ICYMI: Doug Ford, Jagmeet Singh and the myth of the ‘ethnic vote’

Good long read and analysis (good selection of interviewees):

During the second debate of the Ontario election in Parry Sound, Ont., Doug Ford shared some thoughts about immigration. “I’m taking care of our own first,” the leader of the Progressive Conservatives said, in response to a question about bringing newcomers to the province’s north.

Back in the Toronto area hours later, and facing criticism, he took a different tack. “We take care of new Canadians,” Ford said. “We take care of immigrants coming to this country. They call me personally on my phone.”

The PC leader’s insistence on his love for immigrants and on theirs for him fits closer to the story that’s commonly told about the Ford family’s electoral success in Toronto: Paragons of retail politics who picked up their phones and didn’t hesitate to use their municipal authority to fill in a pothole if a constituent requested it.

The support that reputation fuelled, particularly among visible minority voters, was supposed to help Doug Ford drive right into the premier’s office at Queen’s Park.

The ring of ridings around the city of Toronto—the suburban and exurban 905 where visible minorities are a plurality or majority of the population—has become the place where governments are formed or defeated. The Liberals swept the region in 2015, the Conservatives four years before, and the narrative was reinforced: The ethnic vote decides elections.

But “this assumption around the monolithic [block] only works if every racialized person voted the exact same way,” says Brittany Andrew-Amofah, a senior analyst at the Broadbent Institute, a left-leaning think tank. “And there’s no evidence pointing to that.”

Indeed, the evidence points to something different: Immigrants and visible minorities are politically diverse, their partisan leanings are unremarkable, and they often just vote the same way as everyone else. (Though “racialized” is a better way to describe these communities, “visible minority” is the more commonly used term in research).

And those findings have serious implications for Doug Ford as well as federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh—both of whom have been cast as potential beneficiaries of outsized support from those communities.


New Canadians have voted Liberal since the elder Trudeau opened the door to them in the 1970s, the conventional wisdom goes.

And those from outside Europe and the U.S. are “more likely than other Canadians to favour the Liberal Party of Canada at the federal level,” says Stephen White, an assistant professor in the department of political science at Carleton University. There have been exceptional elections, such as Stephen Harper’s Conservative majority in 2011 and Brian Mulroney’s 1984 win, in which the party has seen a significant drop in support among such new Canadians. The Liberals lost voters of all backgrounds in those campaigns, however, and immigrants were still more likely to back them than the domestically-born.

But there are reasons to downplay the importance of new Canadians’ partisan preferences. For one thing, Quebec accounts for “the entirety of the Liberal advantage among immigrants,” says Chris Cochrane, an associate professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough. (Canadian-born voters tend to favour the Bloc Québécois and, in more recent elections, the NDP).

The voting gap between visible minority and white voters is similarly “incredibly small” according to Cochrane. The Liberals do “somewhat better’ among visible minority immigrants, while the Conservatives have an opposite but smaller advantage among non-visible minority immigrants.

Much was made during the Conservative term in government of the party’s efforts to reach immigrant and visible minority voters, spearheaded by Jason Kenney, who held the multiculturalism and immigration portfolios for many years. And pollster Darrell Bricker and journalist John Ibbitson’s 2013 book The Big Shift posited a long-lasting alignment between the Tories and new Canadians, increasingly coming from countries like India and China bearing more conservative views than the domestically-born population.

But just how successful the Tory strategy was, and the magnitude of any rightward shift, might bear a second look. “Is there evidence that the outreach was associated an increased gain in support among immigrants than among non-immigrants? The answer, on average, is no,” Cochrane says. In 2015 election, the Liberals won 29 “majority-minority” ridings; the Conservatives won two.

Among individual communities, the Conservatives do appear to have had some success. Jewish Canadians—not a visible minority, but a group Cochrane studies—did shift towards the Tories, and East Asian voters have also moved in their direction over the course of the last few elections.

But the party has done less well among South Asian Canadians than the Liberals, despite Kenney and prime minister Stephen Harper’s much-photographed visits to Sikh gurudwaras and Hindu temples. Zoom out, and the partisan leanings of particular communities appear small, and contradictory in aggregate.

Demographic voting trends within immigrant communities are also unremarkable. “The age and gender differences … don’t follow any different pattern than we would see in the Canadian-born population,” says White: Men and older voters are more likely to vote Conservative.

In terms of visible minorities, the numbers suggests that differences in values and voting behaviour are “at least as significant” within and between communities as they are in comparison to white Canadians, Cochrane suggests. And that’s supported by the anecdata.

“If you’re a Chinese Canadian, does that give you any real kind of connection with a Canadian who’s immigrated from North Africa?” he asks. Elsewhere, Andrew-Amofah points out that the Black community is extremely diverse, in terms of language, region of immigration and religion. “Being Black is not a monolith,” she says.

And while ethnicity likely factors into how visible minority people vote, “that’s not the only thing that matters,” notes Randy Besco, a postdoctoral fellow in the University of Toronto Mississauga’s political science department. “Minorities care about the economy just like everybody else.”

In particular, new immigrants are less likely to be partisan, Besco says. So campaigns and candidates in a particular election may actually matter more than for those who have been in Canada longer or who were born here.

Immigrants: We vote just like you.


A narrative emerged in the early days of the ongoing Ontario election, before the NDP’s sudden rise in the polls: Doug Ford and the Progressive Conservatives would be swept to power with the support of immigrant and visible minority voters.

The line of reasoning starts with Toronto’s last two mayoral elections. Results from 2010 and to a lesser degree 2014 show an inverse “T” pattern: Downtown and the areas surrounding the subway line voted for the non-Ford candidate, while the inner suburbs went for Rob Ford and Doug in successive editions.

The populations of the neighbourhoods in the latter category include more immigrants and racialized people than those in the former.

The common conclusion: Racialized folks love the Fords. The impression has been bolstered by the crowds at the brothers’ events, which are often attended by large numbers of visible minorities. One community in particular has been singled out as a supposedly counter-intuitive stronghold for the family. “There is a huge amount of focus on Black people and their relationship to [Doug] Ford,” says Andrew-Amofah.

Ford himself has claimed to have “massive support” in the Black community, and that no one other than his brother has done more in their aid. (But the PC leader’s own positions have run counter to his stated concern. At a Somali community event in Toronto in April, his call to revive the  controversial Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy drew a rebuke from an activist in the crowd.)

Andrew-Amofah points out that in northern Etobicoke, the Ford family’s traditional bastion, the single largest racialized group is South Asian. She says that the analytical lens for Ford’s skewed support in Toronto should be geography, not race. “If you look at the inner suburbs, transit is poor [and] they’ve been left out of city planning,” she observes. “So there are characteristics of what’s happening there that you can connect to populist rhetoric.”

Those neighbourhoods have higher-then-elsewhere percentages of racialized residents, because rents are cheaper than in the gentrifying city core. But there’s still a substantial white population there, and their political leanings are excluded from a narrative that has racialized people delivering the inner suburbs to Ford.

Comparisons between Ford and Donald Trump, a line of attack the Liberals in particular have favoured, have clouded rather than clarified the picture. Pundits have emphasized the differences between the two candidates, noting that the PC leader’s brand of populism is anti-establishment without being anti-immigrant or anti-minority.

But Ford doesn’t have to be those things to win. Andrew-Amofah defines populism as “creating an enemy and amplifying people’s insecurities.” The Liberals long reign in power and the premier’s low approval ratings provide a ready target.

Immigration is primarily a federal issue, not a provincial one, meaning Ford need not take a particularly strident position on it. Unlike Quebec, Ontario has not seen an influx of asylum seekers from the U.S., a potential trigger for anti-immigrant sentiment.

There is some evidence that visible minorities respond electorally when they are specifically slighted. Take the example of Muslim Canadians in federal politics. The community has historically favoured the Liberals, Cochrane says, despite being more socially conservative than average.

But the magnitude of the preference was particularly pronounced in the last election. “Even the small number of Muslim Canadians who had voted Conservative in 2011 defected from the party in 2015,” Cochrane says. While there’s no data on exactly why that happened, it’s not hard to draw a link to Tory positions like banning the niqab at citizenship ceremonies or setting up a “barbaric cultural practices” tip line. By comparison, the swing away from the party by non-Muslim visible minorities was not significantly greater than among other Canadians.

As long as Ford does not make racialized communities or new Canadians feel targeted in a similarly specific way, his populism could work in his favour. “Immigrants and minorities have lots of reasons to be anti-establishment too,” notes Besco. Or perhaps they’re just swinging the same way as everyone else. “The fact that Kathleen Wynne is very unpopular and has been in government for a very long time affects the choices of minorities just as it does white people.”

A voter survey conducted by Pollara in association with Maclean’s put support for Ford and the PCs among visible minorities respondents at 34 per cent—a large share, but slightly lower than among Ontarians overall. Though those findings are based on a small number of such respondents within the poll, they suggest racialized voters are largely following the broader provincial trend.

The specific reasons for the Fords’ popularity in suburban Toronto also matter, Besco notes. “They made a lot of phone calls,” he says, pointing to their interventions on hyperlocal issues like filling potholes and housing repairs. Those retail politics tactics won the favour of not only the people helped, but the communities around them that heard about them.

But the Fords “don’t have that reputation in other parts of the province,” Besco says. “They know vaguely who they are, but they don’t have all those years of developing a relationship.”

The provincial electoral districts in Brampton and Mississauga, just outside the Ford’s Etobicoke bastion, reflect Besco’s observation. Nine of the 11 ridings that overlay the neighbouring, rapidly-growing cities are majority-minority, based on 2016 census data. The Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy (LISPOP), which produces seat projections using a weighted aggregation of polls, deemed seven of those too close to call as of May 24. One—Brampton East, where Singh’s brother Gurratan Singh is the NDP candidate—was solidly orange, two others was trending that way, while the last leaned Tory.

But a similar trend is visible even in areas with large racialized populations where the PC leader is well known. Take Scarborough, which went for the Fords in both mayoral elections, in no small part because of the brothers stances on local transit issues. All six of the ridings in the former city are majority-minority, and the LISPOP projection judged three of them too close to call, with one leaning PC and two NDP.

By contrast, the bedroom communities around Toronto and most of the rest of southern Ontario outside were painted PC blue on LISPOP’s map.

None of the 17 seats in Scarborough, Brampton and Mississauga were sure PC pickups, regardless of Ford’s personal popularity among the residents—federally, the Liberals won every single one in 2015, most by significant margins, as did the provincial party in these same areas in 2014. But the early indicators in these majority-minority ridings do call into question the narrative that a groundswell among racialized people is set to propel Ford to the premier’s office.


Jagmeet Singh is the first person of colour to lead a major federal party in Canada. That fact initially had many pundits talking up the NDP’s prospects among visible minority voters, particularly in the suburban ridings of the 905 and in ethnically diverse urban areas across the country.

 The party itself has not shied away from that narrative. “The NDP has to become, and with [Singh] now as leader, is going to become the party for a lot of racialized folks,” said Nader Mohamed, the party’s digital director and a transplant from the new leader’s campaign and Queen’s Park team, in a December interview. “I think [the NDP] represent all the equity-seeking groups far more genuinely than the Liberal Party does.”

But there’s no guarantee that racialized voters will feel the same way come election time. Take Brampton and Mississauga. During the 2015 election, Singh, then an Ontario MPP, campaigned heavily in the Peel region for the federal party, and predicted that the “same communities that went en masse to the Conservatives” would pick another party this time around. They did, only it was the Liberals, who took the full set of seats. The best the NDP managed was a close third place in one riding.

Racialized voters are more likely to support racialized candidates, according to experimental research conducted by Besco. “The strongest effects are for your own ethnic group … but you also find cross-ethnic effects,” he says. For example, “Chinese voters are more likely to support South Asian candidates than white [ones], and vice-versa.”

Candidate recruitment is a priority for Singh, Mohamed said. The party wants to reflect “the real mosaic of Canada,” he said, highlighting young and racialized people in particular.

But parties already implicitly acknowledge the need to run racialized representatives in such seats. Twenty of the 33 candidates put forward by the three major parties in Brampton and Mississauga in 2015 were South Asian, including nine winning Liberals; the community is the largest minority in every one of those ridings. The two Mississauga ridings that elected white MPs were the only ones that are not majority-minority.

Across the country, just under half the visible minority candidates that the Liberals, Conservatives and NDP fielded were in what at the time of the election were 33 majority-minority ridings according to an analysis by former bureaucrat and immigration commentator Andrew Griffith. (There are now 41, based on the 2016 census). That kind of packing—there are 338 seats in the House of Commons—suggests that parties recognize the electoral importance of community associations, even if there’s clearly progress to be made on running racialized nominees elsewhere.

The change in Singh’s title between then and now could help sway electors in these and similar ridings the NDP’s way, however. Generally, “party leader effects are bigger than local candidate effects,” Besco says.

Parallels between Singh and Barack Obama are imperfect at best, but made necessary by the shortage of racialized people in high offices in comparable countries. Historically high turnout rates among Black, Hispanic and Asian voters were key to the U.S. president’s 2008 victory, and voting among the former rose even further four years later.

But in Canada, immigrants—an overlapping but not identical comparison group, of course—are actually engaged in politics at higher levels than those born in the country, White notes. “I don’t see any evidence that there’s a large untapped voting bloc of immigrants who don’t vote right now … who will suddenly be mobilized,” he says.

And while the NDP could see some uptick in support within racialized communities as a result of making Singh the country’s first party leader of colour, the magnitude and sustainability of that backing depends on how he chooses to use that fact. “If he can connect policies to the experience of racialized voters he has an easier sell, by virtue of lived experience” and the credibility provided by his prior social justice work, Andrew-Amofah says.

The Liberals won a swathe of ridings with large racialized populations in 2015. But they also won big in electoral districts with overwhelmingly white populations. It’s understandable that people have focused on the first fact, and on the Conservatives ethnic outreach efforts before that.

But the evidence suggests what’s going on is more complicated than a monolithic block swinging from one party to another, and that the prospects of politicians like Singh and Ford among racialized people will be determined by a variety of factors, including but certainly not limited to ethnicity.

via Doug Ford, Jagmeet Singh and the myth of the ‘ethnic vote’ – Macleans.ca

Liberals won over Muslims by huge margin in 2015, poll suggests

No surprise, given the Conservative party’s use of identity politics in the election and explicit anti-Muslim messaging.

Chris Cochrane’s (UofT Scarborough) exit poll analysis of the election results, presented at Metropolis this spring, shows even stronger support among Canadian Muslims, close to 80 percent:

Muslim Canadians voted overwhelmingly for the Liberal Party in last year’s election, helping Justin Trudeau secure the majority government that nine out of 10 of Muslims believe will help improve relations between themselves and other Canadians, according to a new survey.

The poll of Muslim Canadians also found widespread support for the right to wear a niqab during a citizenship ceremony and a large degree of opposition to the anti-terrorism legislation known as Bill C-51, two hot-button issues that may have cost the Conservatives dearly in the last federal election.

The Environics Institute polled 600 Muslim Canadians between November 2015 and January 2016, asking a number of questions related to identity and religious issues, in addition to more politically themed questions.

Of those who said they had voted in the 2015 federal election, 65 per cent reported voting for the Liberals, with 10 per cent saying they voted for the New Democrats and just two per cent for the Conservatives.

Another 19 per cent of Muslim respondents refused to say how they had voted.

How Muslims voted in the last federal election

The Liberals did particularly well among Muslims in Quebec and those who are Canadian born. The NDP did slightly better among younger Muslims than it did among older Muslims.

These numbers mark a shift away from the NDP and Conservatives compared with 2011. An Ipsos Reid exit poll of voters in 2011 found that 46 per cent of Muslim Canadians had voted for the Liberals, with 38 per cent having cast a ballot for the NDP and 12 per cent for the Conservatives.

Source: Liberals won over Muslims by huge margin in 2015, poll suggests – Politics – CBC News

Canada federal election candidates include more visible minorities in 2015 than in the past four votes | National Post

More on visible minority candidates, with good commentary by Erin Tolley, Chris Cochrane and Priya Ramanujan:

Notably, this is the first time that the proportion of visible minority candidates in Parliament reflects the per cent of visible minority candidates who ran for election. Usually, a far greater proportion runs than is actually elected, said Erin Tolley, an expert on visible minorities in Canadian politics at the University of Toronto.

“It’s great to benchmark how many arrive in Parliament, but also to think about the mechanism through which they got there,” added Tolley, explaining that the success of visible minority MPs may have had more to do with the Liberal wave than with conscious effort. In 2011, the NDP were hailed for bringing several young MPs into Parliament, but they had “won by accident, by surprise” because of an unexpected surge of support in ridings they hadn’t expected to win.

Thirty nine visible minority MPs, the bulk of those elected yesterday, belong to the Liberal party, which has long had the support of more visible minorities than the other major federal parties.

“A Liberal victory like we saw last night unsurprisingly is going to return a particularly high number of visible minority candidates to Parliament,” said Cochrane.

“As visible minorities become more entrenched, they’re here for many generations. They’ve been living in their neighbourhoods for decades. That’s all a recipe for increased engagement in federal politics,” he added.

Priya Ramanujam, production editor of New Canadian Media, a news website focused on immigrants, said she’s seen such change unfold in her own neighbourhood, which is part of the GTA’s Scarborough North riding.

Until 2011, the area, where more than 70 per cent of voters belong to visible minorities, was represented by a non-visible minority MP. This year all three major parties ran visible minority candidates. And it’s not just the parties who are trying to get more in tune with locals.

“I have definitely noticed an increase in people getting involved in politics, both young people and adults right up to seniors, and that’s across ethnicities,” said Ramanujam, who says that youth are far more engaged than when she was in high school in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

But Tolley said what happens next will dictate how much influence visible minorities have in practice. “To me, a commitment to diversity and equality goes beyond just putting people in the House of Commons. It means giving them a voice of power,” she said.

Visible minorities held token positions under the previous government, she said. “There were visible minorities sitting in cabinet, but those visible minorities had cabinet portfolios that were extremely limited.”

“The visible minorities that tend to get access to power are not the full range of people of colour that we see in Canada,” added Tolley, warning that advancements for minorities in general can distract from the plight of marginalized groups, such as Black Canadians, very of few of which have been elected to parliament.

The Oct. 19 election saw the three major parties field more visible minority candidates than in the past four federal elections, according to a study by Andrew Griffith, former director general for citizenship and multiculturalism at Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The National Post used data from the study to tally the number of visible minority MPs.

In total, 143 of the 1014 candidates that ran for the Conservative, Liberal and NDP parties belong to a visible minorities with 68 of them running in 33 ridings where more than half of residents belonged to visible minorities.

Source: Canada federal election candidates include more visible minorities in 2015 than in the past four votes | National Post

Study says Canada’s three major parties are fielding more visible minority candidates | National Post

My short study quoted in the National Post, along with Chris Cochrane’s analysis (I will do a piece tomorrow analyzing the results and how many visible minority candidates were elected):

Fourteen per cent of the 1014 candidates – or 143 possible Members of Parliament – running for the Conservative, Liberal and NDP parties are members of visible minorities, according to an analysis by Andrew Griffith, former director general for citizenship and multiculturalism at Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

The proportion of visible minority candidates is roughly on par with the electorate, 15 per cent of which consists of visible minority voters.

“All parties are trying to compete for this (visible minority) vote,” says Griffith, who has written a book on multiculturalism in Canada.

Griffith’s study found the Liberals were leading with sixteen per cent of Liberal candidates – or 55 candidates – from visible minorities. The Conservatives and the NDP were lagging behind with 44 visible minority candidates each, amounting to 13 per cent of their total candidates. The Bloc Quebecois fare the worst, with only two visible minority candidates.

The Liberal lead is unsurprising given that “multiculturalism is part of their DNA,” says Griffith.

Visible minority representation is even higher in the 33 ridings in which more than half of the residents are from visible minorities. In these areas, 68 of the 99 major party candidates, including 19 women, are from visible minorities. All of the major parties are represented by a minority candidate in 15 of these ridings.

“These are all battleground ridings where all three parties, at least at the beginning of the campaign, were reasonably competitive,” says Griffith.

Twenty-three of these 33 ridings are in the Greater Toronto Area, a key battleground for the major parties. In these ridings, the Conservatives are fielding the most visible minority candidates, with 25 in the race, but are closely followed by the Liberals, who are running 24 candidates. The NDP lag behind with 19 candidates.

“You really have to hand it to (Conservative) Jason Kenny and the people who have made that outreach in those communities,” says Griffith.

But Chris Cochrane, a political science professor at the University of Toronto, says it’s important to distinguish between immigrants and visible minorities, some of whom may have lived in Canada for generations and make up a Liberal stronghold.

“Conservatives increased their vote share spectacularly among immigrants going into the last election but they didn’t do nearly so well among visible minorities,” he says.

Source: Study says Canada’s three major parties are fielding more visible minority candidates | National Post

Canadians of all stripes oppose face coverings at citizenship ceremonies: Vote Compass – Politics – CBC News

While CBC’s Vote Compass does not have the same rigour as a formal poll, it is likely accurate in reflecting overall public opinion regarding the niqab(E.g. this recent Angus-Reid poll, Religion and faith in Canada today: strong belief, ambivalence and rejection define our views, captures a similar picture):

The findings from Vote Compass largely bolster this claim. When broken down along party lines, the results show that Bloc Québécois and Conservative supporters were most opposed to the idea of allowing people to cover their faces during citizenship ceremonies — 96 per cent and 92 per cent, respectively.

NDP, Liberal and Green supporters were less opposed, with 62, 57 and 51 per cent, respectively, saying face coverings shouldn’t be allowed during this type of ceremony.

On the other hand, 31 per cent of Green supporters, 29 per cent of NDP supporters and 28 per cent of Liberal supporters agree that it should be allowed.

The issue is often “framed as religious freedom, but it’s also an issue about cultural norms, and right across the spectrum you’re seeing that Canadians are very uncomfortable with people covering their face for whatever reason,” says Kyle Matthews, senior deputy director for the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies at Concordia University.

….The issue is most heated in Quebec, where the notion of reasonable accommodation was a major issue during the 2014 provincial election. While many commentators believe the Parti Québécois’ pursuit of a so-called charter of values was a prime reason for its defeat, religious accommodation remains contentious in Quebec.

According to the Vote Compass results, Quebecers are most opposed to facial coverings in citizenship ceremonies (90 per cent), followed by people in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba (72 per cent), the Atlantic provinces (68 per cent), Ontario (66 per cent) and B.C. (58 per cent).

Christopher Cochrane, a professor of political science at the University of Toronto, says this is “a textbook wedge issue, and also one of the few roads into Quebec for the Conservative party.”

The Conservatives and the Bloc have been vocally opposed to facial coverings in public ceremonies. While the Liberals and NDP have suggested a more inclusive stance, their positions have been tougher to pin down, says Cochrane.

For those parties, weighing in on the niqab issue is a tricky proposition, especially in Quebec.

“If Mulcair or Trudeau were to express support for a ban or a restriction, they’d alienate a pretty reasonable chunk of their support base,” says Cochrane.

At the same time, “if the Conservatives can make any inroads in [Quebec], then that’s a way of undercutting support precisely where the Liberals and New Democrats are far and away in the lead.”

Source: Canadians of all stripes oppose face coverings at citizenship ceremonies: Vote Compass – Politics – CBC News

Immigrants are not a monolithic voting block

Ethnic_Voting_Cochrane_SlideGood panel organized by the Munk Centre:

If the Conservative Party is banking on the immigrant and ethnic minority vote to win them the election, as some believe they did in 2011, they might need to revisit that narrative.

“They do well with white immigrants, not visible minority immigrants. I think there is a disconnect with the narrative and reality,” says Chris Cochrane, an associate professor of political science at the University of Toronto Scarborough.

Cochrane took part today in the University of Toronto’s Munk School panel, “Courting the Ethnic Vote: Immigration and Multiculturalism in the 2015 Federal Election.” The panel of experts discussed a variety of topics facing ethnic minorities, from the racialization of candidates to the importance of diversity in politics.

Jeffrey Reitz, the president of the Harney Program in Ethnic, Immigration and Pluralism Studies at the Munk Centre, moderated the panel and opened it by discussing the traditional voting narrative of immigrants in Canada: for generations, immigrants voted for the Liberal Party of Canada, because “they were the party of open immigration,” or for the New Democratic Party, because they were the “party of the underdog.”

There was an apparent breakthrough for the Conservative Party in getting the ethnic vote when the former minister of citizenship and immigration, Jason Kenney, embarked on a major outreach effort during the last federal election, said Reitz.

“Old-stock Canadians with conservative values meet new-stock Canadians with conservative values, that was the story.”

“There is no question about the dominance of the narrative of Conservative inroads among immigrant communities,” said Cochrane, but his findings show different conclusions.

But immigrants who have moved to Canada from the Middle East showed an almost equal vote distribution amongst the parties. South Asians voted strongly for the Liberals, and African immigrants voted for the NDP. The Conservatives were favoured by Europeans, East Asians and Americans.

“A story of a massive special immigrant vote that abandoned the Liberal Party, and shifted to the Conservative Party, outside of Quebec doesn’t seem to be consistent with the data.”

Cochrane’s findings on ethnic minority and immigrant voting patterns came from the “exit surveys” conducted by the research company IPSOS. They surveyed over 100,000 Canadians in the past three federal elections — including over 12,000 immigrant voters.

“This is a unique data set that allows us to look at small communities and discuss it with high statistical confidence, he told iPolitics.”

“Outside of Quebec, the immigrant as a whole mirrors to a larger extent the vote of other Canadians, and is equally heterogeneous. There is a lot of variation in diversity in the immigrant community — just as there is in the non-immigrant community.”

Source: Immigrants are not a monolithic voting block (paywall)

Another good presentation was by Erin Tolley, looking at the news coverage of immigrants and minorities in Canadian politics, sharing the results of her forthcoming book, Framed: Media and the Coverage of Race in Canadian Politics (see her earlier op-ed in the Globe Parties pigeonhole visible minority candidates)