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 (31 January to 8 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, 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.

Stories covered in Chinese media included the risks to Singh’s leadership, that former Liberal candidate Karen Wang would not run as an independent (and noting her pregnancy), the visit of Andrew Scheer and his criticism of how the Liberals have handled the dispute with China over the requested extradition of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, and that NDP leader Singh appeared to be in the dark regarding the change in his caucus’s position on the legitimacy of Venezualan leader Maduro. 

The all candidates meeting for Burnaby South was covered in both Punjabi and Chinese media, with the latter noting the “fiery debate.”

Korean media coverage focussed on the visit to Burnaby South of Conservative leader Scheer and the formal launch of Conservative candidate Jay Shin, who is of Korean descent. Scheer’s visit was also covered in Chinese media but curiously not in Punjabi or South Asian English media. An article in Arabic media focussed on the importance of Outremont to both Liberals and the NDP, as well as Quebec ridings overall to the Liberal re-election plans.

Five commentary pieces in Punjabi media appeared this past week. Three of these focussed on the electoral prospects of Singh and the NDP, with two highlighting the risks to his leadership and the generally poor prospects of the NDP. One noted that Singh’s prospects had improved given the controversial remarks of former Liberal candidate Karen Wang while another one criticized those who circulate fake news and rumours regarding Singh. Tarek Fatah’s previously published critique of ethnic voting (The Bankruptcy of Ethnic Vote Banks) was reprinted in English in the Punjabi media.

In general election coverage, the government’s announcement of measures to reduce foreign interference in the federal election continued to receive considerable coverage. Other stories of interest included former NDP leader Mulcair’s comments regarding the possible shift of NDP voters to the Green Party, and questions surrounding the controversial $300,000 fundraiser by Brampton area MP Raj Grewal in both Punjabi and Chinese media. Cantonese media covered the Conservative plans to assist candidates in their communication skills.

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 (24-30 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

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. 

Three pieces were neutral in tone while an editorial in Punjabi media was sharply critical of “cheap minority politics and the cry for Canadian values.” In Chinese media, one commentary accused the mainstream media of “deliberately alienating ethnic groups from each other” in terms of how they characterized criticism of former Liberal candidate Karen Wang’s divisive remarks on WeChat.

In general election coverage, the government’s announcement of measures to reduce foreign interference in the federal election received widespread coverage in virtually all languages. 

Other stories include the PPC having raised $300,000 was covered in Gujarati media and former Liberal candidate Wendy Yuan having “jumped ship” to seek the nomination for the Conservatives in Steveston Richmond East (she had previously run for the Liberals in Vancouver Kingsway in 2008 and 2001 and had sought the nomination in Steveston Richmond East in 2015).

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.

February By-elections: Matching Census Data with Ethnic Media Coverage (1-18 January 2019)

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. 

The detailed riding profiles are here: 59003 – Burnaby South24054 – Outremont, and 35119 – York Simcoe.

The language most often spoken at home, the indicator that correlates most closely with ethnic media readership, is captured in Table 2. Predominate non-official languages are Mandarin and Cantonese (about 25 percent) whereas Outremont and York Simcoe have few non-official languages most often spoken at home.

Ethnic Media


As one would expect, Chinese and South Asian media dominate in the by-election coverage  given riding demographics, mainly Chinese Canadians, and the highly visible candidacy of NDP leader Jagmeet Singh. The ill-advised remarks of former Liberal candidate Karen Wang, her forced resignation and replacement by Richard Lee have further increased the riding visibility.

As a result, of the 97 media articles monitored 1 to 18 January, one third of ethnic media coverage is in Punjabi, with an additional 8 percent in the South Asian English media. Written Chinese media forms one fifth, with radio and TV in Cantonese forming 8 percent and in Mandarin, three percent.

In terms of candidate specific coverage, NDP leader Singh was covered in about two-thirds of the media, with many articles focussed almost exclusively on his campaign and related challenges (e.g., his inability to answer questions regarding the detention of Canadians in China). His Liberal and Conservative opponents were only mentioned in about 15 percent of media, with of course the controversy over former Liberal candidate Wang’s divisive remarks being mentioned. PPC candidate Tyler Thompson was mentioned by close to six percent.  

There was only one article (reprint really of her website bio) focussed on Outremont, a profile of Liberal candidate Rachel Bendayan in Arabic, with no coverage of the Conservative and NDP candidates (Jasmine Louras and Julia Sanchez respectively). Outremont has a significant Jewish population (11 percent in 2011). Bendayan is Jewish (likely Sephardic given her surname) as appears is Louras. Overall voting preferences of Canadian Jews have shifted from Liberal to Conservative reflecting the previous government’s focus on combatting antisemitism and a more overt pro-Israel policy.

Basic news reporting and reprinting of mainstream media news article form the majority of ethnic media articles. However, close to 40 percent of the Punjabi and South Asian English, and about 13 percent of the Tamil media  media are commentary. Only Punjabi talk shows featured by-election coverage (Burnaby South).

Out of the 16 commentaries analyzed, 12 were in Punjabi, three in South Asian English and one in the Tamil media. For the most part, these were more in the form of neutral analysis than presenting opinions. Only three commentaries expressed opinions. All were negative, two were in the Punjabi media (NDP leader Singh’s ignorance of China’s arrest of Canadians in relation for the extradition case of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, former Liberal candidate Wang’s divisive ethnic appeal on social media) and one in the South Asian English media (the same critique of NDP leader Singh).

Next week will likely feature more commentary on ethnic politics given the debate is has provoked among many Canadians, including those in the language groups covered.

See the MIREMS blog for some of the stories being covered: Karen Wang and the ethnic vote: Multilingual media weighs in.

In related election coverage, the Supreme Court of Canada’s striking down the five-year limit for Canadian expatriate voting received coverage, particularly in Cantonese, Chinese and Mandarin media but also with significant coverage in Tamil media.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ethnic media coverage of birth tourism: Cantonese, Chinese, Punjabi, Haitian

MIREMS, Multilingual International Research and Ethnic Media Services, kindly shared what they are picking up on birth tourism in the ethnic media:

Study shows birth tourism much more prevalent in Canada than reported by StatsCan – Cantonese

Description: A new study shows that the number of births in Canada to non-residents, known as “birth tourism,” is much higher than previously reported by Statistics Canada. The study was done by Andrew Griffith for Policy Options, a policy think tank. It was found that the level of birth tourism nationally in Canada is at least five times greater than the 313 births recorded by Statistics Canada in 2016, sitting at 3,223. Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said they will look into the number of people coming into Canada to give birth and will investigate “immoral birth consulting services.” Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said at the time one of the goals would be to end the practice of women coming to Canada simply to give birth to a child who will automatically have Canadian citizenship.
TV – Fairchild TV Ontario (400000 – Daily7) – Toronto, 23/11/2018 – News, 1 – 2 min, 02/05, Cantonese

Federal government to investigate impact of “maternity tourism” on the country – Chinese

Description: Based on the figures from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), researcher Andrew Griffith found that in 2016, there were 3,200 babies born to “maternity tourism” mothers in Canada; that number is 9 times higher than the 313 babies recorded by Statistics Canada. Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said that his department has commissioned CIHI to conduct a study to fully understand the extent of the impact of maternity tourism on Canada.
WEB – Ming Pao Toronto (227000 – Daily7) – Toronto, 23/11/2018 – NEWS, 3/4 page web, 2nd, Chinese

Ottawa probes birth tourism as new data shows higher non-resident birth rates – Punjabi

Description: With new research showing that more babies are born in Canada to foreign residents than Statistics Canada realized, the federal government is studying the issue of “birth tourism” in the hope of better understanding how many women travel to Canada to have babies who are born Canadian citizens. Using numbers from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), which captures billing information directly from hospitals, researcher Andrew Griffith found over 3,200 babies were born here to women who weren’t Canadian residents in 2016. Ontario immigration lawyer Gordon Scott Campbell said he’s had several clients in recent years who have given birth while in Canada while in the middle of legitimate refugee or immigration processes. For example, he said some women with visitor status live with their spouses while applying for spousal sponsorship, and some refugees arrive pregnant or become pregnant while waiting for their claims to be processed. But it doesn’t mean that birth tourism is a widespread practice, Campbell added. Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen responded by saying his department has commissioned research to get a better picture of the scope of the issue in Canada.
RADIO – Red FM 106.7 Good Morning Calgary (Daily5) – Calgary, 23/11/2018 – News, 1-2 mins, 12/14, Punjabi

Tendance à la hausse au pays pour le tourisme de naissance – Haitian

Description: François Jean Denis – Une nouvelle étude démontre que plus de bébés sont nés au Canada d’une mère vivant à l’étranger que ne le croyait Statistique Canada. Les statistiques affichent une hausse croissante du nombre et du pourcentage de ce genre de naissances dans toutes les provinces, sauf au Québec. Le gouvernement fédéral étudie ce qu’il appelle le « tourisme de naissance » dans l’objectif d’avoir une idée plus précise du nombre de femmes qui voyagent au Canada pour avoir des bébés qui naissent citoyens canadiens. Le chercheur Andrew Griffith a utilisé des données de l’Institut canadien d’information sur la santé (ICIS) qui obtient des informations de facturation directement des hôpitaux. Elles ont révélé qu’en 2016, plus de 3200 bébés étaient nés ici de femmes qui n’étaient pas résidantes canadiennes, comparativement aux 313 bébés enregistrés par Statistique Canada. Ces femmes viennent au Canada pour donne la citoyenneté canadienne à leurs enfants. La découverte suggère non seulement que le nombre est 10 fois plus élevé que celui précédemment rapporté, mais que c’est une tendance à la hausse, selon M. Griffith. Le député libéral Joe Peschisolido a récemment déposé à la Chambre des communes une pétition appelant le Canada à prendre des mesures plus énergiques pour mettre fin au tourisme de naissance, affirmant qu’il porte atteinte au système de protection sociale du Canada. Est-ce que cela va remettre en question le droit du sol ? Désormais, plusieurs pays ont mis au point ou modifié leurs lois sur le droit de naissance, notamment le Royaume-Uni, l’Australie, l’Irlande, la Nouvelle-Zélande, l’Inde, la République dominicaine, la Thaïlande et le Portugal. Auparavant, des femmes venaient au Canada et partaient sans payer les frais d’hospitalisation. Aujourd’hui, les hôpitaux ont pris des dispositions pour empêcher ce problème. Aujourd’hui, c’est impossible pour des femmes étrangères d’accoucher sans payer parce qu’avant même de les admettre, on leur demande de payer. En tout cas, on ne va pas contester le droit du sol au Canada.
RADIO – CPAM 1410 AM – Immigration (Weekly) – Montreal, 24/11/2018 – NEWS, 3 mins, 02/04, French

Meet Trudeau’s lead on multicultural communications, PMO press secretary Amreet Kaur

While much of the article is a personal profile, some interesting comments on ethnic media strategy and tactics:

Canadian political parties are increasingly emphasizing multicultural communications and outreach work, and as the Liberal government’s lead staffer focused on communicating with the country’s many multicultural communities and news outlets, PMO press secretary Amreet Kaur plays a “vital” role in the office.

“The component of multicultural outreach remains one of the vital components of any party’s outreach strategy, and Amreet, from her experience … really is singular,” said John Delacourt, a vice president at Ensight Canada who served as director of communications for the Liberal caucus’ research bureau on the Hill from January 2016 to January 2017.

“I think PMO relies on her [Ms. Kaur’s] working rapport with the multicultural outlets,” he said.

“She just has an intuitive ability to work with a full range of communities across the country, has a strong sense of regional issues, [and] knows the GTA and the 905 area and the Greater Vancouver area really well,” said Mr. Delacourt.

She also has a great “working rapport” across the Liberal caucus and with Canada’s various multicultural outlets, and keeps a political, “strategic lens on everything that she’s doing,” he said.

Ms. Kaur is one of four press secretaries currently working in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s (Papineau, Que.) office—the others being Eleanore Catenaro, Chantal Gagnon, and Vanessa Hage-Moussa, all led by Kate Purchase as communications director—but is the only one focused specifically on multicultural communications and outreach for the office. She’s been in the PMO since January 2016, having arrived straight from a job with the Ontario Liberals at Queen’s Park.

In her current role, Ms. Kaur tackles media relations work—drafting press releases, ensuring they’re disseminated and that outlets are aware of government announcements or other initiatives, helping plan events, and managing incoming media requests—and also does a “great deal” of stakeholder engagement and outreach, all focused on multicultural communities, explained Mr. Delacourt.

“She would cover it from the cabinet side. … All of the components that go into what we call the larger cabinet communications rollout,” said Mr. Delacourt.

The idea of pursuing specific multicultural communications outreach is one that’s been on the rise in modern Canadian politics.

It’s part of the “big shift” that pollster Darrell Bricker and columnist John Ibbitson explored in their 2013 book, The Big Shift: The Seismic Change In Canadian Politics, Business, and Culture and What It Means For Our Future. And while the 2015 federal election results have since tangibly countered their argument that Canada’s immigrant—or ethnic—communities largely lean conservative, the electoral importance, power, and influence of these voting groups was borne out.

The vast majority of ridings with high immigrant or visible minority populations swung Liberal in 2015, and were key to elevating the party to its current majority government status. They’re expected to be equally important in 2019.

Of the 41 federal ridings in Canada with a visible minority population of 50 per cent or more, 27 are located in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (one represented by a Conservative MP, the rest Liberal), nine are in Vancouver and its surrounding area (two represented by NDP MPs, one by a Conservative MP, and the rest Liberal), two in the Montreal area (both Liberal), and two in Calgary (now held by one Liberal, one Independent). Rounding out that list is Liberal MP Kevin Lamoureux’s riding of Winnipeg North, Man.

By another indicator, based on the 2016 census, the top five largest concentrations of immigrant populations in Canada are located in: Peel region, at 51.5 per cent; Toronto, with 47 per cent; York region, at 46.8 per cent; the Greater Vancouver census division, with 40.8 per cent; and Montreal, at 34 per cent.

The Durham and York regions account for 15 federal ridings; Toronto has 25; Brampton, Mississauga, and Oakville have 13 ridings; Vancouver and the Lower Mainland include 15 ridings; and central Montreal contains 10, with another 13 seats in city’s suburbs and Laval—that’s 91 ridings, out of 338 federal seats in all.

Almost 23 per cent of Canadians’ first language is one other than French or English, according to the 2016 census.

“As the government gets ready for the next election, diverse communities are critical to their success—to any political party—so her [Ms. Kaur’s] role becomes even more important,” said Gabriela Gonzalez, a consultant for Crestview Strategy who previously worked alongside Ms. Kaur at Queen’s Park and described her as a friend.

While previously, the “mainstream media approach” largely defined “how media relations was done” in politics, a little over a decade ago—around the start of Stephen Harper’s first Conservative government—focus began to shift towards specific multicultural communications outreach, said Mr. Delacourt. He said in part, this shift was a result of Conservative polling on the question of same-sex marriage legalization in Canada in 2005.

“The Conservatives polled on it and realized that you could almost map, in terms of value questions, map [based] on [ethnic] communities across the country,” he said. “Jason Kenney was one of the key figures in this—they did extensive work with communities across the country.”

In short order, other political parties also came to realize that as multicultural communities evolved across the country, so too did “the opportunities for political engagement” and participation, and that they weren’t being “cultivated to the degree that they should be,” said Mr. Delacourt.

Plenty of ink has been spilled over the previous Conservative government’s multicultural communications and outreach efforts. That includes former citizenship and immigration minister Jason Kenney’s much-touted work to court various ethnic communities in Canada—leading some to dub him the ‘Minister of Curry-in-a-Hurry.’

By September 2014, a manager of cultural media was added to the Harper PMO’s communications team, in addition to a small team of regional communications advisers—and separate from the slate of other, general communications strategists and officers working in the office.

“Multicultural media didn’t really grow until I’d say the last eight years or so. It’s really taken on a life of its own,” said a Liberal source familiar with Ms. Kaur’s work for the party federally and provincially.

A directory developed by the Canadian Ethnic Media Association last year (which is locked to non-members) lists more than 1,200 ethnic media outlets, from print to radio to online to television, according to a piece from the Ryerson Journalism Research Centre last September. That includes the Sing Tao Daily, Radio Tibet, CHIN TV and Radio, OMNI-TV, PTC Punjabi, The Eastern News, New Tang Dynasty TV, among many others.

Currently in her late 20s, Ms. Kaur hails from Mississauga, Ont., and studied an undergrad in political science at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus. Her parents are originally from India….

via The Hill Times

Kiff: Disproportionate funding goes to media linked to Falun Gong | Ottawa Citize

Interesting analysis and valid questions. Given that Kiff is a principle of a lobbying firm (Solstice), this may not be a completely altruistic commentary which does not detract from the evidence presented:

While most of Canada’s conventional media have endured shrinking audiences and revenues in recent years, segments of the ethnic media have seen significant growth thanks to a constant influx of immigrants from all over the world.

In the Greater Toronto Area alone, there are about 120 ethnic media channels targeting various audiences. The number of Chinese daily newspapers has grown from about five in the 1990s to more than 50 in 2015.

According to Statistics Canada, in 2011, 13 ethnic communities had populations of more than one million, and others had sizeable and growing populations. Demographic projections indicate that by 2031, nearly half (46 per cent) of Canadians aged 15 and older could be foreign-born, or could have at least one foreign-born parent, up from 39 per cent in 2006.

With those numbers, the ethnic media sector in Canada is bound to keep on expanding.

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) helps to support this growth. It was created by the Department of Canadian Heritage back in 2010 with a mandate to foster, promote and finance the production of Canadian content and relevant applications for all audiovisual media platforms. Various CMF programs support productions reflecting Canadian diversity.

A closer look at the projects backed by the Canada Media Fund reveals some surprising funding patterns going back to 2010. Several production companies affiliated with New Tang Dynasty TV (NTDTV) have received close to $18 million in funding over six years compared to the combined total of about $13 million for other ethnic media outlets.

Studios with ties to NTDTV have received 43 per cent of the funding allocated through the Diverse Languages Program and have produced the near totality of funded projects in the Mandarin and Cantonese languages.

According to Wikipedia, NTDTV is a television broadcaster based in New York City with correspondents in more than 70 cities worldwide. The station was founded in 2001 as a Chinese-language broadcaster by practitioners of Falun Gong, a spiritual practice banned by the Chinese Communist Party.

NTDTV’s Canadian operation, with offices in North York, officially launched on March 28, 2012 on Shaw Cable. It is also available on Novus Entertainment in Vancouver and on Bell Fibe TV and Rogers Cable in Eastern Canada. It is unclear how many viewers NTDTV reaches in Canada.

So why does this relatively unknown broadcaster outside of the Chinese community, and its affiliated production companies, get what seems to be a disproportionate amount of funding compared to other ethnic broadcasters? Why are almost all funded Chinese-language projects produced for this broadcaster?

And what is known about the content of the material produced for a broadcaster with clear ties to a religious sect? Why, for example, are at least three funded projects linked to Shen Yun, the huge performing arts arm of Falun Gong that tours extensively throughout the world? Many critics have noted that this production’s overtly political content and proselytizing supersede its artistic merit.

When I spoke to the Canada Media Fund to confirm these figures, they pointed out that CMF is an independent non-partisan body and that CMF does not intervene in the subject-matter of funded projects, recognizing each production’s creative value and freedom of speech.

That is fine, as far as it goes. But, in this case an unexpected result is occurring.

Canada takes pride in its pluralistic and nonsectarian society. In spite of the CMF’s explanations, it seems odd and most un-Canadian that so much public funding is being allocated to a fringe religious group.

It is time for a bit more sunshine on what is occurring here.

Source: Kiff: Disproportionate funding goes to media linked to Falun Gong | Ottawa Citizen

Trump’s Win and the Threat to Canadian Multicultural Policy

Usual helpful Mirems (Multilingual International Research and Ethnic Media Services) summary of ethnic media reactions, this time in relation to the Trump victory:
Donald Trump’s election win has been reverberating strongly in the Canadian ethnic media across all language groups. The main emphasis in the early reporting was on how this could happen and on the potential implications for Canada especially in terms of immigration and the economy. In addition, ethnic media in Canada were concerned with the spill-over of a more overt and aggressive form of racism from South of the border to Canadian cities.

Despite his lack of experience, or maybe because of it, Trump appealed to those feeling disenfranchised and frustrated with the traditional elites by appearing to speak from the heart and skirting political correctness (OMNI BC, Punjabi, 8/11/2016). He used incitement and hate speech to win (Sing Tao, Chinese, 10/11/2016). A Pakistani paper argues that terrorist incidents and suicide bomb attacks in the US, which caused hate and fear among Americans, led to Trump’s victory (Pakistan Times Canada, 10/11/2016). Meanwhile, a Hispanic radio host considered that “he managed to appeal to the lowest instincts of those disappointed with Washington’s policies… with a campaign based on personal insults, arrogance and ignorance” (CIRV radio, Spanish, 9/11/2016). Both candidates had been caught in many lies and the Chinese Sing Tao recommended that politicians should reflect on why people were not happy with the system (9/11/2016).

Some ethnic voices responded favourably to the election outcome. Callers on CMR Radio’s Urdu program expected the ‘businessman’ to increase job opportunities and noted a change in his tone after his election that they took to mean he would not implement the plans he talked about during his campaign (9/11/2016). Most callers on a Red FM Punjabi program in Vancouver welcomed the election results, saying Americans voted for a better economy and for better jobs. A Sikh-American caller from Los Angeles said his family and community members voted for Trump because they believe he will strengthen the American economy and stop immigration. A BC caller said that he supported Trump’s immigration policies and said there should be restrictions on immigration in Canada as well because cheap labour and fraudulent immigration are causing poverty in BC (Red FM Punjabi, 9/11/2016).

United Chinese American President Haipei Xue also reported that many new immigrants from mainland China voted for Trump, in part due to a legislative push to permit California’s public university to consider race and ethnicity in admissions; this was considered an impediment to Chinese children getting into good schools (Fairchild radio, Mandarin, 9/11/2016). Anti-immigrant sentiment is not restricted to Caucasians, as immigrant communities are often faced with the most intense competition from more recent arrivals.

Some commentators saw the election as a choice between two evils, or between a “true villain” and a “hypocrite”; they chose the “true villain” because they can predict what he will do (Fairchild radio, Mandarin, 9/11/2016). The black community reportedly didn’t participate much in voting this time, which worked in Trump’s favour (CHIN Urdu, 9/11/2016).

However, the majority of ethnic sources in Canada see Trump’s win as reflecting the mindset of North Americans: “They have rubber-stamped bigotry. Americans are still not ready to give equality to women. Not only discrimination against minorities and racism, but sexism is the biggest problem in the US” (Radio Rim Jhim, Punjabi, 9/11/2016). Trump said he would bar Muslims from the US and “ordinary Caucasians thought he was good for them” (OMNI BC, Punjabi, 8/11/2016). He was able to win mainly due to his anti-immigration, anti-globalization policies platform (CIRV Mandarin, 9/11/2016). Trump “targeted the Spanish and Muslim communities, which brought him closer to the majority of white people” (CIAO Punjabi, 9/11/2016). Now immigrants are wondering if they should leave the country as they are terrified. It was a rebellion against the elites, but it was also about race: this was a “white-lash against a changing country and against a black president” (G 98.7 FM radio, Afro-Caribbean, 9/11/2016).

…Another area of spill-over to Canada seems to be a trend towards more overt racism. Conservative leadership contender Kellie Leitch is allegedly “counting her victory after Trump’s win” (Canadian Punjabi Post, 11/11/2016). Just as the City of Toronto and the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) launched an awareness campaign about the persistence of racism (Share, Afro-Caribbean, 10/11/2016), posters urging white people to join the ‘alt-right’ movement sprang up in many parts of Toronto and were widely reported in the ethnic media. The posters promoted white nationalism and railed against political correctness, immigration, diversity and “being told you are ‘racist’ for celebrating your heritage” (Canadian Punjabi Post, 15/11/2016). The same day, an Ottawa rabbi woke up to a swastika and an anti-Semitic slur spray-painted on her front door (PTC Punjabi TV, 16/11/2016). She attributes this to the elections results in the US, which gave people permission to foment division, hatred, racism, misogyny and opposition to immigrants and non-Christian religions (Voces Latinas radio, Spanish, 15/11/2016). A Jewish community centre, a church with a Black pastor and a mosque were also targeted with racist graffiti in Ottawa, while racist flyers called on Richmond, BC, residents to rally against their Chinese neighbours.

Donald Trump’s election ushers in a time of uncertainty and division in North America, with no one more affected than the minority communities on a multicultural and diverse continent. Engagement with the ethnic media can send a message that any organization, business or government agency is serious about serving all local clients and customers equally and respectfully interested in all segments of society. And since Federal responsibility for race relations and multiculturalism in Canada has moved back to its original home at Canadian Heritage, perhaps we can expect a positive message from Ottawa as we move towards celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary as a nation built on the principles of racial harmony and inclusion.

Source: MIREMS Blog – MIREMS 2016

Canada’s news media are contributing to mistrust of Muslims: Siddiqui

Haroon Siddiqui’s guide for the media (I would add test these by substituting ‘Christian,’ ‘Sikh,’ ‘Jewish’ or other religions to check for consistency) :

The credibility of media with Muslims is very low. Muslims generally don’t trust us. In fact, they’re outright afraid of us. They don’t think they would get a fair shake from us. They are petrified that their words would be twisted and distorted.

Let me offer some suggestions.

  • It would be helpful for newsrooms, or the media industry as a whole, to articulate some ethical guidelines on coverage of and commentary on Muslims.
  • Develop a manual to clarify what do the following words mean and whom do they apply to – “moderate Muslims,” ‘anti-modern Muslims,” “fundamentalist Muslims,” “militant Muslims,” and “Islamist Muslims.” Who, exactly, are “radical Muslims” – those who believe in violence, or something else? Who are anti-modern Muslims – the Muslims who don’t drive cars, don’t use iPhones, don’t Tweet, don’t build or visit museums, or refuse blood transfusions?
  • Subject opinion pieces and commentaries to the simple test of truth. Give us a range of views, not just those that might just confirm your own prejudices. The CBC commentator Rex Murphy has advanced questionable propositions about Muslims. He is free to express his views, of course. But where’s the counter-opinion on the taxpayer-supported CBC?
  • Don’t find excuses to attribute crimes by Muslims to their religion. Use the same standard for them as for other people.
  • Avoid double standards on free speech. It seems that we must have free speech to malign Muslims but Muslims must not claim the right to be free from hate speech, which is also a very Canadian value.
  • Resist generic photos of niqab-wearing women when the story has little or nothing to do with niqab. You create the impression that most Muslim women wear it, whereas the number who do is a tiny, tiny minority – in Canada, no more than a few dozen. Don’t distort that reality.

I describe myself as an “incurably optimistic Canadian.” So I think if any nation can debate this issue, within the framework of free speech and fair play, it is Canada. If we get this right, we might even export it to the United States and Europe.

We owe it to Canada to at least try.

Source: Canada’s news media are contributing to mistrust of Muslims | Toronto Star