By MIREMS Sources Director Blythe Irwin
Canada’s ethnic media are closely following the 2021 federal election campaign and highlighting the uncertainty surrounding re-election for Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. At MIREMS – Multilingual International Research and Ethnic Media Services – we are tracking the campaign through the eyes of the ethnic media, where we have come across plenty of coverage indicating an election was not necessary during a pandemic and that a majority government may not be in the works for the Liberals.
Chaos and uncertainty
In an article titled “Liberals – chaos and uncertainty”, Mississauga’s twice monthly Polish newspaper Puls asked whether Justin Trudeau can be trusted again, and whether Canadians can trust politicians that botched the COVID-19 vaccine rollout? Puls commented that when choosing a government for the next term, citizens are condemned to chaos, because there is no guarantee that in other aspects of life this government will not behave as it did in the case of the vaccines.
According to Montreal’s weekly Italian newspaper, Il Cittadino Canadese, notwithstanding Trudeau’s constitutional right to call an election, it all seems contrived, neither essential nor germane; more like a referendum on Trudeau’s handling of the pandemic. The article noted that the prime minister is betting voters will pay him back for the generous subsidies the government provided them, which is a calculated risk, perilous and ill-timed. In the end, he might pull it off though because of lackluster opposition leaders, added Il Cittadino Canadese.
With an article titled “Majority government or bust?”, Milenio Stadium, a Toronto-based weekly Portuguese newspaper, suggests that COVID-19 has been good for Trudeau, even though he screwed up and dropped the ball when it came to the vaccine rollout. However, in an editorial, Milenio Stadium’s Manuel Da Costa noted that as we rush into Canada’s 44th election campaign after two years of a minority government, the God of Canada suggests a need for a new mandate to govern this country. The requested mandate carries the funk of a prime minister consumed with a hunger for power not seen in decades, he added.
Asking if Trudeau will regret calling the election, Vansky, a Chinese website in Vancouver, indicated that since Trudeau started his political career, God has been on his side, but he doesn’t seem to know how to cherish this gift from heaven. Trudeau has become an international laughing stock and was punished by citizens in 2019, when the Liberal government went from a majority to a minority government, noted Vansky.
Is an election necessary right now?
According to East FM 102.7, a Toronto-based Tamil radio program, the decline of the Liberals can be associated with a sole fact that they called an election during the pandemic.
Discussing the election on Oakville, Ontario’s CJMR Punjab Di Goonj (Punjabi), radio host Kuldeep Deepak said the election campaign this cycle is lifeless and dispirited, and neither the people nor the parties seem enthusiastic about it. The campaigns seem shapeless and all the parties seem to be cycling the same four or five issues: childcare programs, long-term care, income support for seniors, green industry, climate change, and "boosting the economy" by creating between 500,000 to a million jobs. And, of course, literally everyone is talking about affordable housing.
On Markham’s A1 Chinese Radio AM 1450 Newsbeat (Mandarin), radio host Liang Yian asked current affairs critic Gabriel Yiu about his views on the election. Yiu said that an election was unnecessary since the Liberal government had no difficulties passing bills during the pandemic. Out of all the leaders, Yiu has the worst impression of Trudeau and thinks that everything Trudeau does looks fake. Yiu has the best impression of O’Toole, because he really demonstrates a leadership vibe.
Jarnail Basota, a radio host on Edmonton’s Punjabi World FM 101.7 Basota show, said that as the delta variant gains ground every day, Trudeau's call for elections seems more and more like a power grab, since an election really did not have to be called right now. The real question is what would Trudeau say to the Canadian people if once again a minority government comes to power after these elections? asked Jarnail Basota.
Another minority government?
On the Punjabi CJMR Parvasi radio program, host Rajinder Saini said it is clear that the Liberals are going to form a minority government, and if they do, this means that Jagmeet Singh will again play a crucial role.
Toronto-based Italian newspaper Corriere Canadese published an article titled “Elections, clouds on the horizon for Trudeau” which said that once again, we may find ourselves in a situation similar to two years ago: a minority government, without the necessary absolute majority in the House of Commons, which translates into a high level of instability and risk of another early election in a short period of time. In another article on Corriere Canadese, Francesco Veronesi wrote that the idea that Trudeau and his entourage miscalculated in deciding to send the country to the polls two years after the last election is definitely getting stronger.
According to radio host Harjinder Thind on Vancouver’s Red FM 93.1 Punjabi Morning show, it is quite unlikely Singh will become prime minister, but both the NDP and the Bloc have a chance at ruining the Liberals' desire for a majority.
Accent, a twice monthly Romanian newspaper in Montreal, reported that experts expect a smaller number of participants in these federal elections, especially in areas with high COVID-19 transmission rates and less stringent public health measures. Whether this will have an impact on the Liberals’ chances of winning is hard to predict, so we can say that the current situation represents both a potential opportunity and a risk for the Liberals, noted Accent.
Some positive feedback for Trudeau
In a positive endorsement of Trudeau, an article on Vancouver-based Chinese website Van People said that popular celebrities would utilize their advantage to gather women, but Trudeau has chosen to gather the hearts of the people and he really knows how to market himself. The article favourably compares Trudeau to Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, saying O’Toole is a fanboy of Pompeo and tries to imitate the US. Van People noted that Trudeau's acts of packaging himself into a “high-quality Canadian man” over the past two years were to prepare for this early election.
Speaking on Markham’s A1 Chinese Radio AM 1450 Pulse of the City (Mandarin), radio host Nan Bing believes that Trudeau will likely be re-elected unless something happens between now and September 20. Radio hosts Nan Bing and Han Xiao are curious as to whether the current economic recovery is due to the Liberals' policies or if it’s a natural progression because the pandemic has eased.
As the 2021 election campaign progresses, MIREMS will continue to pay close attention to the multilingual political opinions trending in the ethnic media. Stay tuned for further updates as MIREMS makes language barriers transparent in order to offer unprecedented access into this diverse coverage on the elections.