Diversityvotes.ca. takes comprehensive statistics about Canada’s minority communities and presents it alongside stories by ethnic media outlets. (Photo from Facebook)

New tool launched to shine light on ethnic media coverage of election issues

Online tool expected to shine a light on campaigns interacting with different ethnic communities

A new tool launched Tuesday could help voters learn what political issues are resonating in ethnic media and how that could impact voting in the fall federal election.

Andrew Griffith, a former director general with the Immigration Department, has partnered with Mirems, a firm that monitors and translates stories from over 800 ethnic media outlets, to create Diversityvotes.ca.

READ MORE: Social media giants in hot seat as politicians consider regulations in Ottawa

The website takes comprehensive statistics about Canada’s minority communities and presents it alongside stories by ethnic media outlets.

Griffith said the data will provide context about who is consuming multilingual news stories in any riding and quantify how their opinions could influence individual races.

“One of the key objectives is really to break the communities out of their silos and break the politicians out of their silo approach by basically level the playing field,” Griffith said.

“(This will) provide greater transparency about what is happening within one community versus a different community, what is the diversity within the community, and those kinds of issues to help empower the process and ensure there is greater participation and greater awareness.”

The online tool is also expected to shine a light on how campaigns are interacting with different ethnic communities. It could, for example, provide greater transparency over politicians or parties that target their messages differently to individual minority groups in the hopes of winning votes in the October election.

This kind of targeting became an issue in the lead-up to the byelection in Burnaby South earlier this year after the Liberal candidate in the riding, Karen Wang, posted on Chinese social media platform WeChat that she was the “only” Chinese candidate while NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh — her opponent — was “of Indian descent.”

Wang resigned as the candidate and issued an apology denying any racist intent.

Andres Machalski, president of Mirems, said he hopes the new initiative will not only expose possible political gaffes like the one in Burnaby South, but more widely give new and native-born Canadians a better idea of what is being discussed among different ethnic groups.

“It’s an awareness of diversity,” he said.

“What has happened to diversity in Canada and the world is that it’s shifted from being motherhood and apple pie to being something that is polarized. It’s being weaponized and used to discriminate and at the same time it is the heart of our country — this is a country made up of immigrants.”

There are 41 ridings where visible minorities form the majority of the voting population and another 93 ridings where minorities make up between 20 and 50 per cent of eligible voters, Griffith said. Issues that matter to them and the way they react to policy announcements in the campaign will make a difference in those ridings or in areas with close races, he said.

“You’re not going to win a majority government unless you have strong support in immigrant-rich or visible-minority-rich ridings. It’s just physically impossible.”

The tool is free to use, but Machalski said users can donate on the website to the public service project.

Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

federal election 2019

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Central zone has 20 active cases of COVID-19

Province identified 143 new cases across Alberta on Wednesday

Black and Indigenous Alliance at Wetaskiwin City Hall

The Alliance gathered Saturday for a peaceful protest on City Hall grounds.

COVID-19: Active cases in central zone up Tuesday

Central zone active cases remains lowest of all zones

Central zone active cases down to 20

Province provides update

Ladies Golf Scramble raises $3,355 for local charity

All proceeds raised will be donated to the Education Plus Fund for the WRPS district.

Liberals vow wage-subsidy extension to 2021, revamp of EI system in throne speech

Canadian labour market was hammered by pandemic, when lockdowns in the spring led to a loss of 3 million jobs

First annual Best of Wetaskiwin Readers’ Choice Awards

Enter to win a $200 gift card for Canadian Tire.

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

Grand jury indicts police officer in Breonna Taylor death

Officer Brett Hankison was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment

Missionary plane dedicated at Ponoka, Lacombe airports

MiracleAir flies humanitarian missions to Nicaragua

RCMP investigating after far-right groups disrupt anti-racism rally in Alberta

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer said she respects the right of peaceful assembly, but denounces racism and violence

Refresh of Liberal government’s agenda comes amid new looming COVID-19 crisis

Lockdowns saw fed spending soar to historic levels in effort to offset pandemic’s blow to Canadians’ livelihoods

Public health officials urge Canadians to limit contacts again as COVID-19 cases rise

Canada has committed $1 billion to buy at least 154 million doses of vaccines from five different companies

Most Read