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.

Just Posted

Oceanside RCMP auxiliary officer earns top honour for volunteer work

Dally presented special award by Island Commander

Island residents team up on beach cleanups, call for government regulation

‘It’s way beyond what we can deal with’: Lasqueti, Texada, Denman islanders

‘A really kind person’: Parksville’s Nick Major remembered by instructor

Outpouring of support in the days following death of young man

Banners could add pop of colour to Parksville business district

District includes businesses between the Orange Bridge and McVickers Street

Last call for the ever-vanishing payphone in Parksville Qualicum Beach

Where many phones once resided, only memories remain

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Nanaimo tubber sets all-time record at bathtub race

Justin Lofstrom completes course in fastest-ever time

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Most Read