Trending Early Summer Election Issues in the Ethnic Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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