As Tories review election loss, weak support in immigrant communities a crucial issue

Article over-dramatises even if there is a need for a review.
Margins in many of these ridings were relatively small. Moreover, in Ontario, the provincial conservatives swept most of the same seats and, as the article notes, active outreach by Conservatives allowed them to make inroads.
But beyond the 41 ridings, there are an additional 93 ridings with between 20 and 50 percent visible minorities which should also be looked at:
The Conservative Party is only beginning to sift through the data from the 2021 election, but there is at least one warning light flashing red on the dashboard: the party has been nearly wiped out in Canadian ridings where visible minorities form the majority.

Of the 41 ridings in Canada where more than half the population is racialized, the Conservatives won just one in the 2021 election — Calgary Forest Lawn — despite winning 119 seats overall.

Source: As Tories review election loss, weak support in immigrant communities a crucial issue

In Brampton, federal campaign pledges to boost immigration are creating friction among classes and generations

Good longish read, capturing some of the dynamics and different perspectives, highlighting that there is no monolithic ethnic or immigrant vote. New Canadians as well debate immigration levels, integration and the like:

There’s no better place to observe a cross-section of immigration than in a Tim Hortons in Brampton East.

Elderly women in shalwar kameezes who have been in the city for four decades order double-doubles in Punjabi from the international students, some of whom only landed in Canada months ago. Impatient construction workers, lawyers and realtors, almost all of whom are South Asian, idle in the drive-thru, some with Hindi slang on their vanity licence plates, on their way to and from work. Some came on student visas, others as permanent residents. Some were sponsored by family members, others were Canadian-born.

With such diversity, it’s easy to understand how meaningless the label of “immigrant voter” has become.

Ever since Pierre Trudeau’s Liberal government overhauled immigration policy in the mid 1970s, ushering in waves of newcomers, parties at election time have worked to capture the support of this population. And for more than a decade, they’ve taken particular interest in Brampton East and a collection of other suburban ridings near Toronto that are home to large immigrant populations. They’ve been crucial election battlegrounds, where party leaders have chosen to make major campaign announcements. Snapping up votes in the region – which has swung both Conservative and Liberal in the past – has become key to winning an election.

As Brampton East has grown into the federal riding with the largest proportion of South Asians (66 per cent), the diversity within its boundaries has grown too, along class, religious, ethnic and generational lines. There are vastly differing opinions in the riding among voters of South Asian origin on housing, jobs and – perhaps most divisive of all – immigration. Securing the so-called “immigrant vote” has become an outdated goal.

“We use these really big macro categories to talk about Canadians like ‘immigrants’ or ‘racialized’ or ‘Indigenous’ and we don’t have a lot of nuance in terms of the different priorities or preferences of the people within those,” says Erin Tolley, a political scientist at Carleton University and the Canada Research Chair in Gender, Race and Inclusive Politics. “I think the [federal] parties are a bit hamstrung when it comes to really understanding these nuances between immigrants from different backgrounds [and] immigrant streams.”


Within Jaskaran Dhillon’s household, the political divide when it comes to immigration strategy is stark. Mr. Dhillon, 22, is the Canadian-born son of parents who grew up in North India and lived in Bermuda before coming to Canada in 1997. He lives with his parents and his grandparents in a house in Brampton East, in a subdivision largely populated by Indians who immigrated in the nineties and aughts. He says he’s had “low-level debates” with family and community members about a hot-button issue throughout the riding: whether or not the high rates of immigration should be curtailed.

Since the Liberals under Justin Trudeau’s leadership came to power in the fall of 2015, winning back every Brampton riding from the Conservatives, Canada has accepted more than 330,000 permanent residents from India – and Brampton has absorbed a disproportionate number of them. Policy makers have promoted high immigration targets as the solution to Canada’s declining birth rate and labour shortage and those newcomers have come here to work in warehouses, restaurants and to drive trucks. This year, the target is landing 401,000 permanent residents, a goal immigration minister Marco Mendicino told the Globe in July his government would “make good on.” But some Indo-Canadians who came in previous waves of immigration, like Mr. Dhillon’s family, ask if this influx of immigrants – including those from India, the top source country – has been too fast.

“Immigrants when they come here kind of want to shut the door behind them,” Mr. Dhillon said of his parents’ generation. When they speak of themselves as the last great generation of immigrants, the ones who properly integrated into Canadian society, he believes they are seeking “validation from white people.”

Coming to Canada from India on a student visa is widely regarded as one of the easiest paths to permanent residency, and in the decade between the 2008-09 school year and 2018-19, the population of international students in Canada more than tripled, with India serving as the top source country for the past few years.

But Binder Singh, who immigrated to Canada in 1975 as a child, says allowing more younger arrivals on student visas or temporary work permits has brought out tensions in Brampton East. International students in particular are frequently the subject of conversation in local WhatsApp and Facebook discussion groups – blamed for the surge in COVID-19 cases in the second and third waves of the pandemic; for adding pressure to the wildly overheated housing market; even for the city’s famously high auto insurance rates.

Mr. Singh draws a distinction between immigrants who arrived in the city during his time and those who have settled in the country over the past few years. Mr. Singh says he believes there is far less integration happening now.

It’s a phenomenon that Victoria Esses, an immigration policy researcher and professor of psychology at the University of Western Ontario, has observed in many immigrant communities.

“The more established immigrants come to see themselves as prototypical Canadians,” Prof. Esses said. “These new guys who are coming in, they’re just reminding [the earlier immigrants] that they’re not that far away from them.”

Some of the established immigrants are hostile to any campaigning that might seem as though it’s targeting immigrants or even specifically their own ethnic community “if they think that immigrants aren’t being treated as well as Canadians,” she said. “So they want to dissociate [from the new immigrants].”

Catering to voters who would like to see the flow of immigration slowed could come at the cost of alienating others if it’s construed as racist or xenophobic. Prof. Esses points to the 2015 election, when Conservatives ran a campaign based on so-called “Canadian values” and proposed a tip line to report on “barbaric cultural practices.” Pundits point to this as one of the reasons why Conservatives lost every one of their 11 seats in Brampton and Mississauga that year.

In a paper published this year in the American Review of Canadian Studies, Western University political scientist Zack Taylor argued that the country’s reliance on international immigration for population growth has made it difficult for political parties “to ignore the electoral heft of ethno-cultural communities, which … are concentrated in the Greater Toronto region.”

Since the 1960s, Canadians who are foreign-born have been more likely than those who are Canadian-born to vote for the Liberal Party, but that allegiance began to erode in 2008, after major efforts by the Conservative Party to appeal to racialized immigrant voters.

Jason Kenney, the current Alberta premier who was then minister for citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism in Mr. Harper’s cabinet, was largely credited with helping the Conservatives win every seat in Brampton in 2011 by logging countless hours at gurdwaras, temples and community gatherings in the city, as well as giving interviews to media outlets run by South Asian immigrants.

The party had a strong appeal to the more established immigrants who had climbed their way into the middle class and felt they were paying more in taxes than they were benefiting.

Then came Justin Trudeau in 2015, a fresh new leader for Liberals whose charisma and platform appealed to a large swath of voters. Knowing how key the city was, Mr. Trudeau held his biggest rally of the campaign in Brampton – 5,000 people at the Powerade Centre – and with the Canada Child Benefit and a middle-income tax cut, won back the same middle-class, family-oriented voters the Conservatives had pulled in in 2011.

Mr. Singh said the importance of the individual candidates in Brampton East and surrounding ridings has greatly declined over the past few elections, and the focus is almost entirely on the party leader and platform.

In the 2021 election, the race in Brampton East is between Liberal incumbent Maninder Sidhu; Conservative Naval Bajaj (who ran an unsuccessful campaign in 2015); and the NDP’s Gail Bannister-Clarke. There are more campaign signs up for NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh – who represented this area as an Ontario MPP from 2011 to 2017 – than there are for Ms. Bannister-Clarke. On Wednesday night, in the final stretch of his campaign, Mr. Singh made a stop in Brampton.

Darshan Maharaja, a local political blogger who grew up in the Indian state of Gujarat then lived in Dubai before moving to Brampton in 2004, said many Punjabi Sikhs in Brampton see Mr. Singh (and his brother, who represents Brampton East in the provincial legislature) as one of “their own.”

“Jagmeet is their boy; he became the leader of the party so it’s vital pride for them,” Mr. Maharaja said.

Housing is another critical issue for many residents of Brampton East. When the subdivision of Castlemore was built in the 1990s, there were nothing but fields around it. Homes were still cheap in 2005, when Mr. Dhillon’s parents bought a house in the neighbourhood, but now he and his Canadian-born peers are contemplating leaving Brampton because it’s become so unaffordable.

From 2001 to 2016, the latest year for which data are available, the population in Brampton grew by 82 per cent, compared with 17 per cent for Canada as a whole, and that influx of people has driven up home prices dramatically. In July, the average price for a house or condominium in Brampton was just more than $1-million, the same as in Toronto.

The Liberals, Conservatives and NDP have all promised to increase the supply of housing in Canada through more construction, but also to help young people enter the market. In Brampton, the growing – but often invisible – population of renters wonders how those levers will do anything to improve their situation.

Most of the rental stock for newcomers is made up of apartments carved out of single-family homes – the cheapest options in an overheated market. International students and young workers often crowd into basement units. Fire inspectors have found as many as 20 occupants in a single dwelling, some sleeping on mattresses laid out on kitchen floors.

When Harjot Sarwara first arrived in Canada two years ago on a student visa from Punjab, he lived in Montreal with his wife and their daughter. He was completing a program at a career college, but the French-language barrier made it difficult for his wife to get steady work. So when it came time for Mr. Sarwara to begin his co-op, he and his wife set their sights on the city where so many people from back home had settled: Brampton. But finding a home for their family of three that wasn’t shared accommodation in a basement proved difficult.

“Every time when we ask anybody to rent a house or show a house, they asked what your status is. I said, ‘Yeah, I’m a student.’ They said, ‘No, we will not be giving a home to a student,’” he recounted.

“Due to some of the people from my community who do bad things or they don’t have a good relation with the owner, the whole community is blamed and people like me suffer,” he said.

After two months, Mr. Sarwara was able to find a three-bedroom rental for $2,350 a month. When he and his family moved in, construction was already well under way to convert the basement into a separate apartment.

In the 2019 election, the NDP improved on its previous showing and finished second behind the Liberals in Brampton East, its rise tied to Mr. Singh’s star power and a growing consciousness around worker rights among more recent arrivals and the children of established immigrants.

L6P, a neighbourhood in Brampton East that The Globe and Mail has written extensively about since the spring (the name refers to postal codes in the area), recorded the highest per capita rate of COVID-19 infections in Ontario during the second and third waves of the pandemic, much of that driven by its work force. The same essential workers who were staffing poorly ventilated warehouses and taking crowded transit to work were bringing COVID-19 home in record numbers. Some delayed seeking proper treatment or getting vaccinated because they couldn’t take time off to do so, or were unsure if they qualified, given their immigration status.

Kiran Gill, the daughter of Indian immigrants and a resident of L6P, saw first-hand the desperation of those workers, many of whom were newcomers from India.

During a job at a temp agency that staffs warehouses, Ms. Gill encountered individuals on student visas from India who spoke only Hindi or Punjabi – their English was barely functional – and some boldly asked if they could book hours beyond the 20 they were legally able to work each week, offering to receive their pay under the table.

Working at the agency helped Ms. Gill see how little opportunity there was for even the highly trained professionals who came to Canada with dreams of prosperity.

“I would see people with work permits and [permanent residents] who had great experience from other countries and couldn’t find work so they’d have to go through agencies to at least get warehousing work to make ends meet,” she said.

COVID-related job losses in the city were substantial, with 20 per cent of residents claiming the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit in 2020.

Ms. Gill said the government has to build systems that ensure these workers don’t struggle and add further strains on housing and health care.

Sparsh Sharma, a digital marketer who owns a townhouse in L6P and came to Canada as a permanent resident in 2017, says he often plays down where he lives out of concern for the stigma and stereotypes associated with Brampton and linked to the large population of newcomers. With a labour market made up mostly of low-wage, essential-services jobs, Brampton needs better employment opportunities that will attract and retain individuals like him, he says, who have professional degrees, international work experience and high scores on language proficiency exams.

At the same time, he says the students and those on temporary work permits “are the ones doing the heavy lifting” and are the biggest source of labour in the city. “We enjoy this sort of lifestyle [of greater prosperity ] because they are working behind the scenes for us.”

On Tuesday evening, in the final stretch of campaigning, the Liberal campaign bus pulled up to the Speranza Banquet Hall in Brampton East, where Mr. Trudeau and former prime minister Jean Chrétien spoke. Mr. Sidhu, the incumbent seeking re-election, warmed up the crowd of more than 400 supporters, most of them South Asian.

Though he’s been an MP for two years, Mr. Sidhu spoke little of his record, instead focusing his introduction on his identity – an attempt to connect with as many in the crowd as possible.

He referenced his parents’ backgrounds as Indian immigrants who arrived in the early eighties, toiled at warehouses for 18 hours a day to create a better life for him and his brother.

“This is not just my story, this is the story of so many in this room,” he said.

Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-for-brampton-voters-campaign-pledges-to-boost-immigration-raise-hard/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=Morning%20Update&utm_content=2021-9-16_7&utm_term=Morning%20Update:%20Inflation%20hits%2018-year%20high,%20fuelled%20by%20pandemic%20factors&utm_campaign=newsletter&cu_id=%2BTx9qGuxCF9REU6kNldjGJtpVUGIVB3Y

How ‘minority-majority’ ridings are influencing Canada’s election conversation

Interesting examples of community-specific issues and how they may influence some voters:

When Ally Wong recently launched her website, CCGTV.org or (Chinese-Canadians Go To Vote), her intent was to mobilize Chinese-speaking voters in her riding of Richmond Centre.

The B.C. municipality is renowned as perhaps the ultimate Canadian “minority-majority” city, with nearly three out of four Richmond residents speaking a language other than English or French at home.

This cultural diversity is the reason why the bedroom suburb is today the Asian food capital of North America, but it also seems to have contributed to making Richmond into the country’s most politically apathetic city. In the 2019 federal election, Wong’s Richmond Centre riding had the lowest voter turnout of all Canada’s ridings.

Wong is trying to do something about this state of affairs. Her site is providing Richmond constituents with Chinese-language information on how to register to vote, as well as platform details about every major party’s take on issues such as immigration, taxes and housing — topics that are typically of concern to all Canadian immigrants. 

But as she is engaging with voters, Wong has also uncovered another layer of more community-specific, hot-button topics that are not on the national radar, such as the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, heightened China-Canada tensions, and how the Chinese community is portrayed in English media.

“There is much worry in the Chinese community about the safety of our elders. People feel more action is needed from our politicians,” she said in reference to the spike in anti-Asian hate crimes during the pandemic.

“How the Chinese community is portrayed in (English) media is also important, stories need to be more careful so it doesn’t lead to harm.”

These community-specific issues are often invisible to non-immigrant Canadians. They are certainly not the broad, stump-worthy topics such as housing affordability, climate change, and reconciliation, that one would think could — or should — swing a federal election. But they may turn out to be as impactful as any of the spending promises made in this election that seems more defined by general opposition to it than any burning policy question.

Of Canada’s 338 federal ridings, 41 now have populations in which visible minorities form the majority. While there is some evidence to indicate that South Asian and Filipino voters tend to skew to the left and Chinese voters to the right, partisan allegiances can be thin with 400,000 new immigrants arriving each year, all without any deep connection to a particular party. And given the neck-and-neck polling of this current race, the difference between a minority and majority government may come down to how candidates (along with their parties) in these key “immigrant ridings” position themselves — or posture — on what otherwise may seem to be distant matters, such as the Kashmir question, the erosion of democracy in Hong Kong and farming deregulation in India.

In Surrey—Newton, a riding in which approximately 60 per cent of voters are of South Asian descent, the “home country” issue troubling voters is the bleak future of India’s farmers. In September of last year, the Indian government hurriedly passed a series of agricultural bills that India’s farmers, unconsulted, have since vigorously protested despite vicious police crackdowns.

The Indian government argues the bills are necessary for economic reform. The farmers — the majority of whom are family-based enterprises with small holdings — argue the bills will squeeze them off their ancestral rural lands.

For the past nine months, South Asian Canadians from across the country have held numerous rallies and protests in support of their families and brethren back home. In the riding of Surrey—Newton, its current member of Parliament, Sukh Dhaliwal, tweeted in November of last year that he was “very disturbed by the treatment of Punjabi farmers in India” and that he stood “with the #PunjabFarmers”.

Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government also issued a statement last fall, supporting the rights of India’s farmers to protest. It was strongly rebuked by India’s government.

Gurmant Grewal, a former Conservative MP who represented the Surrey riding of Fleetwood-Port Kells from 2004 to 2015, believes India’s heavy-handed farming reforms could be a swing issue in these South Asian ridings.

“Here in Surrey, you are seeing candidates prioritize Canada-China tensions and the Indian farmer crisis,” said Grewal in an interview with New Canadian Media, a Canadian news outlet that focuses on immigrant coverage.

Even the Bloc Québécois which has traditionally focused its energies on Quebec’s Francophone base, has attempted this election cycle to reach out to immigrants. The party recently issued a statement condemning human rights violations in Kashmir, a predominantly Muslim populated Himalayan region to which both India and Pakistan lay claim.

In 2019, the Indian government abrogated the state’s constitution, and placed control of the region under central authority. Speaking out on behalf of Kashmiris resonates with Quebec’s Muslim voters.

Immigration patterns have continued to reshape Canada’s demographics and the cultural mix in the country’s political ridings. With each election, the diversity of representation in our House of Commons has kept pace with the overall proportion of immigrants in Canada. The total number of visible minority MPs elected increased from 47 in 2015 (14 per cent) to 51 in 2019 (15.1 per cent).

But there is also greater diversity surfacing in the issues that voters are asking about, including topics that otherwise wouldn’t play in a federal election but now do because they are relevant to the voters living in 12 per cent of Canada’s minority-majority ridings. In recent years we have witnessed how a U.S. election can come down to the concerns of voters in a handful of counties in Pennsylvania, Michigan or Florida. We may come to see in a matter of days how a functioning majority in Canada comes down to winning over Chinese or Sikh voters in places like Richmond Centre, and Surrey—Newton by addressing issues only visible in their communities. 

Source: https://www.thestar.com/opinion/2021/09/14/how-minority-majority-ridings-are-influencing-canadas-election-conversation.html

Latif: Tokenistic photo ops are no longer enough in this election campaign

Of note:

This campaign feels a bit strange for me.

I’m not as engaged as I have been in the past, when I was involved with all the federal Liberal campaigns since the 2004 election. I started off as a field organizer, and soon found my niche in community engagement, mobilizing diverse communities. Although I enjoyed my time in politics, I’ve since paused my involvement to pursue other passions, including my academic work. Taking this step back has allowed me to reflect on my efforts, and the progress made in engaging diverse communities in federal elections. 

Nearly two decades after that 2004 campaign, it’s disheartening to see political parties in this election still using the same old tactic of photo ops, unaccompanied by real policy change. But one thing is different this time around: communities are noticing. 

A recent OMNI Filipino report showed Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole coming out of Jollibee (a Filipino multinational fast food chain) in Edmonton. Community advocate Monica De Vera voiced a sentiment that could apply to any of Canada’s diverse communities: “It’s very easy for a politician to go to a Filipino establishment, instead of passing policies that help Filipino people.” 

When I was working in politics, community engagement was about celebrating cultural diversity. I spent my time doing work that would be seen as performative today, such as having politicians attend community celebrations, placing celebratory messages in newspapers on religious holidays, and bringing members of Parliament to mosques, gurdwaras and synagogues. At the time, “showing up” was important; today, it’s no longer enough.

I got so good at my political outreach work that I was actually referred to as the “Jason Kenney” of John Tory’s 2014 mayoral campaign. I didn’t enjoy the comparison, as I prided myself on the authenticity of my community work based on my lived experience, and believed Kenney was insincere. I couldn’t understand why members of so many communities applauded Kenney’s efforts, nor why the media would call him a “kingmaker.”

During his time as minister of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism, Kenney was dubbed the “Minister for Curry in a Hurry,” as he would often show up to Eid celebrations and dragon boat races. But the Conservative party he campaigned under pitted communities against each other, putting regressive policies like the “barbaric cultural practices” hotline in place.

The hypocrisy continues. After the 2017 Québec City mosque attack, Kenney — then a candidate for leadership of Alberta’s United Conservative Party — was quick to speak about his support of religious freedoms on social media. But in his previous role as the immigration minister, he did the opposite and “dictated” a niqab ban at Canadian citizenship ceremonies. This is yet another example of political leaders using rhetoric to win votes in the name of diversity. 

In a recent interview with the Straight, Vancouver-Kingsway NDP incumbent Don Davies decried the candidacy of Liberal Virginia Bremner, a Filipina-Canadian, as containing an “element of opportunism” because of the riding’s diverse demographics. Is it “opportunism” to have candidates that reflect our communities? Davies has since apologized, but the damage is done. Bremner responded via Twitter: “To claim that I lack agency to make my own decisions is sexist, racist, and rife with white privilege. It is an insult to me and all women and women of colour in politics.”

Back in 2004, people from marginalized communities didn’t even think we had an entitlement beyond a simple visit from our leaders. Now, communities expect real tangible change; we speak out and we run as candidates.

Over the past year, we’ve seen the Black Lives Matter protests, a terrorist attack against a Muslim family in London, Ont., anti-Asian violence, and the unearthed bodies of thousands of murdered Indigenous children. And yet, dismantling systemic racism and discrimination is still not the focus of the campaign trail.

Ruby Latif is a Toronto-based community mobilizer, Liberal strategist and a contributing columnist for the Star.

Source: https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2021/08/29/tokenistic-photo-ops-are-no-longer-enough-in-this-election-campaign.html

Regg-Cohn: Surprised that some Black people and Latinos voted for Trump? Try looking at them as individuals

Good commentary on the diversity within groups:

In other news, it turns out that more Blacks, Latinos and gays turned out for Donald Trump this time than last time.

Why is that news? The only surprise is that anyone is surprised.

That certain groups are presumed to vote in their supposed self-interest — as determined by other groups who know better what’s best for them — is not merely presumptuous. It’s profiling.

Today, some of the same social critics who warn against stereotyping Blacks or Latinos are now scratching their heads about why they didn’t vote as expected in the U.S. presidential election. Profiling can be perilous.

Today, some of the same social critics who warn against stereotyping Blacks or Latinos are now scratching their heads about why they didn’t vote as expected in the U.S. presidential election. Profiling can be perilous.

It is a human impulse. But impossibly dehumanizing at times.

Profiling seeks out similarities, but it is pointless if we forget individual differences. It relies on the notion that people of similar backgrounds or aspirations hold similar beliefs, live in similar neighbourhoods, and so on.

Profiling seeks out similarities, but it is pointless if we forget individual differences. It relies on the notion that people of similar backgrounds or aspirations hold similar beliefs, live in similar neighbourhoods, and so on.

The biggest problems with profiling are the premises and definitions that underlie it. That more Latinos voted for Trump this time tells us little of interest, because it’s such an imprecise term (and is overshadowed by the overpowering reality that whites voted massively and decisively for him).

Latinos range from anti-Communist arch-capitalists in Miami’s Cuban émigré community to impoverished Honduran refugees fleeing drug wars via Mexico, to second-generation strivers in Texas or Arizona aspiring to join the ruling Republican establishment. Ethnic is not monolithic.

Just as LGBTQ voters can be Republican or Democrat, Latinos are more different than they are alike.

Profiling is a tool and a template. It is a form of demography and part of democracy, for better or for worst — which is why pollsters, political operatives and party fundraisers mine the data to harvest votes and donations at election time.

They’re just more sophisticated than the rest of us in slicing and dicing the fruit salad. They know that skin colour is only skin deep, so they drill down for other demographic details such as education, income, location.

That’s why postal codes are the preferred proxies for pollsters. Yet zeitgeist and zip codes are rarely congruent.

My own education in demographic divisions came when I was posted to the Toronto Star’s Middle East bureau years ago. Despite my background as a political reporter, I only realized as a foreign correspondent how many ways Israelis could be subdivided.

Not merely as hawks versus doves, but ethnic Ashkenazi versus Sephardi; secular Russian immigrants versus ultra-Orthodox Haredi; socialist kibbutzniks versus modern Orthodox Jewish settlers; urban versus suburban; Muslim and Christian Arab citizens versus Jewish citizens; and last but not least, left versus right. The miracle was how quickly those internecine divisions melted away when Israelis faced an external enemy and existential threat; and how quickly the internal tensions returned (Palestinians, too, fought their own civil war in Gaza between Islamist Hamas rejectionists and secular Yasser Arafat loyalists).

The security services typecast people as safe or threatening based not only on background but back story and behaviour — whether at airport check-ins, military checkpoints or political rallies. Which is why Yitzhak Rabin’s security guards let down their guard when a kippah-wearing orthodox Jew chatted them up before assassinating the prime minister — he didn’t fit their Palestinian profile of a clear and present danger.

Stephen Harper’s Tories made inroads in the GTA suburbs by appealing to the traditional values of many immigrant communities that converged with conservatism. His then-minister of multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, once sat me down to demonstrate his mastery of Chinese Canadian demographics — delineating early anti-Communist immigrants from Taiwan, subsequent waves of Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong dual citizens, and more recent (more apolitical) arrivals from mainland China.

The New Democratic Party — founded as an alliance between the co-operative agricultural movement and the labour movement — long ago learned the working class would not reflexively rally to their side. If workers are reluctant to recognize their own enlightened self-interest — rallying to Doug Ford’s Tories even when they campaigned on cancelling a minimum wage hike and then freezing it for years — why are progressives perplexed when Blacks or Latinos warm up to Trump?

Vote-determining issues are more likely to be economic than ethnic, and political preferences are often more idiosyncratic than ideological. That’s only human.

The point is that profiling tells you everything and nothing about people. Just as postal codes are imprecise — people are unpredictable.

Political parties bank on profiling because there’s much to gain from voters and donors, and little to lose from mass mailings or email blasting that misses the mark. The minimal cost of bulk postage and mass spamming is a mere rounding error.

The point is that profiling tells you everything and nothing about people. Just as postal codes are imprecise — people are unpredictable.

Political parties bank on profiling because there’s much to gain from voters and donors, and little to lose from mass mailings or email blasting that misses the mark. The minimal cost of bulk postage and mass spamming is a mere rounding error.

The rest of us can’t afford to be so reckless with our wild guesses, unproven hunches and dehumanizing assumptions. If the penalty of your profiling is an assassin’s bullet, or an airplane bombing, or a human rights humiliation, then the miscalculation yields an incalculable cost.

Source: https://www.thestar.com/politics/political-opinion/2020/11/11/surprised-that-blacks-and-latinos-voted-for-donald-trump-try-looking-at-them-as-individuals.html

What We Know About The Latino Vote In Some Key States

Expect to see more detailed analyses over the coming months. But a forceful reminder of the diversity of views among different immigrant-origin communities and the danger of over-generalized political strategies and assumptions:

Democrats’ long-term hopes for electoral success have long cited the growing Latino population in the country. But former Vice President Joe Biden’s performance in heavily Latino areas of key states has concerned members of his party — and may have cost him Electoral College votes, according to groups and activists working to mobilize Latino voters.

Nationally, Biden appears to have gotten support from roughly twice as many Latino voters as President Trump, but that support looked very different depending on where you looked in three key states with large Latino populations.

Democrats were pleased with their performance in Arizona, where The Associated Press awarded Biden the state’s 11 electoral votes early Wednesday morning, while anxiety ran high about the results in Florida, where President Trump’s strength with conservative Cuban American voters helped secure him that state’s 29 electoral votes, according to AP. And while Texas was a long shot for Biden, Democrats had seen opportunity in the explosive growth in the state’s Latino population.

During a post-election virtual press conference on Wednesday, leaders from groups aimed at mobilizing Latino voters expressed frustration that the votes of Latinos were not more aggressively pursued, even as they cheered record levels of turnout among Latinos in some key states.

Domingo Garcia, president of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), said that the Biden campaign missed an opportunity in Florida and Texas.

“The Democrats cannot take Latinos for granted. I think Biden missed a grand opportunity to have been able to carry both Florida and Texas,” he said. “If he had just invested in the Latino community more, if he had delivered the correct message. The numbers that we’ve seen out of Miami-Dade is he got 250,000 less Latino votes than Hillary Clinton got.”

Leaders in the Latino community have repeatedly stressed the diversity and complexity of the Latino vote, ranging from conservatives with more traditional social views to young liberals. There are first-generation citizens and families who have been in the United States for decades.

President Trump’s reelection campaign has aggressively courted Latino voters in Florida for years, particularly conservative Cuban Americans, in an effort to offset likely losses among suburban voters and seniors. Trump won a significant majority of Cuban American voters in Florida, as Republican attacks on Joe Biden and Democrats as “socialists” have resonated.

While Trump won over Cuban Americans across the state, Biden’s campaign won the other segments of the state’s Latino electorate. But Biden’s support among Florida’s Latinos fell short of the support that Hillary Clinton carried them with in 2016.

Four years ago, Clinton won Miami-Dade County, the state’s largest county where nearly 7 out of every 10 residents are Hispanic, by 30 percentage points, despite losing the state. This year, Biden won it by just seven points.

Biden’s campaign manager, Jen O’Malley Dillon, told reporters on Wednesday that Biden had not underperformed among Latinos.

“We just saw Donald Trump increase his support with the Cuban American vote,” she said. She defended the campaign’s Latino voter outreach program both in Florida and nationally, citing strong Latino support in states like Arizona and Nevada.

Democrats also had high hopes to turn Texas blue, due to a combination of Democratic breakthroughs in the suburbs and demographic change that they believed benefitted them, including explosive growth in the state’s Latino population. Democrats in the state had been focused heavily on the Rio Grande Valley near the southern border with Mexico, but they ultimately came up short.

Garcia and others pointed to Trump’s victory in Zapata County, just north of the Rio Grande Valley, where voters had overwhelmingly backed the Democratic candidate in the past two presidential elections.

“It went from Hillary to Trump. Why? Because the issues of law and order are impacting Latinos quite a bit,” Garcia said. “For example, a lot of the border patrol, law enforcement are heavily Latino in the Rio Grande Valley. So when you are talking about defunding the police, and you don’t stand up to those types of rhetoric, then it leaves an opening for Republicans to come in and take advantage of that.” That’s despite the fact that Biden vociferously opposed defunding the police, something that has support in the Democratic base.

Biden’s strength in Arizona was in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix and its suburbs. Biden’s campaign focused its efforts there, and drove up turnout among Latinos there, who are largely of Mexican origin. Strategists say that they believe Latinos younger than 30 to have been decisive in that state.

The Trump campaign also worked to win over Latinos in this state, particularly Latino men, and the president was in the state in the closing days of the election, holding rallies despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Source: What We Know About The Latino Vote In Some Key States

The “Ethnic Vote” Is a Myth

This is really a disappointing and shallow article and doesn’t look at exit poll and other analyses that analyse ethnic voting patterns, whether by immigrant status, visible minority or religious group.

There is no monolithic ethnic vote and immigrant and visible minorities largely follow the national trend. In the 2011 election the Conservatives won the most ridings in Ontario’s 905 and British Columbia’s Lower Mainland only to lose them in 2015 to the Liberals. Moreover, most Ontario 905 ridings, held by Liberals federally, flipped to Progressive Conservatives in the 2018 provincial election.

Within this broader context, there are some notable differences. In general, earlier waves of immigrants tend to lean Conservative compared to more recent waves who tend to lean Liberal; East Asians (e.g., Chinese ancestry) tend to lean more Conservative compared to South Asians (e.g., Sikh Canadians) who lean more Liberal and NDP. Canadian Jews have shifted from being more likely to vote Liberal to more likely to vote Conservative and Canadian Muslims, feeling slighted by the Conservatives, increased their turnout in 2015 in favour of the Liberals.

So no ethnic vote but ethnic votes:

GATHER A GROUP of Canadian political observers together and sooner or later they’ll start to debate electoral math. This usually involves discussing which political party has an edge with a specific region or demographic group: who attracts more educated or young voters and so forth. In that context, saying that the Conservatives have an advantage in Alberta, for instance, isn’t exactly controversial. But start talking about the so-called ethnic vote and you’ll soon have as many analyses of which party has better chances, and why, as you have analysts.

Although it is often used by media to mean the non-white vote in general, political scientists and consultants use the term ethnic voteto refer to new or newer Canadians who are also visible minorities. The last two federal campaigns were won essentially by winning the seat-rich, and incredibly ethnically diverse, suburban Greater Toronto Area—ridings where visible minorities and immigrants make up a sizeable voting contingent. Accordingly, a clear narrative has emerged among both political commenters and the advisers who help run campaigns: winning the ethnic vote is essential.

All of which presumes that this thing that has been called “the ethnic vote” actually exists. But is it fair to label this the “ethnic vote” instead of the perhaps more accurate “suburban and exurban vote”? Are the concerns of ethnic voters in the GTA markedly different from their white counterparts? There are virtually no data to suggest so.

Political parties like to court the ethnic vote because it seems tactically efficient to do so. Canada has a higher naturalization rate than comparable Western jurisdictions, such as the US and Australia, and while other countries can afford to dial up the xenophobia come election time, Canadian political parties that want to form government do not have this option. (The two most populous and vote-rich provinces, Ontario and Quebec, have the largest proportion of immigrants who have obtained Canadian citizenship.)

In a way, this is good. It means all mainstream political parties must engage newer Canadians. But a cynic might—reasonably—say parties that reduce foreign-born visible minorities of all ages and genders and from all parts of the world to a homogeneous group, and then presume they all think and vote alike, are acting paternalistic, bordering on offensive.

The riding of York South-Weston (in that GTA suburban belt), for example, has a large visible-minority immigrant population, with roughly a quarter identifying their origins in a country in Africa or the Caribbean. Are we to assume that every single Black voter in the riding casts their ballot based on the same set of ideals and issues? Brampton East (Ontario) and Surrey-Newton (BC) both have a majority of residents identifying as having a South Asian background. Do Brampton East and Surrey-Newton have identical electoral politics, devoid of regional distinctions, and mirror each other because of population makeup? Hardly.

This isn’t just a question of being polite or politically correct. To give credence to the idea that there is a discernible ethnic vote, “ethnics” would need to demonstrably vote the same partisan way—both within their communities and across different communities—to an extent that overrides age, gender, education, and other demographic factors that we know shape voting patterns. The pundits who look at regional voting patterns and infer they can be explained because the majority of voters in the area are recently arrived from South Asia or the Caribbean or anywhere else are simply projecting a convenient simplification onto a far more complex situation.

There are, however, some data to indicate that if the members of a certain group feel that they are being negatively targeted, they will vote accordingly. In the 2015 federal election, wearing the niqab during a citizenship ceremony became a hot-button issue, as the Conservatives proposed banning the practice. The Environics Institute conducted a survey of Canadian Muslims at the time; a majority said they had voted for the Liberal Party and that they felt women should be allowed to wear the niqab during citizenship ceremonies. But there is nothing to indicate that this turn to the Liberals was due to some sort of innate political predisposition in this community. What the evidence indicates is that the Conservatives reduced these people to a bloc, and they responded accordingly.

While the electoral math may mean the path to a majority government runs through ethnically diverse suburban ridings, the issues on which the citizens in those ridings vote do not inherently diverge from general population trends. Ethnics do indeed vote, but there is no ethnic vote.

Source:  The ‘Ethnic Vote’ Is a Myth

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.

Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party posts mixed-bag results after its first byelection test

Of all the results of Monday’s by-elections, I found this to be the most interesting, given the role that Chinese Canadians appear to have played in the strong PPC result of 11 percent (39 percent of Burnaby South are Chinese origin).

If this pattern of relatively stronger support among Chinese Canadians prevails in the general election, there are six ridings with 40 percent or more Chinese origin (visible minority group) and 12 more with between 20-40 percent, all in BC’s lower mainland or the suburbs surrounding Toronto (the 905):

The fledgling People’s Party of Canada got off to an uneven start in its first electoral test Monday in a trio of federal byelections.

The party, founded last fall by former Conservative leadership contender Maxime Bernier, captured some 11 per cent of the vote in the Vancouver-area riding of Burnaby South but failed to make much of a splash among voters in the rural Ontario riding of York—Simcoe or the urban Montreal-area riding of Outremont where the party had less than 2 per cent of the final tally.

Bernier tweeted early Tuesday that the poor Ontario and Quebec numbers were “disappointing” and said he “expected more” from those ridings while praising the more favourable Burnaby result as “great.”

“Our party was born only 5 months ago!” Bernier wrote. “This is only the beginning of our journey. We are in it for the long haul … Let’s work even harder now to find the best candidates and be ready for the general election.”

Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson, a former Christian talk show host who had some name recognition before launching her candidacy, was tapped by Bernier to represent the People’s Party in Burnaby South. She delivered the best result of the night for the new political outfit.

While she was a source of controversy because of some past remarks, Thompson peeled away enough votes from the more established parties to place fourth overall.

Thompson, whose slogan was of “Canada for Canadians,” ran a decidedly populist campaign for Parliament. Thompson has said her base was heavily comprised of evangelical Chinese-Canadian churchgoers in the diverse B.C. riding.

The comparatively strong showing by Thompson — in a riding ultimately won by NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh — appeared to cut in to the Conservative party’s results in that riding.

Conservative Burnaby candidate, Jay Shin, captured about 23 per cent of the vote — five points less than what the previous Conservative candidate there managed to achieve in the 2015 federal election. Shin placed third behind Singh and Liberal candidate Richard T. Lee.

In central Canada, meanwhile, the People’s Party proved to be a marginal political force.

For example, in York—Simcoe, Ont., People’s Party candidate Robert Geurts, a criminal defence lawyer, placed a distant sixth out of nine candidates.

Geurts, best known for his past role as a prosecutor during the Paul Bernardo trial, was even outpaced by Dorian Baxter a candidate for the minor centre-right PC Party, an entity with a name similar to the now-defunct Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.

Scot Davidson ultimately held the rural seat for the Conservative party with a 20-point margin over Liberal Shaun Tanaka.

Fewer than 20 per cent of registered voters in York—Simcoe bothered to vote in Monday’s contest.

Even before the results were finalized, Bernier tweeted Monday that volunteers should be proud of what they accomplished so soon after the party was founded.

“The hundreds of volunteers who helped our candidates in Burnaby South, York–Simcoe and Outremont can be proud of what they achieved. They blazed a trail that thousands of others will follow across the country in October,” he said.

In Outremont, People’s Party candidate James Seale, a Canadian Army veteran, also failed to post a result better than 2 per cent of the vote.

Seale was a member of the armed forces for more than 30 years, and served overseas stints in Israel, Germany, Haiti and Bosnia before later becoming a military instructor and civil servant.

He said he was attracted to the party because of Bernier’s promise to increase investment in Canada’s defence.

While Bernier’s party disappointed in the Quebec riding, Green party candidate Daniel Green placed third — among the party’s best ever showing in la belle province.

Green, the deputy leader of the Green Party of Canada, posted better numbers than Bloc Québécois candidate Michel Duchesne and Conservative candidate Jasmine Louras who placed fourth and fifth respectively in the riding that was last held by former NDP leader Tom Mulcair.

“The GPC has always been underestimated. But just watch us in October,” Green tweeted Monday in reference to the forthcoming federal election.

While Mulcair won the riding by more than 11 points in the 2015 federal election, Liberal Rachel Bendayan easily captured the seat Monday outpacing NDP candidate Julia Sánchez by more than 15 points.

Source: Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party posts mixed-bag results after its first byelection test

How Canadian populism is playing out in the Burnaby South byelection

Good coverage on the emerging role and tactics of the PPC along with Ekos pollster Frank Graves’ analysis of greater polarization among Canadians.

Ethic media is also picking up on the apparent attraction of some Chinese Canadians to the PPC (see the latest Diversity Votes — February By-elections: Matching Census Data with Ethnic Media Coverage (17-23 February 2019, last pre-election report):

Twenty minutes before the first Burnaby South byelection debate, a sudden influx of People’s Party of Canada supporters with shiny signs and newly minted pins filled all the remaining chairs in the room.

And they were ready to be heard, not just seen.

The following two debates — attended by roughly 100 people, on average — were dominated by this group’s grievances. They were louder and rowdier and far outnumbered the supporters of any other national party in the House of Commons.

The third debate descended into chaos when the topic of immigration arose, leading to finger-pointing and shrieking in the audience.

“Canadians first,” yelled several in the crowd, donning PPC pins. Roars from the crowd drowned out the candidates as others shouted “racist” and “fascist” in response.

This is one face of an increasingly visible populist movement in Canada. And experts say it’s not going anywhere any time soon. More and more, there is less common ground in what we consider to be Canadian values, and experts say the nation’s shift toward populism heralds a new chapter in Canada’s life. Political discourse is only expected to become more entrenched and vitriolic ahead of October’s general election.

Frank Graves is the president of Ottawa-based EKOS Research Associates. He’s been tracking what he calls “ordered populism” or what economists refer to as drawbridge-up thinking.

While populism can operate either on the left, right or even centre of the political spectrum, Graves said that is not what is emerging in Canada. Instead, it’s ordered populism which is bubbling up in the values of the right and far-right.

Its members are largely religious, have reservations about diversity, are deeply pessimistic about their economic future, are disdainful of media and government and are convinced that climate change matters far less than their own survival.

“What unifies populism is a dispute between the so-called pure people and the corrupt elite. And that is definitely what Trump, Brexit, Ford and the PPC is going after,” he told Star Vancouver.

Maxime Bernier, the leader of the PPC, is speaking a “far more authentic” version of what those in the ordered populist camp want to hear, Graves added.

“One of the big question marks for me (is) will that actually convert into impact in the next election?”

After a messy split with the Conservative Party last year following his loss in the leadership race, Bernier — an MP from Beauce, Que. and a former cabinet minister in the Stephen Harper era — announced the launch of the People’s Party of Canada, made official with Elections Canada this January. He’s since been touring the country.

Burnaby South’s Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson — a former Christian radio host, anti-abortion activist and vocal opponent to British Columbia’s student education plan on sexual orientation and gender fluidity — was one of his first picks to run as a candidate. Her support could be an early indicator of the PPC’s chances in the upcoming general election.

Tyler Thompson will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh — vying for his first seat in the House of Commons — Liberal Richard Lee, Conservative Jay Shin and independents Valentine Wu and Terry Grimwood on Monday in Burnaby South.

Byelections will also be held that day in York—Simcoe, Ont., a seat previously held by former Conservative cabinet minister Peter Van Loan, and in Outremont, Que. The latter riding was home to former NDP leader Thomas Mulcair.

Each time Tyler Thompson said “Canadians first,” — which occurred multiple times at every debate — the crowd would swell into visceral cheers. Thompson directly appealed to prevalent anxieties in the riding about public safety as she repeatedly brought up the case of Marissa Shen, a 13-year-old Burnaby South girl who was murdered in the region. A Syrian refugee, who was employed in Canada and had family here, is the accused. Allegations are still being tested in court.

Despite common assumptions that the populist movement camp is dominated by disaffected white males, Thompson’s supporters in Burnaby South are composed of a majority of Chinese-Canadians. She told the Star that’s because of her strong roots in some of the community’s churches.

In an interview with the Star on Thursday, Bernier said his party is indeed populist — but a “smart populist party.”

“Usually when you are a populist politician, you appeal to the emotion of people. I’m not playing with their emotion. I’m playing with their intelligence,” he explained, claiming the PPC is the only party with solid policy platforms. “We are the People’s Party working for the people … and I am proud of that.”

People are finding less and less common ground when it comes to Canadian values — and that is certainly going to matter in the upcoming election, Graves said.

While politics are often fickle and ever-changing, values change at a glacially slow pace. For instance, at the turn of the century Canadians were more “open” when it came to ideological orientation — which Graves said is a terrific predictor of values — 50 per cent of Canadians agreed that they were neither to the right or the left.

But now, Graves said that number has dwindled down to 10 per cent.

“Everybody has picked a side,” Graves said. “You live in two incommensurable Canadas, just as there’s two incommensurable Americas. And U.K. And Ontario. And that’s a daunting challenge.”

Values exist in the cultural realm and provide “moral goalposts” on what people prefer society to look like. Unlike discussions of policy issues, debates on values are emotionally engaging which is why Graves estimates the “narrative” of the right is beginning to dominate.

And on the left, the opposite end of the ideological spectrum, there has yet to emerge a populist movement with an equally emotive narrative. While the right begins to have its own conversations about values, Graves said the “open values” of the centre and left remain consistent between Liberals, NDP, and Greens.

Members of this “open society” outlook favour diversity, immigration, trade and globalization, are optimistic about the future, guided by evidence-based policy and believe that climate change is of high priority.

And the gaps between the two groups could not be larger, Graves said.

Source: How Canadian populism is playing out in the Burnaby South byelection