As a riding that is about 80% Caucasian and 10% Aboriginal with no major concentration of any other ethnic group, Nanaimo-Ladysmith does not typically capture the imagination of the ethnic media in Canada. Its recent by-election got barely a handful of mentions in the run-up to the event. However, the surprise win of Green Party Candidate Paul Manly was widely covered, followed by reports that the Green Party is trying to recruit MPs Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott.
A lot of coverage was concentrated in the Chinese and South Asian media, which with their daily news reporting on radio, TV and print often mirror mainstream reporting and then add their own perspective in commentaries and talk show discussions, and in the Italian and Spanish media, possibly reflecting a heightened European and Latino preoccupation with environmental matters. All the coverage was neutral or positive towards the Green Party.
Much of the reporting concentrated on revealing the by-election results reflected that it shows that environmental issues are becoming more prominent in Canada and will be at play in the upcoming federal election. However, Punjabi media in particular were concerned with the implications for the NDP under Jagmeet Singh. A caller on the Punjabi program on Red FM in Vancouver speculated that the NDP and the Liberals lost because they ran First Nations candidates in a riding that was predominantly white. The Punjabi radio program on WTOR 770 AM in Toronto reported that Indian news channels in India consider the by-election a big loss for Jagmeet Singh. However, WTOR pointed out that it was a big loss for the Conservatives, Liberals and NDP.
Wu Chu He wrote a commentary in the Chinese paper 51.ca indicating that Canadians are feeling betrayed and angry at Prime Minister Trudeau and have the impression that he does not deliver. The NDP’s performance has also been disappointing, so that non-Conservative voters have no choice but to vote for the Green Party. One comment on this piece argued that people are fooled by the mainstream media, who don’t like the Conservative Party because “the bosses of mainstream media are all rich people.”
The daily national Italian news on OMNI TV ran a feature connecting the by-election in Nanaimo-Ladysmith and the provincial election in Prince Edward Island, where the Green Party formed the Official Opposition for the first time ever, to national election polls, the struggle between the federal government and several provinces over the carbon tax, and a recent United Nations report on biodiversity. The United Nations found that a million species are threatened with extinction. A York University professor said humans will not survive as a species if they continue to have such a negative impact on the earth. Young people interviewed on the program expressed concern for the environment and called for more action.
With the national struggle over the carbon tax, environmental matters are increasingly becoming a concern in the ethnic media. To some extent, they reflect mainstream media and provincial priorities – support for the oil industry in Alberta vs. support for environmental protection in BC –, but they are also informed by the prominence environmental concerns have in countries of origin and by the views of individual opinion leaders on talk shows and in editorials and by discussion with callers from the audience and online comments.
TORONTO - The Canadian Race Relations Foundation announces sponsorship of new project: diversityvotes.ca. In partnership with Andrew Griffith and MIREMS, diversityvotes.ca will promote and foster cross-cultural communications Canada-wide.
“Diverse voices in Canada are important,” says Lilian Ma, Executive Director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation. “Sharing ethnic media coverage allows all Canadians to the perspectives of different communities, contributing to a greater common understanding of issues and priorities.”
“Diversityvotes.ca works to highlight the value of Canada’s diverse communities” says project founder Andrew Griffith. “Our goal is to bring attention and easy access to data and stories that matter to Canada’s diverse Canadians and amplify those voices by giving them a platform.”
Our donation contributes to the development of this easy to use interactive website marrying data with ethnic media to provide:
· More in-depth understanding of riding characteristics, and how these interact with electoral strategies;
· Wider awareness of how national and local issues are portrayed in community and regional ethnic media to increase accountability of ethnic-oriented media strategies;
· Allow for more informed discussion regarding ethnic voting patterns and issues; and,
· Greater responsibility of candidates and political partiers of their messaging to different groups.
Diversityvotes.ca is a national project that aims to bring together national expertise in diversity demographics and diversity’s discourse together to connect, empower and educate. The online hub will combine the impact of statistics and stories into a new, useful and powerful tool for citizens, journalists, researchers, academics, government agencies and non-governmental organizations.
About the Canadian Race Relations Foundation
The purpose of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation is to facilitate throughout Canada the development, sharing and application of knowledge and expertise in order to contribute to the elimination of racism and all forms of racial discrimination in Canadian society. The work of the Foundation is premised on the desire to create and nurture an inclusive society based on equity, social harmony, mutual respect and human dignity. Its underlying principle in addressing racism and racial discrimination emphasizes positive race relations and the promotion of shared Canadian values of human rights and democratic institutions.
For further information:
Executive Director, Canadian Race Relations Foundation
Director of Communications MIREMS Ltd., diversityvotes.ca
Environics Institute Fellow, Multicultural Meanderings, Author
Amid sessions on immigration strategies, immigration and hockey, municipal government’s fight for more control at the 2019 Metropolis Immigration conference in Halifax, was an underlying intent to do things differently—and do them right. However, the complicated cobwebs of immigration and multiculturalism in Canada were also exposed. It’s a mammoth task that has landed on the desks of community organizers, municipal staff, newcomers, language teachers and more.
A regular struggle voiced at the conference was a need for real, effective settlement strategies, alongside cries of difficulty in shifting perspectives and mechanisms for measurement.
Madeline Ziniak, Chair of Canadian Ethnic Media Association and multicultural media expert spoke to the plenary audience about ethnic media. In front of an audience of immigration and settlement experts, she spoke to the struggle being voiced looking for mechanisms of measurement and meaningful integration communications.
Ziniak says ethnic media informs the cohesive bond of ethnocultural multilingual contributors to the feeling of belonging, acts as a lens for the interpretation of cultural values and is a barometer of portrayal for mainstream policy and ideas in multicultural communities. Noting the importance of comfort that comes from a mother tongue.
The expressions and reflections of Canada’s diversity are part of the settlement and integration process. For seniors, who generally tend to revert to their mother tongue as they age, ethnic media helps them to remain connected. Voices silenced in immigrant countries of origin can find a voice in Canadian ethnic media and thus perhaps influencing events in those countries.
Following Ziniak’s words at Metropolis, Andrew Griffith and MIREMS presented diversityvotes.ca, a project that works to connect with many of the questions and challenges raised over the course of the conference. The project hopes to answer these questions: What role do ethnic media play in connecting census data and the state of public opinion to community integration? and how does this data affect ethnic media makers and consumers?
By creating a tool where census-level data about Canada’s diverse communities exists alongside the media being published by those communities, diversityvotes.ca gives unprecedented access to these diverse voices and makes the case for including them in the mainstream discourse.
A main point of discussion after the presentation was the complexity of newcomer communities. The importance of remembering that newcomers is not a blanket term for Canada’s “others.” In 41 federal ridings, “minorities” are the majority. diversityvotes.ca highlights this fact, inviting users into these communities to understand the complexities and differences within Canada’s diverse citizens.
The need for effective and innovative settlement strategies, on municipal, provincial and federal scales, showed us demand for this kind of on-the-ground connection to the communities being served.
Trying to share a message, gauge response to initiatives it’s important to take all the available information into account—even information traditionally trapped behind language barriers and complicated data sheets.
At Metropolis, we saw great enthusiasm from hard-working Canadians who care about doing immigration differently. We also saw how things get stalled, switched and shifted. Immigration policy has real-life, on-the-ground effects on newcomers and their communities, and you can be sure they are talking about these effects in their local, mother tongue multilingual and multicultural media.
Andrew Griffith and MIREMS looked at over 300 news, opinion, editorial and commentary stories from Canada’s ethnic media during Canada’s February by-election campaigns. These stories provided media coverage that would have otherwise been trapped behind language barriers and bring unique stories and perspectives from Canada’s diverse communities.
The highest volumes of stories came from Indo-Canadian media (predominantly Punjabi but also South Asian English, Hindi and Urdu) and Chinese Canadian media (Chinese, Mandarin, Cantonese).
Ridings and communities with larger visible minority groups have a larger and more active multicultural and multilingual media. Their audiences are more engaged, and their coverage is more extensive, their writers and reporters often live and work in these communities. It’s local news with an often more-dedicated audience than traditional local news.
Diversity Votes — February By-elections: Matching Census Data with Ethnic Media Coverage (17-23 February 2019, last pre-election report)
Ethnic Media Coverage
All articles focused on Burnaby South. Overall, coverage remained stable at 25 articles The chart below shows the by-election coverage by language from the start of the year.
During the past week, Chinese (44 percent) and Punjabi (28 percent) media continued to comprise the majority of ethnic media coverage of the by-elections, with more articles in Korean media (16 percent) than in previous weeks.
Most stories focused on NDP leader Singh’s campaign (7 articles, many focusing on his call for a public enquiry regarding the pressure placed on former Justice minister Wilson-Raybould regarding the SNC Lavalin case), PM Trudeau’s visit (6 articles) with Peoples Party of Canada leader Bernier’s visit also covered (2 articles in Mandarin media only).
Diversity Votes — February By-elections: Matching Census Data with Ethnic Media Coverage (9-16 February 2019)
Ethnic Media Coverage
The ongoing focus on Burnaby South continued, in particular given the visit of PM Trudeau to the riding to support Liberal candidate Richard Lee. Overall, coverage remained stable at 26 articles, compared to 25 articles the previous week .
While Punjabi ((30.8 percent) and Chinese (38.5 percent) comprised the majority of ethnic media coverage of the by-elections, this was less than previous weeks. New to ethnic media coverage were two stories covered in Caribbean (English) media.
The Prime Minister’s visit featured was covered by all ethnic media covered during this period and was the focus of virtually all the articles in Chinese media. There was some mention of the ongoing scandal regarding possible interference in the judicial process involving SNC Lavalin and former justice minister Wilson-Raybould. Calls by Conservative leader Andrew Scheer and NDP Jagmeet Singh for the PM to waive solicitor-client privilege were reported in Punjabi and Caribbean media.
Diversity Votes — February By-elections: Matching Census Data with Ethnic Media Coverage (31 January to 8 February 2019)
Ethnic Media Coverage
The ongoing focus on Burnaby South continued, with more articles commenting on the risks to Jagmeet Singh’s leadership of the NDP should he not win the by-election in both Punjabi and Chinese (Chinese, Cantonese and Mandarin) media. Overall, coverage increased slightly to 25 articles compared to 18 the previous week (earlier weeks had 41 and 97 articles) .
Media coverage was roughly evenly split between Punjabi (44 percent) and 40 percent in Chinese media.
In addition to the risks to Jagmeet Singh’s leadership, NDP fund-raising difficulties were covered as well as the Party’s poor prospects in Outremont based on polling data in Punjabi media. Singh’s universal pharmacare plan received coverage but was largely drowned out by stories concerning the risks to his leadership.
Diversity Votes — February By-elections: Matching Census Data with Ethnic Media Coverage (24-30 January 2019)
The absence of controversy in Burnaby South following previous weeks resulted in fewer articles in the ethnic media, with again the focus being on Burnaby South, with only 18 articles compared to 41 and 97 in previous weeks .
Media coverage was overwhelmingly in Punjabi (50 percent) and 27.8 percent in Chinese, Cantonese and Mandarin language media. Punjabi media covered the belated resignation of Liberal MP Di Iorio (Saint-Léonard-Saint-Michel). Chinese media covered the opening of the campaign office of PPC candidate Laura-Lynn Thompson and the nomination of James Seale in Outremont.
NDP leader and candidate Singh’s focus on affordable housing received widespread coverage in Punjabi media and was the focus of the one article in Korean media, with no coverage in Chinese media. The one article in Urdu media referenced immigration as an issue given Singh’s pledge to end the Safe Third Country Agreement with the USA and the number of asylum seekers.
In terms of commentary (including analysis and opinion pieces), Punjabi and South Asian English media predominated with two items apiece and Chinese one.
Diversity Votes — February By-elections: Matching Census Data with Ethnic Media Coverage (16-23 January 2019)
Ethnic Media Coverage:
In contrast to coverage in the previous weeks, which included coverage of the general by-election announcement by more different language ethnic media, the past week was almost exclusively focused on Burnaby South and the ongoing controversy over the divisive remarks by former Liberal candidate Wang and overall issues related targeting ethnic votes, with only 41 media items compared to the 97 earlier in the month .
Media coverage was overwhelmingly in Punjabi (39 percent) and 43.9 percent in Chinese, Cantonese and Mandarin language media. There was only one tangential media reference to Outremont in the context of NDP prospects.
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The focus of candidate specific coverage was former Liberal candidate Wang and her efforts (unsuccessful) to distance herself from her comments on WeChat that basically said vote for the Chinese Canadian candidate, not the Indo-Canadian candidate. Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel’s revealing that Wang had sought being nominated and being rejected as a Conservative candidate was covered, as were Rempel’s press conference criticizing the Liberal government immigration record, including her statement that poor vetting had resulted in the killing of Burnaby teen Marrisa Shen by a Syrian refugee (charged, not yet convicted). The announcement of Wang’s replacement, Richard Lee, a former provincial politician was covered in summary fashion.
As some of you may be aware, I have been working through census data to develop profiles of all 338 federal ridings that focus on key demographic, economic, social and political indicators.
I have been working with Canada’s multilingual media monitoring service, MIREMS (www.mirems.com) to test out matching their ethnic media coverage with the census data.
The current by-elections provide an ideal opportunity to test out this approach and to assess how useful this could be for this year’s October 19th general election.
Table 1 contrasts some of the key indicators for the three ridings, two urban and one rural. Burnaby South has the greatest number of immigrants and visible minorities, York Simcoe the least, with Outremont in the middle. None of these ridings have a significant Indigenous population. Outremont has the youngest population with the least number of married or common law relationships and the lowest average household size.
York Simcoe, given its lower number of immigrants, has the highest number of citizens of voting age.
Outremont has the highest number of men and women with university degrees, York Simcoe the lowest. Unemployment rates for men and women are highest in Outremont. Median total annual income is highest for men in York Simcoe and lowest in Outremont; for women, it is also highest in York Simcoe but lowest in Burnaby South. The percentage of low income individuals (Low income measure after tax) is lowest in York Simcoe and highest in Outremont for both men and women.
Burnaby South and Outremont elected NDP MPs in 2015, York Simcoe a Conservative.