The "Ethnic Vote"

We look at the politics of courting the so-called ethnic vote as our political leaders learn to walk the very fine line between listening and pandering.



PART TWO

"Ethnic Vote" - Satirical Video/Avvy Go

The three main, federal parties are pulling out all the stops as they court voters in Canada's ethnic and cultural communities. We aired a clip of a Conservative ad aimed at Indo-Canadians, Liberal ads in Punjabi and Portuguese and NDP Leader Jack Layton's greeting for Chinese New Year, which he did with his wife, NDP MP Olivia Chow. The voters in those communities are seen as crucial to any of the parties efforts to improve their standing in the next Parliament. Some of the voters being wooed are pleased the parties are reaching out to them. But the way the parties are making their pitches isn't sitting well with everyone.

We aired a video done by a group of activists taking a satirical swipe at the candidates who are trying to woo the ethnic vote. They are taking aim at politicians who get their photos taken eating various ethnic fare... baklava, guava, okra, spring rolls or samosas, cassava or rice.

Avvy Go came up with the idea for the song Go Ethnic Go -- and the video that goes with it -- as a way of expressing her concerns about being labeled and targeted as an "ethnic" voter. The song and video were released last week by an advocacy group called The Colour of Poverty. Avvy Go is an immigration lawyer who works in a legal clinic and she was in Toronto.

"Ethnic Vote" - Panel

Darrell Bricker is the Global Chief Executive Officer at Ipsos Public Affairs and he says there is a lot at stake in the battle to appeal to Canada's ethnic communities. We aired a clip.

For their thoughts on how the three large national political parties are doing when it comes to seizing that opportunity, we were joined by three people who are party workers. Aditya Jha is an entrepreneur who supports the Conservative Party. He accompanied Conservative Leader Stephen Harper on a trip to India two years ago. Vijay Sappani is a Liberal Party supporter who has worked on a number of political campaigns, connecting politicians with people in the ethnic communities in the Greater Toronto Area. And Gurpreet Kaur Sodhi is an NDP supporter who was an ethnocultural outreach co-ordinator for the Ontario NDP party. They were all in our Toronto studio.

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