately tried to misguide members of the Canadian Punjabi Post about Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s funding increase for healthcare services. Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives will protect public services and will leave more money in Canadians’ pockets so that their families can move on.4

The Liberal counterargument is presented as equating federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer to the Conservative Premier of Ontario Doug Ford. Trudeau urged his candidates to stay out of the mudslinging and “politics of fear and division.”5

In connection with the above, another issue discussed quite extensively is whether the intervention of Jason Kenney and the association with Doug Ford will be beneficial or the kiss of death to Conservative hopes, above all in Ontario. Kenney has said he will be soliciting votes for Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer in key regions of the Greater Toronto Area later this year. An opinion poll by Nanos Research found that 56% of respondents feel anxious and uncomfortable about premiers involving themselves in federal elections. Looking at the demographics of these ridings, shown on our diversityvotes.ca web site, we think that in these ridings with a very diverse population, this anxiety will have special impact on ethnic voters.6

With the question “Will Ford’s policies really impact Andrew Scheer?”, Punjabi radio host Deepak Punj said that he recently attended an event at the Anokhi Restaurant in Brampton. During a discussion about the federal election, many people were of the opinion that Justin Trudeau does not need to do anything to win. Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s policies will make the Liberals win in the federal election.7

At the end of the week, Andrew Scheer must have elevated thanks to the Canadian Ethics Commissioner for the gift that keeps on giving him a big stick for bashing Trudeau. As a Korean daily TV source remarks, Prime Minister Trudeau’s SNC scandal is the biggest factor in the upcoming election. The Canadian Ethics Commissioner’s assessment is that Trudeau’s actions breached the Conflict of Interest Act. In response, the Conservatives and the NDP raised voices against the prime minister, emphasizing that he must be defeated in the election. Other sources echo this opinion.

Expert analysis is that the SNC-Lavalin scandal could result in the federal Liberals losing 5% of their support, leading to an election defeat in October.8

What remains to be seen is the reaction of the ethnic media as the drama plays out. Divesrityvotes.ca will let you know what it will be soon.

(~ 1625 words inc. footnotes, Andres Machalski, President, MIREMS Ltd, with files from diversityvotes.ca)

1. PRINT – Corriere Canadese (Daily) – Toronto, 06/08/2019 – ARTICLE, Italian
2. PRINT – Zycie (Weekly) – Toronto, 09/08/2019 – COMMENTARY, Polish
          WEB – Mosaic Edition (Twice Monthly) – St. Catharines, 30/07/2019 – NEWS, English
3 . WEB – Darpan Magazine (Daily) – Vancouver, 01/08/2019 – News, English
          RADIO – Red FM 106.7 Good Morning Calgary (Daily) – Calgary, 02/08/2019 – News, Punjabi
          RADIO – CFMB AM 1280 Italian Morning (Daily) – Montreal, 02/08/2019 – NEWS, Italian
          RADIO – CHIN AM 1540 Cantonese (Daily) – Toronto, 02/08/2019 – NEWS, Cantonese
          WEB – Van People (Daily) – Vancouver, 02/08/2019 – ARTICLE, Chinese
         WEB – BCbay.com (Daily) – Vancouver, 02/08/2019 – NEWS, Chinese
          WEB – BCbay on 52calgary.com (Daily) – Calgary, 05/08/2019 – ARTICLE, Chinese
          WEB – 51.ca (Daily) – Toronto, 02/08/2019 – COMMENTARY, Chinese
          RADIO – WTOR 770 AM Radio South Asian Pulse (Daily) – Mississauga, 09/08/2019 – COMMENTARY, Punjabi
4. PRINT – Canadian Punjabi Post (Daily) – Toronto, 12/08/2019 – News, Punjabi
5. RADIO – KRPI Radio 1550 AM H. S. Gill Show (Daily) – Vancouver, 01/08/2019 – NEWS, Punjabi
         RADIO – KRPI Radio 1550 AM K. Aulakh Show (Daily) – Vancouver, 01/08/2019 – NEWS, Punjabi
         PRINT – Parvasi (Weekly) – Mississauga, 02/08/2019 – News, Punjabi
         TV – Fairchild TV British Columbia (Daily) – Vancouver, 05/08/2019 – News, Cantonese
         TV – Talent Vision Canada News (Daily) – Toronto, 03/08/2019 – NEWS, Mandarin
         WEB – Katie Simpson in Atin Ito (Daily) – Mississauga, 05/08/2019 – ANALYSIS, English
         PRINT – Pakistan Post (Weekly) – Toronto, 08/08/2019 – Analysis, Urdu
6. WEB – Sing Tao Vancouver (Daily) – Vancouver, 09/08/2019 – NEWS, Chinese
        TV – Talent Vision Canada News (Daily) – Toronto, 05/08/2019 – NEWS, Mandarin
        RADIO – CMR FM 101.3 Tamil Morning (Daily) – Toronto, 06/08/2019 – News, Tamil
        WEB – RCI Arabic (Daily5) – Montreal, 06/08/2019 – News, 1/2 page, 1st Top, Arabic
         TV – Fairchild TV British Columbia (Daily) – Vancouver, 07/08/2019 – News, Cantonese
        RADIO – Red FM 106.7 Good Morning Calgary (Daily) – Calgary, 14/08/2019 – News, Punjabi
        PRINT – Hamdard Weekly (Weekly) – Mississauga, 09/08/2019 – NEWS, Punjabi
7. RADIO – CIAO AM 530 Frontline Radio (Daily) – Toronto, 13/08/2019 – COMMENTARY, Punjabi
       WEB – Sinoquebec Chinese Newspaper (Weekly) – Montreal, 11/08/2019 – ARTICLE, Chinese
       WEB – Dushi.ca (Daily) – Markham, 08/08/2019 – ARTICLE, Chinese
        RADIO – Chin AM 1540 Russian (Weekly) – Toronto, 11/08/2019 – News, Russian
        WEB – yorkbbs (Irregular) – Toronto, 06/08/2019 – ARTICLE, Chinese
        PRINT – Diario El Popular (Weekly) – Toronto, 09/08/2019 – ARTICLE, Spanish
8. TV – All TV evening (Daily) – Toronto, 15/08/2019 – NEWS, Korean
        TV – All TV evening (Daily) – Toronto, 14/08/2019 – NEWS, Korean
        RADIO – East FM 102.7 (Daily) – Toronto, 14/08/2019 – News, Tamil
        TV – Talent Vision Canada News (Daily) – Toronto, 14/08/2019 – NEWS, Mandarin
        WEB – Ming Pao Toronto (Daily) – Toronto, 15/08/2019 – NEWS, Chinese
        WEB – Sing Tao Vancouver (Daily) – Vancouver, 15/08/2019 – NEWS, Chinese
        WEB – Sing Tao Vancouver (Daily) – Vancouver, 15/08/2019 – NEWS, Chinese
        WEB – 51.ca (Daily) – Toronto, 14/08/2019 – COMMENTARY, Chinese

Leaders and Parties in the Ethnic Media – Part 1 – PPC Bernier’s policies give some ethnic media heartburn while others approve

Diversityvotes.ca is kicking off its series of spotlights on Leaders and Parties with a quick initial look at Peoples Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier’s standing in the multilingual media coverage in the first two weeks in August. We will continue this series with a focus on Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as well as what we can find on NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May.

Source: https://twitter.com/P4Bernier

It is perhaps symptomatic that the high point in Bernier’s ethnic media coverage was the news of his exclusion from the debate schedule. About seventy per cent of the couple of dozen stories focusing on Bernier found in daily and weekly ethnic media since the beginning of the month dealt with the exclusion.

Maxime Bernier’s exclusion from the debate was widely reported in Chinese, Spanish, Italian, Punjabi, Tamil, Polish and Filipino media as of this writing, covering debate organizer David Johnston’s decision not to invite Bernier, primarily because the People’s Party does not have elected representatives in the federal parliament. According to current opinion polls, people feel that the People’s Party is unlikely to get more than one candidate elected to Parliament. Although Bernier is currently an MP, he was elected as a Conservative Party representative. However, Johnston said that if the People’s Party can provide more candidates’ names in three to five federal constituencies, he will organize a poll to see if there is support for the party before determining whether an invitation is appropriate.

The People’s Party of Canada has been polling below 5%, as reported in a couple of outlets (1), and its ethnic media coverage has been dwarfed by the slogging match between Trudeau and Scheer.

Yet Bernier argues that some of his candidates will have a real opportunity to be elected. Recent political trends show that in various provincial elections in Canada and in other Western countries, populist parties have emerged and become important players, for example, the Brexit Party. Hmmm. (2)

We expect renewed activity by the PPC on all fronts to prove that at least some of the high number of candidates they have fielded, many unknown, have a chance at delivering a populist message – which might be undistinguishable from the increasingly populist rhetoric permeating the whole campaign, including, as we will see in future articles in this series, the new Liberal direction.

It is hence useful to see what the different Canadian ethnic media outlets are saying to their multilingual communities regarding the PPC. While the Party touts the fact that some of its candidates have diverse backgrounds, a statistical certainty in our diverse society, the official positions do not sound particularly appetizing to immigrants, their families or supporters of larger immigration quotas to fuel the economy.

The fact is, while some immigrants will practice “pull up the ladder after themselves” in the immigration climb to success, few want to appear publicly espousing positions that demonize immigrants and their contribution to Canada.  This has led to a negative reaction to Bernier’s debatable statement that only a quarter of immigrants have entered the work force, as well as to the rest of his platform.

A lead editorial in Loving Sister, a Chinese women’s magazine, Anti-immigration sentiment is rising in Canada as well, voters should not treat the matter lightly by Yao Yong An joins the dots, linking Trump’s anti-immigration and racial discrimination sentiments with Maxine Bernier’s speech in Mississauga, saying it is anti-immigration and has traces of white supremacy. The editorial further includes Alberta Premier Kenney as sharing anti-immigration sentiments and uses references to the Fraser Institute’s anti-immigration report and Bill C-24. It links Kenney’s policies excluding people of colour from China and India and opening the back door to Canada to a lot of White people with Bernier and other Conservative candidates’ proposals. (3) This did not sound good to immigrant ears.

“PPC immigration policies are not good for Canada or immigrants,” said Punjabi Zee TV, echoing Liberal Minister Navdeep Bains’ response to People’s Party Leader Bernier’s immigration proposals. Bernier had announced his immigration policies in Mississauga, including significant cuts to the number of immigrants he would admit. Bains is a Mississauga MP. Bains highlighted how much immigrants contribute to society, including his own father, who employed about 20 people in his kitchen cabinet-making business within a few years of coming to Canada. (4)

‘It’s not a wall. It’s a fence:’ Bernier vows to cut immigration, block irregular border crossings – reported the Filipino Star’s Megan Campbell. The statement that his People’s Party would be “fencing off the areas” along the border used by illegal migrants got mixed reactions at an event. Some of the people in the audience hoped to hear Bernier dramatically reduce the annual number. “150,000” said a 21-year-old electrician, who asked to remain anonymous. “Less than 50,000,” said a 25-year-old IT specialist, who also requested anonymity. However, Lynda Shapiro, a retired physiotherapist who lives in Ajax, Ontario, said Canada needs to accept refugees. (5)

On a Brampton Red FM Punjabi Radio talk show, Bernier’s claim that only 26% of immigrants in Canada are economic immigrants and the rest are subsidized immigrants took a beating at the hands of guest speaker and political activist Raj, wo said Bernier’s claim is not true. He added that Bernier’s claims are politically motivated and are pandering to the small number of people who fear immigration. (6)

In Vancouver, the Indo-Canadian Times published the news under the headline Maxime Bernier promises to build border fences if elected PM. (7)

In contrast, none other than a very White European Russian weekly says that Bernier’s speech on immigration reform was accompanied by expressions of support from the audience, a large part of whom were “representatives of non-European immigrant communities.” (8)

In an interview with a Montreal Baptist pastor, reported by the RCI’s Arabic journalist Fadi Al Harouni, Bernier says he believes that sex education classes in Quebec schools affect individual rights. Bernier encourages Quebec parents to fight the imposition of the sex education program offered in the province’s schools – definitely an audience concern! (9)

From where we sit, it would look like the main chance the People’s Party of Canada has at winning any position in some local ridings in the October electoral race will be playing not only on a presumed White antipathy toward immigrants, but also at inter-group animosities and at positions that trend conservative rather than progressive on the opinion charts. Stay tuned.

(~ 1473 words inc. footnotes, Andres Machalski, President, MIREMS Ltd, with files from diversityvotes.ca)

(1) TV – Zee TV Canada – BC Round Up (Daily) – Vancouver, 02/08/2019 – NEWS, Punjabi;
RADIO – WTOR 770 AM Radio South Asian Pulse Prime Time (Daily) – Mississauga, 09/08/2019 – COMMENTARY, Punjabi
(2) RADIO – Voces Latinas CHHA AM 1610 (Daily) – Toronto, 12/08/2019 – NEWS, Spanish
RADIO – CFMB AM 1280 Italian Morning (Daily) – Montreal, 13/08/2019 – NEWS, Italian

RADIO – Red FM 106.7 Good Morning Calgary (Daily) – Calgary, 13/08/2019 – News, Punjabi

RADIO – CMR FM 101.3 Tamil Morning (Daily) – Toronto, 13/08/2019 – News, Tamil

RADIO – WTOR 770 AM Radio South Asian Pulse Prime Time (Daily) – Mississauga, 13/08/2019 – COMMENTARY, Punjabi

RADIO – Red FM 93.1 Punjabi Morning (Daily) – Vancouver, 13/08/2019 – News, 02/09, Punjabi

WEB – Ming Pao Toronto (227000 – Daily) – Toronto, 13/08/2019 – NEWS, Chinese

WEB – Sing Tao Vancouver (50000 – Daily) – Vancouver, 13/08/2019 – NEWS, Chinese

WEB – Van People (Daily) – Vancouver, 13/08/2019 – ARTICLE, Chinese

WEB – Goniec (3000 – Daily) – Toronto, 13/08/2019 – NEWS, Polish

WEB – Atin Ito (9000 – Daily) – Mississauga, 13/08/2019 – NEWS, English

WEB – Philippine Canadian Inquirer (Daily) – National, 12/08/2019 – NEWS, English

RADIO – CFMB AM 1280 Italian Morning (Daily) – Montreal, 14/08/2019 – NEWS, Italian

TV – Talent Vision Canada News (Daily) – Toronto, 13/08/2019 – NEWS, Mandarin

WEB – Canadian Chinese Express (Vancouver) (Weekly) – Vancouver, 14/08/2019 – NEWS, Chinese

WEB – lahoo.ca (Daily) – Vancouver, 12/08/2019 – NEWS, Chinese

TV – Fairchild TV British Columbia (Daily) – Vancouver, 13/08/2019 – News, Cantonese

(3) WEB – Loving Sister (Daily) – Toronto, 04/08/2019 – EDITORIAL, Chinese
(4) TV – Zee TV Canada – BC Round Up (Daily) – Vancouver, 31/07/2019 – NEWS, Punjabi
(5) PRINT – North American Filipino Star (5000 – Monthly) – Montreal, 31/07/2019 – NEWS, English
(6) RADIO – Red FM 88.9 Good Morning Toronto (Daily5) – Brampton, 29/07/2019 – Talk show, Punjabi
(7) PRINT – Indo-Canadian Times (Weekly) – Vancouver, 01/08/2019 – NEWS, Punjabi
(8) WEB – Russian Express (Weekly) – Toronto, 02/08/2019 – COMMENTARY, Russian
(9) WEB – RCI Arabic (Daily5) – Montreal, 06/08/2019 – News, Arabic

Ethnic Media Election Coverage 11-17 August 2019

This week about 130 election-related articles were analysed.

Major issues covered:

Campaign: Much of the coverage concerned comparable riding-level fundraising by the Conservatives and Liberals with the NDP far behind, PM Trudeau’s continuing to use Ontario premier Ford as a foil to attack the Conservatives was also widely covered, with most articles noting the contrast between his stated intent to run a positive campaign and the actual campaign:

“During a discussion about the federal election [in Brampton], many people were of the opinion that Justin Trudeau does not need to do anything to win. Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s policies will make the Liberals win in the federal election.” (Punjabi).

The NDP’s use of leader Singh’s constituency office for a pre-election event and their subsequent withdrawal of the event invitation.

Former Ontario Cabinet Minister Michael Chan’s partisan op-ed was covered in Chinese media, “[Government cuts happen) every time a Conservative party is in power, regardless of whether it’s at the federal level or at the provincial level.” (Chinese)

Leaders’ Debate: Media in most language groups continued to cover the decision by the Leaders’ Debate Commission to exclude PPC leader Bernier. His letter to the Commission was not widely covered. The Munk Debates interest in holding a debate on foreign policy was noted, as was GreenPac’s plans to hold environment-focussed debates in 117 ridings.

Polls: The finding by Nanos research that most Canadians disapprove of provincial premier participation in the federal campaign was covered by a number of language groups. More general polling, showing a tight race, by Forum Research and Mainstream Research, was subject to commentary and analysis.

Citizenship (Syrian refugees and voting): The more than 2,500 Syrian refugees who had become citizens and thus entitled to vote was noted by a number of language groups, with the general view that this would benefit the Liberals:

“A lot of online users hold negative attitude about accepting refugees and about the fact that refugees who will be naturalized will participate in voting in the Canadian election. Some people commented that this circumstance is very beneficial for Trudeau. These refugees were brought to Canada because the government was carrying out humanitarianism, but is the real motive of the government to let these refugees vote for the Liberal Party after naturalization?” (Chinese)

Multiculturalism: The video of a women holding a support Andrew Scheer sign in Toronto and screaming  racist epithets, along with Scheer’s immediate condemnation of her comments were widely covered. Senior public servant discussion and recommendations regarding refocusing on the majority to counter populism continued to be noted.

Ethics (SNC Lavalin): The ethics commissioner’s finding that PM Trudeau had violated the conflict of interest code was factually covered in many language groups with only one commentary in Chinese media noting the opinion of UBC Professor Kathryn Harrison that this might cost the Liberals support among young Canadians.


  • Vaughan-Woodbridge: Teresa Kruze, was nominated at the CPC candidate following the withdrawal of previously nominated Frances Tibollo.
  • Saint-Léonard-Saint-Michel: For the first time in 30 years, a Conservative leader visited the traditionally Italian Canadian riding, suggesting the CPC believe it to be winnable for Ilario Maiolo. The defeat of Italian Canadian candidates in the Liberal nomination race by Hassan Guillet and consequent dissatisfaction among some Italian Canadians (22.5 percent of the riding are of Italian ancestry) is the likely explanation,

“Scheer recognized the work carried out by the Italian community and the historical role it has played in the development of the country. The internment of Italian-Canadians during World War II also came up, with Mr. Scheer pointing out that it was a Conservative government under Brian Mulroney that first issued an apology.” (Italian)

  • Vancouver-Grenville: Taleeb Noormohamed, LPC to run against former Justice minister, Jody Wilson-Raybould, now running as an independent following the SNC Lavalin scandal and aftermath.
  • Brampton South: Sonia Sidhu, Liberal incumbent, kicked off her campaign with local Liberal MPs Navdeep Bains, Kamal Khera, Ruby Sahota, Gagan Sikand and Maninder Sidhu.

Immigration: The OECD report praising Canada’s economic immigration system received coverage, with some articles also noting the contrast with Quebec’s more restrictionist policies. The Liberal government’s replacement of Ontario government cuts to legal aid for immigrants and refugees was noted, along with the associated political positioning.

China: The evolving situation in Hong Kong and PM Trudeau’s remarks urging caution were noted, with some commentary noting that “People do not think that Trudeau’s remarks have helped in easing the tension between China and Canada.” (Chinese) In terms of the potential impact on the election, one article noted:

“Justin Trudeau is locked in a statistical tie in opinion polls with Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer ahead of an October 21 federal election, and Scheer has attacked him relentlessly for being soft on China. China hopes the winner of the election can show the courage and wisdom and make joint efforts with China on the basis of mutual respect and equality to overcome the current difficulties,” (South Asian English)

Third parties: In addition to mentions of third party activities by organizations such as Canada Strong, Engage Canada, and Shaping Canada’s Future, the Canada Revenue Agency union’s concern that the CPC plan to transfer federal tax collection for Quebec residents to Quebec would result in 5,500 federal job losses, about half of them in Quebec.

From Multicultural Meanderings – Why Diversity and Inclusion Is a Strategic Imperative for [political] Campaigns

From Anthony Robinson the political director at the National Democratic Training Committee, on their approach (all Canadian parties, perhaps save the Bloc and PPC, do this given the large number of immigrants and visible minorities in many ridings):

The rise of diversity and inclusion initiatives and organizational focus over the last several years marks an important shift in our nation’s perspective on opportunity.

Strategists across the public and private sectors agree that the social, political, and organizational challenges of the 21st century are increasingly becoming more complex. As a result, the backgrounds of the leaders and teams finding solutions to these challenges requires a broad and diverse skill set needed to address these issues and make sure D&I (diversity and inclusion) doesn’t become a passive buzz word.

Campaigns are no different.

The nation’s electorate is increasingly becoming more diverse. So, why aren’t campaigns and political party operative and organizations — at least below the presidential level — more intentional about broadening their campaign staff to reflect this shift?

Our electorate continues to be more brown, female, LGBTQ+, and multicultural, while campaign staffs remain white, male, and typically made up of the same individuals who have run party politics for a very long time.

Candidates can no longer hang their hats on diversity and inclusion in campaign promises and not follow it up with a campaign staff which reflects the growing diversity of the electorate. But this challenge cannot be solved overnight. Without a long-term scalable solution, we’ll continue to face the same challenges year after year.

In a 2017 survey by Inclusv, the 41 Democratic state party organizations that participated revealed they collectively employ 401 staffers and 128 identify as people of color. With the increased votes shares from 2012 to 2016 nearing almost 50 percent for people of color, this demographic only represents 32 percent of the workforce.

Alida Garcia, co-founder of Inclusv said, “We must recognize the direct correlation between who works on campaigns and how those campaigns engage the communities disproportionately impacted by every issue on the national agenda. Authentic and deliberate inclusion is a vital component for candidates to succeed.”

Responding to the need for more diverse staffers on campaigns, my organization created a training program that prioritizes leaders who identify as women, as trans and non-binary, and as people of color. These communities continuously drive the Democratic Party but are historically underrepresented on our campaigns, relative to their vote share. We want to ensure we, as a party, are representative of our voters.

We’ve seen our graduates land jobs throughout the industry. But more needs to be done. In order to improve the makeup of campaign staff, it’s critically important that there be a transformational change to the culture of campaigns. Here’s how that can be achieved.

A change in the narrative.

Diversity must work in tandem with inclusion. Culture change must be more than checking a box. This means campaigns are intentional in the creation of systems to fuel equity and access for diverse leaders and staffers. Systems which create inclusive and diverse staffs but also retain them.

In order for this to be a reality campaigns must transform the way they have traditionally recruited, hired, and trained campaign staffers. Lasting transformational change must incorporate innovation and new processes and expectations, not “fast following.” This includes a productive shift in assumptions and behaviors, as well as improved organizational expectations, policies, and expression of power.

These actionable steps can be put into three core groups.

  • Empower diverse and inclusive leadership. They often build inclusive teams that perform at a high level.
  • Put D&I in place across workforce and operations. This can only be achieved by having an intentional recruiting strategy and implementation plan.
  • Put forward an organizational vision for D&I. There should be inclusive internal and external communication and meaningful diversity and inclusion education.

I am often asked about the idea that emphasizing diversity takes time away from organizational goals or that there should be a focus on “diversity of thought.” My response is two-fold. First, a focus on diversity and inclusion doesn’t take time away from the overall objective. It should be part of the objective. Second, seeking diversity and inclusion doesn’t mean you’re not also seeking the most talented person for the job.

There’s an issue in your organization if it’s thought that prioritizing diversity means you’re somehow de-prioritizing talent. Organizations that are future-focused, innovative, and understand the strategic advantage of having an inclusive staff will be more successful.

Source: Why Diversity and Inclusion Is a Strategic Imperative for Campaigns

Ethnic Media Election Coverage 4-10 August 2019

For the post-Civic holiday week of diversityvotes.ca, close to 100 election-related articles were analysed.

Major issues covered included:

Campaign: Campaign coverage focussed on PM Trudeau’s invoking Ontario’s Ford government cuts and implying that a Conservative federal government would do the same. The contrast with Trudeau’s commitment to wage a positive campaign and these attacks was noted. Alberta Premier Kenney’s active campaigning for the federal Conservatives was widely covered.

Commentary was largely negative on the poor quality of the campaign to date:

“Until now, however, the debate has centred on trivial issues like squabbling between the Tories and Liberals over the Canadian Food Guide and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s criticism of Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s failure to take part in the Vancouver Pride Parade.” (Italian)

“…it is hard to find a competent politician under the current democratic system. Prime Minister Trudeau has been in office for four years, and although Canadians have a lot of complaints about him, the other political party leaders do not appear to be a lot better. Under the current circumstances, Canadians can only choose the one who is not the worst, but they do not have the option to choose the most competent one.” (Chinese)

“… many Canadians started to use the slogan  ‘Make Canada Trudeauless Again’ to express their attitude in the upcoming election. Hats with this slogan have been circulating on social media for some time now, and seem to be coming from Conservative party supporters who want Andrew Scheer to be the next prime minister. However, the Conservatives have not officially endorsed or affiliated themselves with the hats or the slogan on them.” (Chinese)

  • Election date (Jewish holiday): The decision by Elections Canada to maintain the October 21 election date notwithstanding the Jewish holiday of Shemini Atzeret continued to be widely covered, although less than the previous week.
  • Candidates:
    • Brampton North MP and Liberal candidate Ruby Sahota continued to be covered;
    • Brome-Missisquoi long-time Liberal MP Denis Paradis’s decision not to seek re-election;
    • Edmonton Mill Woods Conservative candidate and former MP Tim Uppal was linked to allegations of voter fraud plaguing the United Conservative Party;
    • New Westminster-Burnaby Conservative challenger Veck to NDP MP Peter Julian was announced;
    • Brampton Centre Liberal candidate Ramesh Sangha, along with Immigration Minister Hussen and Brampton North MP Ruby Sahota were seen in photos; and,
    • Commenting on the Samara report on candidate nomination and selection, Uganda-born Lilly Obina, a Conservative candidate in the 2015 federal election, and Pakistan-born Andrew Cardozo, a prominent member of the Liberal Party, noted that visible minority Canadians have realistic hopes of winning parliamentary seats.
  • Polls: Quebec polling by Forum Research showing a drop in Liberal support and increase in Conservative support was covered. Nanos Research data showing that Canadians expect the 2019 election to be nastier than previous elections drew considerable interest:
    • “The federal Liberal and Conservative Party leaders both commented on the concerns expressed by the respondents. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau predicted the 2019 election will be the nastiest one yet, but Andrew Scheer responded and hinted that Trudeau will be the one who will make it nasty. In the recent weeks, the two leaders have been attacking each other on social media. Scheer has been putting in effort to drag down Trudeau’s reputation, but he hasn’t been very successful.” (Chinese)
  • Healthcare: Conservative leader Scheer’s commitment to maintain healthcare annual increases at three percent was widely covered, along with PM Trudeau’s fear mongering regarding possible cuts as is happening under the Ford government in Ontario.
  • Immigration: Maxime Bernier’s restrictive approach to immigration continued to receive widespread coverage. Minister Hussen received coverage on his defence of the online first-come first-served family reunification system and responded to questions on birth tourism (women travelling to Canada to give birth so their child will be a Canadian citizen), noting the small numbers and a solution may be to “crack down on illegal immigration consultants.” One commentary noted that:
    • “Bernier and Alberta Premier Kenney are former cabinet members of former prime minister Harper. Both of these Conservative Party celebrities share the similarity of having anti-immigration sentiments and using references to the Fraser Institute’s anti-immigration report.”
  • India: In addition to coverage of Conservative critiques of the Liberal governmentMs approach to disputes with China and Saudi Arabia, considerable coverage of NP columnist John Ivison account of Gerald Butt’s blaming the Indian government for the failures of PM Trudeau’s visit to India.
  • Cost of living: Housing costs were the main focus, with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives report on affordability issues being cited. Brampton Conservative candidate in Brampton North met with former Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak and current head of Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) to criticize the Liberal government’s mortgage stress test as a barrier to home ownership.
  • Multiculturalism: The CBC report noting that the government received advice to shift emphasis from diversity and minority groups to the majority was noted. Conservative leader Scheer’s “unity in diversity” and inclusive messaging continued to receive coverage.

Ethnic Media Election Coverage 28 July – 3 August 2019

For the past week of diversityvotes.ca, over 160 election-related articles were analysed.

Major issues covered included:

  • Election date: For the second week in a row, the election date occurring on the Jewish holiday coverage of Shemini Atzeret dominated coverage with the focus being on Elections Canada decision to maintain the October 21 date after its reconsideration in response to the Federal Court ruling. The issue was widely covered in the following language media: Punjabi, Chinese, Polish, Italian, Tamil, Gujarati, Hindi, Filipino, Jewish, South Asian English, Russian and Urdu.

Coverage was largely neutral reporting with only a few commentaries:

“Canada is a multicultural country and it will not be possible to accommodate every community’s religious needs”

“If Chinese Canadians want to protect their interests, they should learn from the Jewish community and participate in these community conversations. Fairness has to be fought for; it is not something that is given out for free.”

  • Campaign: Coverage was dominated by federal party fundraising and spending, including on Facebook. The Conservatives continuing to lead the Liberals in fund-raising and the number of persons contributing the maximum to both parties were noted as was the Greens having raised more money than the NDP. The high level of federal government advertising allowed in the final pre-election quarter was covered, with some articles noting that this also occurred under the Conservatives.
  • Immigration: Maxime Bernier’s announcement of his restrictive approach to immigration continued to receive widespread coverage. In addition to the critique by Minister Bains, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and MP Jenny Kwan made similar critical points with an emphasis on family reunification in a meeting with Chinese media. Talk show and on-line commentary in Punjabi and Chinese media revealed, not surprisingly, a mix of views.
  • Candidates:
    • Brampton-North MP and Liberal candidate Rudy Sahota;
    • Conservative challenger Maria Augimeri and Liberal incumbent Judy Sgro in Humber River – Black Creek;
    • Opening of the campaign office of Minister Navdeep Bains in Mississauga-Malton along with his critique of the PPC’s proposed immigration policies;
    • Conservative nomination contest in Dufferin-Caledon following the removal of former nominee Harzadan Singh Khattra;
    • NDP’s nomination of Grassy Narrows chief Rudy Turtle in Kenora; and,
    • PPC Saskatchewan candidate (Carlton Trail-Eagle Creek) Cody Payant’s call for more hate speech was criticized.
  • Polls: Polls from Léger and Research Co, along with the CBC Poll Tracker, showing a tightening race were covered. Commentary noted the declining impact of the SNC-Lavalin scandal as an explanation.
  • China relations and Huawei: China coverage continued on PMO’s effort to pressure former ambassadors to consult with the government prior to making public comments. Commentary criticized CPC leader Andrew Scheer and Ontario Premier Doug Ford for different messaging to mainstream and Chinese media. Comments by NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and MP Jenny Kwan to Chinese media on Canada-China relations were covered, including the “urgency” of appointing an ambassador (same meeting that covered immigration as above).

While most Huawei coverage concerned the government’s announcement that any decision regarding Huawei’s involvement in 5G networks will be made after the election, former Minister of Public Safety Stockwell Day praise for Huawei and CPC leader Scheer’s distancing from his remarks was noted (Day serves on the Board of Telus, a major user of Huawei equipment).

  • Third parties: Liberal party requests that Elections Canada look into possible improper co-ordination between two Conservative pressure groups, Canada Proud and British Columbia Proud.
  • Indigenous: Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde remarks that the SNC-Lavalin affair and Jody Wilson-Raybauld’s exit could hurt the Liberals with Indigenous voters. Commentary in Punjabi media noted that any questioning of the Liberal record on unfilled Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations would lead to Conservatives being questioned on their plans.
  • Cannabis: The change in the Conservative position from being opposed to accepting cannabis legalization was noted in Chinese media (Chinese Canadian public opinion mainly opposed legalization).
  • Food guide: In addition to some further reporting of Liberal and Conservatives on the Canada food guide, one commentator referred to the Toronto Star editorial on the need to separate politics from the food guide.
  • Other issues covered (2 media coverage or less): pipeline ads by major oil producers, Punjabi commentary on voter fraud related to address changes close to elections, housing prices, student loans, foreign interference, planned leaders debate, climate change, Conservative party pledge on healthcare funding and concerns over horse meat.

HIGH NOON ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL The Election Date and the Jewish Community – a case for Canadian exceptionalism?

While the issue of the conflict between the Jewish community and Elections Canada over Shemini Atzeret, the Jewish High Holiday that falls on election day, has been simmering since the Fall of 2018, mainly in the affected communities, this week it went viral, with reactions from a wide range of ethnic media, triggered bythe government agenciesresponse to the petition to change the date.

The issue also received widespread coverage in the mainstream media, with a range of reactions.

From a detached perspective, even Val Wilde in The Friendly Atheist (July 26, 2019) remarks that:

The appropriate time of year for elections was selected with certain assumptions in mind, including the assumption that candidates and voters would be celebrating according to a Christian calendar. (There’s a reason the election isn’t held during the Christmas season.)

You might argue that changing the date could lead to elections falling on someone else’s important holiday, so why bother? But the bigger issue here is that a fairly prominent religious holiday wasn’t even taken into consideration. In a society where accommodation for Christian religious holidays is built into the social calendar, the failure to accommodate others’ holidays is anything but neutral.

While the ethnic outlets also paid attention to the issuewith mostly neutral coverage, there is an underlying current of concern among communities with a stake in their own religious holidays and their participation in the Canadian political process. The expectation is rising as Elections Canada has till August 1 to issue a final decisionto defy the court order or not.

In the past week more than forty stories in the ethnic media covered the news, with contributions from Chinese, Filipino, Hindi, Italian, Polish, Punjabi, Russian and Tamil, as well as the Jewish media.

As with mainstream media, the headline often betrays the nuance, based on the status of religion in each community, as well as their attitude toward the Jewish community in particular.

However, beyond the strength of religious conviction in each community, an old dilemma of multicultural societies surfaces again: the open acceptance of all religious practices inevitably leads to the support of ethnic exceptionalism in the context of civil society. This bringsback memories of the Sikh turban issue won by the community as well as the more recent and not so successful struggle against legislation in Quebec barring religious symbols.

Is there a line connecting Malala Yousafzai not being able to teach in Quebec with an election date that would inhibit Orthodox Jews from voting? In the current context of populist rhetoric and polarized positions, any decision on the matter is bound to feed into that dynamic.  

Here is what various ethnic outlets had to say:

Various reports in the Chinese media cover the claim that Perrault exercised his discretion “unreasonably,” because he failed to balance the Canada Elections Act with the religious freedoms outlined in the Charter of Rights (Van People (Daily) – Vancouver, 25/07/2019 ; Sinoquebec Chinese Newspaper (Weekly) – Montreal, 24/07/2019; Today Commercial News (Daily) Toronto, 25/07/2019).

One outlet remarked that:

Elections Canada does not have the power to make a decision on the date of the federal election and can only make a recommendation; the final decision is made by the ruling party in government (BCbay.com (Daily) – Vancouver, 24/07/2019).

Another article in the Chinese print media foreshadows what that decision might be:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in Vancouver that it is important politics do not influence Elections Canada (Ming Pao Toronto (Daily7) – Toronto, 30/07/2019).

However, Le Jia Wang in the Vancouver website Van People makes the connection explicitly between the Jewish situation and the need for greater Chinese participation in the political discourse:

If the election takes place during the holiday, thousands of Jewish voters will be unable to participate in the election... This may be detrimental to voter turnout. There are about 1.7 million people of Chinese descent in Canada who have contributed a great deal to the community. However, Elections Canada has never been as proactive or passionate about the Chinese community. This is one of the reasons Chinese Canadians have such little influence in Canadianaffairs. If Chinese Canadians want to protect their interests, they should learn from the Jewish community and participate in theseconversations. Fairness has to be fought for; it is not something that is given out for free (Van People (Daily) – Vancouver, 26/07/2019).

Elections Canada’s response was to continue to be in contact with the affected Jewish community and look for other methods to help them vote. We wonder what the reaction will be, if any, to Stephane Perrault’s statement that, There are always Canadians who are unable to vote on election day(londonchinese.ca (Daily7) – London (Ontario), 30/07/2019; Dushi.ca (Daily) – Markham, 30/07/2019).

Other contrasts in coverage were evident, with the Italian media reporting satisfaction with the EC recommendation, and the Jewish, media, obviously not, and a Punjabi radio host relativizing the issue and stating that:

Jews are primarily in 36 of 338 federal ridings, most of them in urban areas. Election Canada is now looking for ways how these Jewish people can vote. Canada is a multicultural country and it will not be possible to accommodate every community’s religious needs (Red FM 88.9 Good Morning Toronto (Daily) – Brampton, 30/07/2019).

An acute observer should note that a motion originated byChani Aryeh-Bain, the Jewish Conservative candidate in the Toronto riding of Eglinton-Lawrence, now lies in the hands of a lapsed Catholic Liberal Prime Minister.

One might say that it is hardly relevant in modern Canada, but – stay tuned

(by Andres Machalski, with files from diversityvotes.ca ~ 1,000 words)