By-Elections are heating up and Burnaby-South remains in the centre of it all. Singh's appearance on CBC garnered coverage in local Punjabi sources across the country, opposing housing plans were outlined, and Karen Wang's WeChat controversy keeps the issue of diversity and politics in the conversation.
MIREMS shares this special collection of multilingual and multicultural media coverage:
Punjabi: "Cheap minority politics and drama about Canadian values!"
An editorial from Balraj Deol in Brampton's weekly Khabarnama Punjabi Weekly saysThis editorial is about the cheap minority politics which are widely spreading across Canada and can be seen among almost all federal political parties. Minority politics are not only limited to civic politics but have substantially grown into provincial and federal politics. Wherever minority politics fit to benefit the political parties it is played with full strength, but whenever there is a danger of loss then there is huge hue and cry about Canadian values. PM Trudeau after a long intentional wait had announced the by-elections in three constituencies to be held on February 25. The most widely talked about among these constituencies is Burnaby South where NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is contesting. The results of Jagmeet Singh’s constituency will have a direct effect on the forthcoming October general elections. Experts are of the view that PM Trudeau intentionally delayed the announcement of the by-elections so that there will be no time left for the NDP to change its leadership before the general elections if Jagmeet Singh loses in Burnaby South. But if he wins even then it will be beneficial for the Liberals since under the leadership of Jagmeet Singh many sitting NDP MPs have already indicated they will not seek re-election, and the NDP is also trailing far behind in raising funds. So this will be a beneficial situation for the Liberals. Another dramatic turn was seen when the Liberal candidate from Burnaby, Karen Wang, announced her withdrawal over a social media post and she also tendered an apology to Jagmeet Singh. Some people are considering this development as a boon for Jagmeet Singh but others think that it can be a part of a bigger game design of the Liberals to ensure victory for Jagmeet Singh. Has Karen Wang done something wrong to post on social media about her background and that of Jagmeet Singh? Even PM Trudeau had boasted in the US media that there are more Sikh ministers in his cabinet than in Indian PM Modis’ cabinet. The Liberals played the minority politics card fearlessly and gave preference to more than dozens of Sikh candidates. All the MPs from Brampton’s five constituencies are Sikh. Even Jagmeet Singh played the Sikh card when he won the NDP leadership race. Now the cheap minority politics and cry for Canadian values have only become a drama these days. (18/01/2019)
Chinese: "Reflecting on the Karen Wang incident"
Vancouver's BCBay.com reports:
Karen Wang's WeChat post was obtained by Western media outlets, who labelled her as a racist, so she was forced to withdraw. But she feels victimized and regrets her decision to withdraw. She wanted to run for the Liberal Party again, but was rejected. The writer thinks that first-generation Chinese immigrants don't have social awareness. People in politics without this awareness are unable to make the society and the country better. This commenter thinks that Chinese candidates are after the salary and retirement benefits, among other things that serve in their own interests. Immigrants from Hong Kong and Taiwan are different from mainland Chinese immigrants. Hong Kong and Taiwanese immigrants have at least at sense of democratic awareness. After many years of observing politics and the political participation of Chinese people in Canada, the writer has reservations about first-generation Chinese immigrants who take part in politics. The writer is disappointed in first-generation Chinese immigrants and listed several other reasons why. The author also mentioned an incident involving the Federation of Chinese Canadian Conservatives, which was even reported in Western media outlets. It divided Chinese people into two or even more fractions. (21/01/2019)
South Asian English: "NDP, Liberals pitch for urban votes with competing affordable housing plans"
The Canadian Parvasi in Mississauga reports:
Jagmeet Singh is proposing three measures he says will help build 500,000 new affordable housing units across Canada over the next 10 years. The NDP leader says the federal government should stop applying GST to the cost of building new affordable units. It should also provide a subsidy to renters who spend more than 30 per cent of their income on housing. And Singh says it should double the first-time home buyers’ tax credit to $1,500 from $750. Singh is running in a Feb. 25 byelection in the British Columbia riding of Burnaby South, where he said the top issue is affordable housing. But his housing announcement is aimed more broadly at trying to win back progressive voters from the governing Liberals in urban centres across the country. Toronto Liberal MP Adam Vaughan, the government’s point man on housing, said the Liberal government has spent close to $5.7 billion on housing. Vaughan said the government considered lifting the GST on building costs but Finance officials worried there’d be no way to ensure an affordable housing project didn’t evolve into a more upscale project, with the government effectively subsidizing it. (22/01/2019)
Punjabi: "Asking for votes based on ethnic background in Canada"
Daily Punjabi radio talk show in Toronto reports:
The Burnaby South by-election where NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is running for a seat in the House is hotly contested and was dominating the news because of racist comments by former Liberal candidate Karen Wang. Wang asked for the support of the Chinese community in Burnaby South based on her ethnic background. This kind of politics is not new in Canada. The host said other candidates, even from the Indian community do ask for their community's support to win the elections. So Wang's asking for Chinese support was not a big deal, he said. Host Jagdish Grewal said he knows at least one candidate from Brampton South who is urging the Christian community to vote for him and help send a Christian representative to the government. (21/01/2019)
These stories have been translated and summarized by MIREMS consultants, who read, watch and listen to multicultural and multilingual media every day in order to make language barriers transparent and make diverse voices accessible in Canada’s political and social discourse.