Douglas Todd: How the election is playing out in local Chinese-language media

More in-depth look at Chinese-language media election and related coverage:

The conflict between Hong Kong and China. The pros and cons of immigration and refugees. Beliefs on abortion and same-sex issues. The tension between paying taxes and benefiting from social services.

Specialists who monitor Canada’s roughly 290 Chinese-language newspapers, websites, radio stations and TV channels say the political coverage not only echoes the mainstream media, it also reveals the distinct concerns of people with origins in East Asia.

Immigration and refugee issues garner more attention in the Chinese-language media than they do among the general Canadian public, say professional observers.

And even though Chinese-Canadians with roots in Hong Kong, Taiwan and China show a complex range of political opinions, Andrew Griffith, a former senior director in Ottawa’s immigration department, has concluded: “There is more of a conservative trend among Chinese-Canadians than, for example, South Asians.”

Like other Canadians, the 1.3 million people of Chinese origin switch party allegiances according to broader political patterns, said Griffith, who works with Diversityvotes.ca, a website highlighting political coverage in the country’s ethnic media. But their votes could make a crucial difference in dozens of urban swing ridings with large immigrant and visible-minority populations.

Roughly three out of four Chinese-Canadians live in either Greater Toronto, where they make up 11 per cent of voters, or Metro Vancouver, where they account for 20 per cent of voters. In the Vancouver suburb of Richmond, which has two federal ridings, 54 per cent of the population is ethnic Chinese.

Andres Malchaski, president of MIREMS International, which monitors the ethnic-language media and helped create Diversityvotes.ca, says that, while a large portion of Canadians tell pollsters the environment is their top election issue, that issue is far outweighed in the Chinese-language media by debates over immigration and refugees.

Chinese-Canadian media outlets, including their discussion forums, contain frequent criticism of Liberal leader Justin Trudeau for bringing in more than 60,000 Syrian refugees since 2015, said Machalski, who has analyzed Canada’s ethnic media for three decades.

Media outlets that target Canadians from China are often wary of refugees from Muslim countries, Machalski said, an attitude that reflects the way China’s authoritarian leaders have restricted the religious freedom of millions of Uighur Muslims.

“The feelings expressed by some of the calls and comments on phone-in shows and in newspaper columns (in Canada) certainly support the idea there will be segments of Chinese voters that might even go so far as to support the People’s Party of Canada,” which is calling for reducing immigration and refugee levels, Machalski said.

Still, Machalski emphasized that the views expressed in the Chinese-language outlets in Canada offer a “kaleidoscope” of perspectives, which often reflect whether their respective audiences are connected to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Hanoi or Beijing.

That is especially so in regards to the recent anti-Beijing protests in the financial centre of Hong Kong.

More than 300,000 people living in Hong Kong hold Canadian passports — and Oct. 21 marks the first Canadian election in which they can cast a ballot, says a Diversityvotes.ca article by Blythe Irwin.

The Chinese media is picking up on everything Canadian politicians are saying about the special administrative region of China. Ethnic-Chinese media commentators, she says, are both approving and sceptical of the way Trudeau says he is “extremely concerned” about Hong Kong, while Conservative leader Andrew Scheer went further by declaring in a tweet: “We are all Hong Kongers.”

Fenella Sung, a former Chinese-language radio show host, said that Chinese-media perspectives about the conflict largely reflect whether the Canadian-based outlets are aimed at audiences rooted in Hong Kong or China.

It’s not surprising that readers of media directed at the large mainland-Chinese population in Canada “would think the Hong Kong issue is China’s internal affair and that it would not be appropriate for Canadian politicians to comment,” said Sung, who is a member of Canadian Friends of Hong Kong.

Long-time immigrants from Hong Kong, Taiwan and other parts of East Asia, Sung said, tend to have political concerns that are in line with Canadians at large, such as jobs, housing and protecting the environment.

“But newer and younger immigrants, mostly from mainland China, are very consistent and focussed on economic growth, expansion of trade, less government bureaucracy, and lower taxation. They don’t like social spending.”

Prior to the B.C. election in 2016, some opinion polls suggested that, even while the province’s more than 500,000 ethnic Chinese voters held diverse views, they generally leaned to the centre-right B.C. Liberals, and had almost no interest in the Greens.

In an article on politics and Canada’s ethnic media published Wednesday in Policy Options magazine, Griffith said Liberal and Conservative party approaches to same-sex marriage and abortion have been widely commented upon, suggesting so-called “family values” are important to many recent immigrants and people of colour.

“While the Liberals and Conservatives get widespread coverage of their electoral promises and commitments, the NDP and Green Party are under-covered,” Griffith added, after reviewing 1,200 recent articles in the ethnic media.

“In contrast, the People’s Party of Canada, given its focus on restricting immigration and its initial exclusion from the leaders’ debate, received more than twice as much substantive coverage as the NDP and Greens combined.”

Chinese-language and other ethnic media outlets in Canada don’t necessarily reinforce cultural silos, Griffith says. But it’s clear they also offer a special window into political discussions of particular concern to certain ethnic groups.

Source: Douglas Todd: How the election is playing out in local Chinese-language media

How does ethnic media campaign coverage differ? My analysis in Policy Options

Drawing on over 1200 ethnic media pieces in the eight weeks prior to the election call as part of diversityvotes.ca, my analysis assesses the major themes and issues covered:

Canadians who rely on ethnic media as their main information source receive coverage of issues comparable to that of mainstream media.

A major focus of this 2019 election for the various campaigns will be courting voters from immigrant and visible minority communities, who are a majority of the population in 41 ridings, and 20 percent or more in an additional 93 ridings.

For full article: How does ethnic media campaign coverage differ?

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

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

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

Ethnic Media Coverage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ethnic Media Coverage

The ongoing focus on Burnaby South continued, in particular given the visit of PM Trudeau to the riding to support Liberal candidate Richard Lee. Overall, coverage remained stable at 26 articles, compared to 25 articles the previous week .

While Punjabi ((30.8 percent) and Chinese (38.5 percent) comprised the majority of ethnic media coverage of the by-elections, this was less than previous weeks. New to ethnic media coverage were two stories covered in Caribbean (English) media.

The Prime Minister’s visit featured was covered by all ethnic media covered during this period and was the focus of virtually all the articles in Chinese media. There was some mention of the ongoing scandal regarding possible interference in the judicial process involving SNC Lavalin and former justice minister Wilson-Raybould. Calls by Conservative leader Andrew Scheer and NDP Jagmeet Singh for the PM to waive solicitor-client privilege were reported in Punjabi and Caribbean media.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diversity Votes — February By-elections: Matching Census Data with Ethnic Media Coverage (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.

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 on birth tourism (2): Spanish, Chinese (4 articles), Korean

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

Federal government wants to better understand ‘birth tourism’ – Spanish

Description: A study shows that in 2016, many more babies were born to non-resident mothers in Canada than what official statistics indicate, which has led the federal government to analyze the phenomenon in order to better understand why women are coming to give birth here and make their babies Canadian citizens. Using data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI ), researcher Andrew Griffith found that in 2016, 3,200 babies were born in Canada whose mothers were not residents of this country. Statistics Canada’s data shows that there were only 313. The CIHI records invoicing and payment information directly from the hospitals and this is how the statistics were obtained. According to the findings, the numbers are not only higher than what was believed, but there is an increasing trend.
WEB – Noticias Montreal (30000 – Daily6) – Montreal, 26/11/2018 – NEWS, 1/2 page web, 1st Top, Spanish

Ottawa is finally paying attention to maternity tourism – Chinese

Description: Ottawa is now studying so-called “birth tourism” in the hope of better understanding how many women travel to Canada to have babies so that the babies can be born as Canadian citizens. New research shows that more babies are born in Canada to foreign residents than Statistics Canada realized. Using numbers from the Canadian Institute for Health Information, which captures billing information directly from hospitals, researcher Andrew Griffith found that over 3,200 babies were born here to women who were not Canadian residents in 2016 — compared with 313 babies recorded by Statistics Canada. The finding suggests not only that the numbers are higher than previously reported but that it is a growing trend, Griffith said.
PRINT – Epoch Times (54000 – Daily5) – Toronto, 26/11/2018 – News, 1/4 page, p. A4, Chinese

The birth rate of anchor babies in Canada is being significantly underestimated – Chinese

Description: RCI Ya Ming – Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen promised to study the issue of birth tourism. Researcher Andrew Griffith used numbers from the Canadian Institute for Health Information, which captures billing information directly from hospitals, and found that more than 3,200 babies were born here to women who aren’t Canadian residents in 2016, compared with only 313 babies recorded by Statistics Canada. Griffithsaid that this finding not only suggests that the numbers are higher than previously reported, but that it’s a growing trend. This trend exists in all Canadian provinces, with the exception of Quebec.
WEB – iask (Daily7) – Markham, 23/11/2018 – NEWS, 1 page web, 1st Top, Chinese

Birth tourism seeking citizenship is hiking up – Korean

Description: A new study shows that the number of births in Canada by nonresidents, known as “birth tourism,” is much higher than previously reported. The level of birth tourism nationally in Canada is at least five times greater than recorded by Statistics Canada while the number of babies in the case has been increased to 3,628 in 2017 from 1,354 in 2010. The majority of birth tourists are from Asia, including China, and prefers B.C. as the destination.
PRINT – Canadian Korean Times Weekly (Weekly) – Toronto, 26/11/2018 – NEWS, 1/4 page, 1st Top, Korean

Two thousand anchor babies are born every year; Metro Vancouver residents want to ban them from getting Canadian citizenship – Chinese

Description: Amy – Birth tourism figures in Canada are around 1,500 to 2,000, five times higher than Statistics Canada had estimated. Richmond resident Kerry Starchuk twice launched petitions to call on Parliament to ban anchor babies from automatically acquiring Canadian citizenship. One of the petitions she launched was supported by Alice Wong. Starchuk emphasized that the purpose of launching the petition was not to target babies born in the country. She is concerned that the large number of anchor babies will become a heavy burden on public spending in future. This August, the federal Conservative Party passed a motion that seeks to amend the law and ban anchor babies from automatically acquiring citizenship.
WEB – Vansky (Daily7) – Vancouver, 22/11/2018 – NEWS, 1 page web, 1st Top, Chinese

2,000 anchor babies are born in Canada every year – Chinese

Description: Sing Tao – A recent report pointed out that about 1,500 to 2,000 anchor babies are born in Canada (every year). Of the 25 hospitals where most such births occur, six are in Ontario, while two are in B.C. Among them, the Richmond Hospital recorded the largest number of anchor babies. The report made three recommendations, including requiring foreign female visitors to disclose the purpose of their visit to Canada, and considering a baby’s citizenship to be obtained through fraud if the mother came for birth tourism.
WEB – CFC NEWS (Daily4) – Ottawa, 22/11/2018 – NEWS, 1 page web, 1st Top, Chinese

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

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

Ethnic Media – a missed topic of the Metropolis Conference 2016 – MIREMS

Metropolis 2016.001Not the only topic under-represented (see my summary chart above) but raises valid points:

Integration and inclusion, also part of the ethnic media’s role, were some of the most discussed issues that day, with Yolande James, former Minister of Immigration and Cultural Communities of the Government of Quebec, summarizing it with a statement that “governments must create an engaging environment where immigrants can reach their full potential”. The common agreement among the presenters though was that governments have not yet done enough to establish the level of support that would allow immigrants feel fully accepted and integrate easily into Canadian society.

In addition, Canadian Refugee and Immigration Lawyer El-Farouk Khaki noted that the second and third generations of racialized immigrants generally tend to be closer to their ethnic groups than the first generation. “The more discrimination people face, the closer they feel to their ethnic groups.”

However, despite a common understanding of increasing immigration trends and the impact of ethnic communities on newcomers’ integration experience, surprisingly no presentations or workshops mentioned the role of the ethnic, multilingual media in new immigrants’ lives.

As part of a team of ethnic media consultants, I see stories on immigration, integration, education and legal issues, labour, health and safety, immigrant challenges and struggles every day, and yet ethnic media seems not to be on the radar of policy makers and service providers as one of the most valuable resources on immigration they can find.

Following the ethnic media would seem to be a significant part of the outreach equation of what Ryerson University Professor April Lindgren calls “A Settlement Service in Disguise” in her pioneer case study on the City of Brampton’s municipal communication strategies and ethnic media (2015, Global Media Journal — Canadian Edition Volume 8, Issue 2, pp. 49-71.)

When asked about it, government officials acknowledge the importance of ethnic media, but admit that it’s not being used to its full potential. There is still separation between mainstream media and ethnic media press conferences, message and language specifics.

But does there have to be? Shouldn’t ethnic media be an integral part of the communication mix, a two way channel for an open dialogue between governments, service providers and immigrant communities?
After all, with growing immigration and yet-to-be-improved integration processes, ethnic media will continue to grow and be a viable component of immigrant life in Canada. So why not make it a powerful tool in creating an engaging society where everyone can reach their full potential?

Metropolis 2016, while having presented lots of valuable information and opinions, left these questions unanswered for me right now.


Source: Ethnic Media – a missed topic of the Metropolis Conference 2016 – MIREMS