Diversity Votes — February By-elections: Matching Census Data with Ethnic Media Coverage (Final report with results 24 February to 1 March 2019)

For background data on the riding demographic, economic, social and political characteristics, see: February By-elections: Matching Census Data with Ethnic Media Coverage (1-18 January 2019). 

Note: While Chinese in the chart of ethnic media coverage refers to written media, Cantonese and Mandarin to broadcast oral media, I generally summarize all three as Chinese media except where indicated. 

Ethnic Media Coverage

As expected, by-election day generated the most articles since the by-election call, with a mix of pre-result (32) and post-result result (57) articles. Most articles continued to focus on Burnaby South given NDP leader Singh’s successful campaign. The chart below shows the by-election coverage by language from the start of the year (321 articles), along with the breakdown from last week. 

During the past week, while pre-result coverage was Punjabi (43.8 percent)  and Chinese (34.4 percent, almost half of the result coverage was Chinese (48.3 percent) with Punjabi at 29.2 percent. The results were also covered by more language groups, a similar pattern to that of by-election call coverage.

Pre-by-election coverage was a mix of factual stories regarding the three by-elections and articles highlighting the stakes for NDP leader Singh, particularly in Punjabi media. Other articles of note included articles on PPC leader Bernier’s visit to Burnaby South and PPC candidate Tyler Thompson (Punjabi), Chinese Canadian support for the PPC (based on the Star article How Canadian populism is playing out in the Burnaby South by-election), Conservative candidate Shin’s opposition to edible cannabis (Chinese), and NDP candidate in Outremont Sanchez’s comments on what people are talking about, the most interesting being comments regarding NDP leader Singh’s turban (Filipino).

 Commentary was largely analysis of the prospects of NDP Singh in Burnaby South and the NDP more generally, with the general tone being somewhat pessimistic while noting the SNC Lavalin scandal may increase his prospects.

Post-results coverage featured a similar mix of factual stories on the election results, again with the focus on Burnaby South, and how NDP leader Singh “tightened his shaky grip” on his leadership with his win. The anticipated Liberal win in Outremont over the NDP defeat was also covered in some depth as the counterpoint to his win. (The anticipated Conservative win in York South was merely noted.)

Post-results commentary focussed on the immediate impact for the NDP of leader Singh’s victory as well as some broader opinions and analysis on what the results may mean for the October general election. One commentary in Punjabi media noted that Singh’s victory showed he could take on “tough challenges.” Another in Chinese media considered that the Liberals should be considered the “biggest winner” as they appear to have been unaffected by the SNC Lavalin scandal in Quebec while another, also in Chinese media, quoted UBC professor Allan Tupper’s comments that not too much should be read into these results with respect to the general election, a point also covered in Hindi media.

While the strong results of the PPC in Burnaby South were not subject to analysis or commentary in Punjabi media, they did provoke a number of commentaries in Chinese media. One explained Chinese Canadian support as reflecting “church influence, different values of their native country and Canada, and their dissatisfaction with Trudeau” as the main reasons for the Chinese Canadian community to turn to the right (note: Chinese Canadians tend to support Conservatives more than other parties). Another stressed their social conservatism as a reason and a third the PPC’s highlighting the murder of Marissa Shen, allegedly by a Syrian refugee.

See the MIREMS blog for some of the stories being covered: MIREMS blog.

Diversity Votes — February By-elections: Matching Census Data with Ethnic Media Coverage (17-23 February 2019, last pre-election report)

For background data on the riding demographic, economic, social and political characteristics, see: February By-elections: Matching Census Data with Ethnic Media Coverage (1-18 January 2019). 

Note: While Chinese in the chart of ethnic media coverage refers to written media, Cantonese and Mandarin to broadcast oral media, I generally summarize all three as Chinese media except where indicated. 

Ethnic Media Coverage

All articles focussed 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 focussed on NDP leader Singh’s campaign (7 articles, many focussing 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). 

Stories of note included the dispute between PPC candidate Tyler Thompson and Conservative candidate Jay Shin regarding the PPC’s position on cannabis legislation (Chinese), the Conservative fundraiser in which he noted his challenge of wanting to be the first MP of Korean origin to be elected (Korean), the resignation of the NDP’s national communications director (Punjabi) and the lawsuit against the PPC against its use of the PPC name (Punjabi).

Two commentaries in Punjabi media focussed on the possible fall-out of the SNC Lavalin scandal, noting that recent polls had shown a decline for the Liberals. One commentary in Chinese media noted support for the PPC among Chinese Canadians, particularly regarding sex education, and that while the Conservative party appeared favoured to win the national election, Burnaby South Conservative candidate Shin had “almost no interaction” with the local community.

See the MIREMS blog for some of the stories being covered: MIREMS blog.

Next week news and commentary on the results.

Diversity Votes — February By-elections: Matching Census Data with Ethnic Media Coverage (9-16 February 2019)

For background data on the riding demographic, economic, social and political characteristics, see: February By-elections: Matching Census Data with Ethnic Media Coverage (1-18 January 2019). 

Note: While Chinese in the chart of ethnic media coverage refers to written media, Cantonese and Mandarin to broadcast oral media, I generally summarize all three as Chinese media except where indicated. 

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.

NDP leader Singh appeared to have more success getting his messages out regarding housing and pharmacare than previous weeks, particularly in the Punjabi media, with only one article reporting on the criticism over the NDP opposing recognition of Juan Gerardo Guaidó as acting Venezuelan president.

In Korean media, there were reports on a campaign event for Conservative candidate Jay Shin attended by Richmond MP Alice Wong as well as a visit by NDP candidate Singh to Northroad Korean town.

 In Urdu media, there was a report on Conservative criticism of the impact of the mortgage stress test on housing affordability.

In Caribbean media, there was coverage of Outremont, largely a profile of Liberal candidate Rachel Bendayan.

 Only two commentaries this week. One article in Punjabi media picked up on the arguments by Macleans writer David Moscrop (What if Jagmeet Singh really did have a $5.5 million mansion? Should we care?) without stating their own position. The other article in Chinese media focussing on Burnaby South provoked a range of comments regarding the prospects of the Liberals in the by-election and the upcoming general election.

Most of the general election coverage continued to focus on the government’s announced measures to reduce foreign interference in the federal election as well as the CBC analysis of the impact of Twitter trolls on political debates in Canada (Twitter trolls stoked debates about immigrants and pipelines in Canada, data show) and the Nanos survey showing that 60 percent of Canadians believe Facebook will have a negative impact on the election (More than six in 10 Canadians say Facebook will have a negative impact on fall election: survey).

Chinese media has also been covering extensively, as one would expect, the ongoing developments of the US extradition request of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, speculation regarding possible additional Chinese retaliation and former Ontario Liberal cabinet minister Michael Chan’s concerns regarding anti-Chinese sentiment of the Conservatives and populists.

See the MIREMS blog for some of the stories being covered: MIREMS blog.

Diversity Votes — February By-elections: Matching Census Data with Ethnic Media Coverage (16-23 January 2019)

For background data on the riding demographic, economic, social and political characteristics, see: February By-elections: Matching Census Data with Ethnic Media Coverage (1-18 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.

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.

While NDP leader Singh’s housing, immigration (withdrawal from the Safe Third Country Agreement with the US)  and other policy proposals were covered, there was still some lingering coverage of his apparent unawareness of the implications of the Canadians detained in China in retaliation for the extradition proceedings against Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.

Svend Robinson’s nomination as the NDP candidate for Burnaby North-Seymour after an 11 year absence was covered in Chinese media (the largest visible minority group in the riding). 

In terms of commentary (including analysis and opinion pieces), Punjabi media predominated with seven items and Chinese three. 

While most of these were neutral in tone, there were three critical pieces. Two of these were in Chinese media, which were highly critical of Wang and how ethnic politics was playing out among Chinese Canadians, and one in Punjabi media, making similar points with respect to Canadian Sikhs. There was one more positive piece on ethnic politics, noting that all candidates seek support from their ethnic group and that the Wang controversy was  “not a big deal.”

Related issues such as the ongoing dispute between Canada and China over the extradition request of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou and the inappropriate comments regarding her possible extradition by Canada’s now former ambassador to China have not seen much by-election related coverage but are being covered by ethnic media separately.

See the MIREMS blog for some of the stories being covered: MIREMS blog.