New Canadian Media

By: John Delva in Montreal, QC

To improve newsroom diversity, La Presse recruited outside of francophone journalism schools.

An office’s group shot usually exudes pride, but this one caused embarrassment.

In December 2016, Quebec’s La Presse published one of its entire organization. The lack of visible minority faces among the roughly 250 editorial workers contrasted with the paper’s multicultural stance.

“Many of our articles promote inclusion, but when people (on social media) saw the picture, they threw that inconsistency back in our face,” said Sebastien Rodrigue, director of digital and web platform.

This led the paper to organize a four-week internship program, geared towards cultural community reporters.

Awareness surrounding inclusiveness is not a new pursuit at La Presse, according to Eric Trottier, deputy managing editor.

“La Presse’s got good parity between men and women. It’s generally at 50-50, even in executive roles,” said Rodrigue.

But matters involving cultural communities’ representation have been harder to tackle, starting with inclusiveness in coverage.

“We rounded them up (groups of reporters) and showed them in their own work how, ‘You interviewed 10 people and they were all white francophones.’ We told them this is not what society looks like,” said Trottier.

There were also issues with participation from journalism schools. For years, the paper’s internship program, which catered to students of all cultural backgrounds, had brought only a handful of non-Quebecois reporters. Anglophone university students failed the paper’s French test while French universities produced few applicants.

La Presse decided to cast a wider net this time around.

“Journalism isn’t like the medical field. You need to go to medical school to become a doctor. But if you’re curious and self-reliant, we’ll give you a chance,” said senior managing editor Alexandre Pratt.

Jeiel-Onel Mézil, one of the program’s four interns, had just graduated in business administration at HEC Montréal when he got his chance. Though he had never set foot in a newsroom or journalism class, being a reporter had been a dormant goal of his.

“Journalism speaks to my interests. I’ve always known I’d be doing this some day,” he said.

He and Marissa Groguhé, another intern, impressed their bosses on several fronts — so much so that Mézil and Groguhé have been hired by the paper until the end of 2017.

“Their stories make the front page regularly and rank amongst the best work we put out,” said Trottier.

But the month wasn’t without its share of difficulties. Lela Savic recounted learning how to write fast often required staying at the office for 12 hours or more. Mézil, described by executives and fellow interns as a fast writer, feels “learning how to come up with an effective lead is tough.”

For Trottier, these experiences squared with the main goals of the internship, which he considers “an enormous success.”

“We definitely want to do this again. We may have found a way to bring in more minorities in the newsroom, which we weren’t able to do with the traditional way.”

Even if “deep down” his wish was to find “jewels” among the reporters, the program was primarily about training individuals who could eventually work in journalism, whether at La Presse or elsewhere.

The ample learning opportunities that came with this made made the experience memorable for Rita Boghokian. She said that while her being a visible minority was valued by her colleagues, who encouraged her to use non-Quebecois sources for stories, La Presse also treated her as a full-fledged reporter. Consequently, she worked on a range of stories she wanted to tackle.

“Just because we were visible minorities didn’t mean we only covered stories about visible minorities.”

This openness is why Savic looks back longingly at the month, wishing the experience had been longer. She says the internship has helped her grow from a journalism student into an actual journalist.

“I come out of this with a big bag of tricks. I’ve learned about abilities I have and things I need to improve on. I’ve learned that I’ve got great interviewing skills, that I can get people to talk. This’s given me confidence in what I can do as a reporter,” she said.


John Delva is a freelance reporter who has defended his master's thesis in journalism studies at Concordia University. This piece was republished under arrangement with JSource. The original posting can be found here.

Published in Economy
Thursday, 17 September 2015 23:15

Where are the (Ethnic) Women?

by Anita Singh in Toronto

Twenty-five per cent of Canadian MPs in the 41st parliament were women.  While this proportion has doubled since the 1990s, Canada still lags behind other similar countries in terms of female representation including the United Kingdom, Sweden, Iceland, and Spain.

Even more significantly, the number of visible minority female MPs in parliament is four per cent, compared to a visible minority proportion of 10 per cent in the general population.

There are a number of explanations for why women, particularly ethnic women, have such limited representation.  Research suggests some reasons are personal.  Women have family responsibilities or are generally disinterested in politics.

Similarly, women may be disinterested in running for office because of the nastiness of politics and campaigning. Researchers have found through survey data that women “are less likely than men to be interested in politics and are less knowledgeable about the formal political arena.”  

Others look at the electoral process. 

Rigid party platforms

Women may identify with the federal parties less than men because of rigid party platforms and are therefore dissuaded from joining the political parties that could get them elected.  In addition, it is suggested that women are less ‘electable’ than men running in similar ridings.  It rests on the gender perception that sees women as less viable leaders than men. 

Along these lines, parties may have a tendency to use women as ‘sacrificial lambs,’ where parties nominate women in hard-to-win ridings, in order to fit their quotas for female candidates.  Research shows in the 2008 and 2011 federal elections, “women were more likely than men to be nominated in a riding where their party’s support was unstable, shrinking, or non-existent.”

Men, by contrast, were more likely than women to be nominated to run in party strongholds. 

Star candidates

Yet, sometimes when parties nominate women, it could also be a star candidate nominated in a high-profile riding – think Chrystia Freeland in University-Rosedale in Toronto.

Despite this wealth of research, the explanations have very little to say about visible minority female candidates.  Are they also ‘sacrificial lambs’ or is there another story to tell?

 

Men, by contrast, were more likely than women to be nominated to run in party strongholds.

Party nominations 

In this election, the three major political parties are on par with expectations for female representation.  The Liberals and NDP have met commitments to having women represent one-third to one-half of all candidates.

Table 1: Female Candidates in Each Political Party

 

Conservatives

Liberals

NDP

Total Candidates

 

255

336

329

Female Candidates

 

64

106

140

Percentage of female Candidates

25%

32%

43%

Note: Data collected from official party candidate websites

Yet, the number of visible minority female candidates as a proportion of total candidates tells a very different story.  Both the Liberals and NDP have over 20 candidates that are both female and visible minorities.  These numbers show that the Conservatives have the smallest proportion of female visible minority candidates.

Table 2: Visible Minority Female Candidates in Each Political Party

 

Conservatives

Liberals

NDP

Total Candidates

 

255

336

329

Visible Minority Female Candidates

 

10

22

23

Visible minority female Candidates as a percentage of total candidates

4%

6.5%

7%

 Note: Data collected from official party candidate websites

The NDP are shown to be the most representative party with the highest inclusion of visible minority female candidates. Yet, visible minority female candidates as a proportion of all female candidates tells a different story. 

Table 3: Visible Minority Female Candidates in Each Political Party

 

Conservatives

Liberals

NDP

Female Candidates

 

64

106

140

Visible Minority Female Candidates

 

10

22

23

Percentage of female Candidates

 

16%

21%

16%

 Note: Data collected from official party candidate websites

Why Do These Numbers Matter and why are Visible Minority Female Candidates Selected? 

Visible minority female candidates are significantly under-represented amongst all candidates running in this election.  Even as a proportion of female candidates, only the Liberals come close to matching the proportions in the general public. 

Party-wise tally

There is no conclusive evidence that the Conservatives can be accused of putting its ethnic women candidates in a “sacrificial lamb” position. Of the 10 minority female candidates running for the Conservatives, four are incumbents running for their former seats, including Nina Grewal, Alice Wong, Wai Young and Leona Aglukkaq – all of which are considered very winnable seats.

Even as a proportion of female candidates, only the Liberals come close to matching the proportions in the general public.

Four of the 10 minority women candidates are running in brand new ridings, where there is no traditionally elected party in the region.  For the Conservatives, in only one case, Scarborough-Agincourt’s Bin Chang is running in long-time Liberal riding (current incumbent is Arnold Chan).

In contrast, Liberal party ethnic female candidates are facing a much harder battle.   While seven of these candidates are running in new ridings, 13 are running in ridings traditionally held by the NDP or Conservatives, suggesting their chances of success are less than others.  Only two minority candidates are running in traditionally Liberal ridings, with high winnability. 

The NDP exhibits a mix of the Liberal and Conservative strategies. 

Further, all three parties have also exhibited signs of a balancing strategy, where visible minority women are running against other women.  In the new riding of Dorval—Lachine—LaSalle (Quebec), the candidates include Anju Dhillon (Liberal), Daniella Chivu (Conservative) and Isabelle Morin (NDP).  This is only one example of many showing this balancing strategy.

While these conclusions do not prove or disprove the sacrificial lamb arguments, we surely have a long way to go to ensure the right representation of visible minority women in Parliament.


Anita Singh is a founding partner of Tahlan, Jorden & Singh Consulting Group and a Research Fellow at the Centre for Foreign Policy Studies at Dalhousie University. Her research examines the role of diaspora groups and their influence on foreign policy, particularly the Indo-Canadian community and Canada-India relations.

This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

Published in Commentary

by Shan Qiao (@dmaomao) in Toronto  

Diverse suppliers are winning Toronto Pan Am Games' business, making up 20 per cent of the total supplier base. Barbara Anderson, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games announced this at the Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council (CAMSC) 2015 Diversity Procurement Fair, a marketplace and matchmaking process for corporations and diversity suppliers.

Currently, there are about 226 diverse suppliers used at the Pan Am Games, making up the 20 per cent of all supplier bases. Among them, 34 per cent of the suppliers are visible minority owned businesses, while 7.5 per cent are Aboriginal owned, according to the Pan Am Games organizing committee.

We’re known as ‘the People’s Games,’ and that means striving to engage as many people and communities as possible.” - Barbara Anderson, Pan Am Games

“Aiming high and diversity are both certainly applicable to our athletes,” said Anderson at the fair. “Our participants are coming from 41 countries across the Americas and our organizing committee has effectively utilized the value of diversity across the Ontario business and community landscape to make the games a reality.”

We’re known as ‘the People’s Games,’ and that means striving to engage as many people and communities as possible,” stated Anderson during her keynote speech presentation.

CAMSC builds partnerships among government, major corporations and small businesses, specifically Aboriginal and ethnic-owned ones. It provides information from government and corporations’ procurement departments, builds up a referral network and links major corporations and institutions with Aboriginal and minority businesses.

Opening Doors for Diverse Suppliers

The increased amount of diverse suppliers is something Aaron Madar, Marketing Manager of Forward Signs, a Scarborough-based Chinese company, is excited about.

“Our company has won a contract worth $750,000 to create signs and banners for the upcoming Pan Am Games all over South Ontario. We have won the largest business contract ever among diversity suppliers,” he said.

Asked about the winning tips, Madar credited joining CAMSC and becoming its certified supplier. “Without CAMSC’s channel, I think it would be very difficult for us to get recognized by Pan Am Games,” he continued.

This fair is about supplier diversity from both sides of the table – corporate and supplier. It’s about making that business connection to benefit both sides." - Cassandra Dorrington, Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council

Other than Forward Signs, a number of CAMSC certified suppliers have also been contracted by the Games, including Hispanic-owned UNIKRON multimedia company and Aboriginal Printing.

“I have been a CAMSC supplier member for almost a decade,” explained Steven Bolduc, Managing Director, Aboriginal Printing. “The opportunities that I have been provided with events such as the Diversity Procurement Fair have been tremendous. I will be providing printing services for the upcoming Games and CAMSC helped to make that a possibility.”

Salvadorian immigrant Manuel Rodriquez, the CEO of UNIKRON, a cutting edge video production company located in Toronto’s Liberty Village, has served big clients including LCBO and Scotiabank and is also the President of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. 

“Video production is a competitive environment at the best of times and CAMSC has really helped us make connections with leading North American corporations we have not considered,” said Rodriquez. “For the Pan Am Games, we will be providing our services in both Spanish and English. This diversity is a win-win for both sides.”

Benefits for Corporations

Talking about money and numbers, under CAMSC’s facilitation, corporate members have spent more than $1.2 billion with CAMSC certified Aboriginal and minority-owned businesses. Half a billion dollars’ worth of business opportunities are available annually and it starts with at the fair, according to Cassandra Dorrington, the President and CEO of CAMSC.

This fair is about supplier diversity from both sides of the table – corporate and supplier. It’s about making that business connection to benefit both sides. ‘Aim high’ was our theme and we kicked it off today, with expectations for continued growth moving forward,” concluded Dorrington.

Supplier diversity is a strategic business process aimed at providing companies owned by Aboriginal peoples and minorities equal opportunities to become suppliers to major corporations across Canada.

It is an initiative by corporations to ensure they are being inclusive in their supply chain practices to suppliers of diverse backgrounds, while at the same time capitalizing on the opportunity for competitive advantage and community engagement that comes from working more closely with a broader range of Aboriginal and minority suppliers.  

Supplier diversity also offers important opportunities to create wealth and employment in the Aboriginal and minority communities. Big corporations that already have diversity procurement departments such as the Bank of Montreal and General Motors (GM) sent their senior buyers to the fair looking for its suppliers.

This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

Published in Economy

A handful of Canadian philanthropists partnering with the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) are working with minorities in Israel to bring 12 young leaders to Toronto this month to help fight myths typically propagated during Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) on North American campuses .

The Connecting Leaders in Communities (CLIC) project was established to empower students and young adults to create meaningful relationships with Israel and Israelis, especially among non-Jews, and to promote democracy and shared values.

The Canadian Jewish News

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Published in Israel

By TOM GODFREY   Black and Asian lawyers from across Canada are calling on the federal government to appoint more non-White judges to reflect the multicultural communities they serve.   Members of the Canadian Associatio

The Share News

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Published in National

In her own quiet way, Aileen Scott has been volunteering tirelessly in her Markham neighbourhood for the last two decades.

The Share News

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Published in Economy
Saturday, 01 February 2014 03:01

Jains declared minority community

 The Jain community has been included in the list of minorities, an official statement from the minority affairs ministry said Monday. They will be in addition to the five communities already notified as a minority. These are Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Zoroastrians (Parsis). The cabinet last week approved notification of Jains as a minority […]

Indo-Canadian Voice

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Published in India

 While turbans, kippas and hijabs would be banned, small crucifixes or other religious jewelry would continue to be permitted.
OTTAWA – The racist Quebecois politicians are intentionally hurting the sentiments of ethnic minorities with their divisive valueless charter and in the process becoming the laughing stock of the whole nation.
Many organizations including the World Sikh Organization [...]

The Link

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Published in Commentary
Tuesday, 22 January 2013 17:17

Arab-Canadian symposium at Ottawa U

The Arab Canadian Studies Research Group (ACANS) will hold its First

Annual Symposium in Arab Canadian Studies at the University of Ottawa on

February 15 and 16, 2013.

 

The Symposium aims to address “a regretful blind spot” in academic research by reflecting

the rich and diverse contributions of Arab Canadians in various spheres of cultural, intellectual,

social and political production.

 

The event features keynote speakers Dr. Mamdouh Shoukri (President of

York University) and Dr. Mona Nemer (Vice President Research, University of Ottawa),

as well as the distinguished guest speakers the Egyptian Canadian musician George

Sawa, the Lebanese Canadian writer and IMPAC literary prize winner Rawi Hage and

the well-established Lebanese Canadian artist Jaber Lutfi.

 

“Notable academic researchers and specialists from various disciplines and institutions

in North America will present some of their latest research findings at the symposium,"

said May Telmissany, ACANS director and member of the organizing committee. She

added: "Topics include the limits of minority/majority paradigm, the making up of Syrians

in the early 20th century in Canada, as well as the literary and artistic contributions of

Canadians of Arab origins to culture in Canada.”

 

Registration for the First Annual Symposium 2013 is free and panels are open to

academics and the general public. Presentations are in English and few are in French.

The schedule of the symposium can be found here:

http://artsites.uottawa.ca/arab-canadian/en/symposium-2013/

 

In 2011, a group of professors and independent scholars established the ACANS

research group with a strong mandate to articulate and develop the new interdisciplinary

field of Arab Canadian Studies. As part of this effort, ACANS' upcoming symposia (the

second will be held at McGill University and the third at York University) aim to survey

the existing research and to produce new research about Arab Canadians: their

contributions to the political, social, economic and cultural fields, their history, and the

challenges they face in terms of their representation in media, social integration, equal

opportunity access to work, to name just a few. ACANS' mandate, links to members web

pages and other relevant information is available here:

http://artsites.uottawa.ca/arab-canadian/en/

Published in National

Poll Question

Do you agree with the new immigration levels for 2017?

Yes - 30.8%
No - 46.2%
Don't know - 23.1%
The voting for this poll has ended on: %05 %b %2016 - %21:%Dec

Featured Quote

The honest truth is there is still reluctance around immigration policy... When we want to talk about immigration and we say we want to bring more immigrants in because it's good for the economy, we still get pushback.

-- Canada's economic development minister Navdeep Bains at a Public Policy Forum economic summit

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