Candidates of Colour Dominate New Immigrant-Heavy Ridings - New Canadian Media

Candidates of Colour Dominate New Immigrant-Heavy Ridings

An early analysis of yesterday’s election results by NCM shows 19 of the 23 ridings heavily populated by new Canadians chose a candidate of colour.

Voters in ridings heavily populated by new immigrants and visible minorities overwhelmingly chose candidates of colour to represent them in the next Canadian Parliament.

An early analysis of yesterday’s election results by NCM showed 19 of the 23 ridings where one visible minority group is dominant either returned or elected MPs whose cultural heritage and origins reflected that of the majority of voters in their area.

In Ontario’s Brampton area, which has the largest South Asian population in the country, all four federal ridings went to the Liberal Party of Canada, which is projected to form a minority government.

Brampton Centre went to Liberal incumbent Shafqat Ali, who won 46 per cent of the vote in the tightest race in the city, beating Conservative candidate Jagdeep Singh.

Liberal MP Maninder Sidhu held onto his Brampton East seat, Liberal MP Ruby Sahota has been re-elected for the third time in Brampton North, while Brampton West was retained by Liberal Kamal Khera.

In B.C.’s Surrey-Newton riding, home to about 60,000 people where more than 60 per cent are South Asian New Canadians, all five candidates for the seat have South Asian heritage.

Liberal incumbent Sukh Dhaliwal beat Conservative Syed Mohsin, New Democrat Avneet Johal, Pamela Singh of the People’s Party of Canada and Independent Parveer Hundal.

Except for Dhaliwal, all the others were first-time candidates for this riding of just 30 square kilometres but among the most diverse in the country.

Markham-Unionville in Ontario and Richmond Centre in B.C are listed by Statistics Canada as having the biggest Chinese-Canadian voting blocs.

Liberal Paul Chiang, a former York Regional Police Sergeant, born in Karachi, Pakistan of Chinese parentage, took Markham-Unionville. His ability to speak Mandarin, Cantonese, Hubei, Hakka, Urdu, Hindi, and Punjabi allowed him to help forge strong connections with Markham-Unionville’s diverse communities.

The Richmond Centre riding, which has the second highest population of Chinese-Canadians, has recorded some of the lowest voter turnout in British Columbia over the past decade.

Liberal Wilson Miao, who immigrated from Hong Kong as a child, beat Conservative candidate Alice Wong, who was running for re-election.

In Alberta’s Calgary Skyview, another area with a heavy new immigrant population, Liberal candidate George Chahal defeated Conservative Jag Sahota.

More than 40 of 338 federal ridings in Parliament have populations where visible minorities are the largest voting bloc.

Low Voter Turnout

Elections Canada and Statistics Canada records show that compared with established immigrants (those who have lived in the country for 10 years or more) and non-immigrants, new Canadians (those who’ve immigrated to Canada in the previous 10 years) were less likely to vote in general elections. 

Many reasons have been put forward to explain this, including the lack of democratic traditions in some regions of the world, the lack of trust in institutions, or differences in political culture. Immigrants from Eastern Europe and East Asia had the lowest voter turnout rates.

In a pre-election interview, Andrew Griffith, a fellow of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute and the Environics Institute, said polling data suggests that new Canadians of South Asian heritage have a general tendency to vote for the Liberals or the NDP, while the Conservatives have fairly strong support from Chinese-Canadians.

He said candidates who can address issues pertaining to the homelands of new Canadians will resonate better with ethnic communities.

“Political parties have always taken demographic realities into account when selecting candidates,” he said.

Based on early results, here is how the top 23 ridings where a visible minority group and new Canadians are dominant, voted:

Riding Largest community MP
Largest community forms majority of population
Brampton East South Asian Maninder Sidhu
Markham Unionville Chinese Paul Chiang
Richmond Centre Chinese Wilson Miao
Surrey-Newton South Asian Sukh Dhaliwal
Largest community forms 40-50 percent of population
Scarborough North Chinese Shaun Chen
Markham-Thornhill Chinese Mary Ng
Scarborough-Agincourt Chinese Jean Yip
Steveston-Richmond East Chinese Parm Bains
Brampton West South Asian Kamal Khera
Mississauga-Malton South Asian Iqwinder Gaheer
Brampton North South Asian Ruby Sahota
Brampton South South Asian Sonia Sidhu
Largest community forms 30-40 percent of population
Vancouver South Chinese Harjit Sajjan
Scarborough-Rouge Park South Asian Gary Anandasangaree
Scarborough-Guildwood South Asian John Mckay
Don Valley North Chinese Han Dong
Vancouver Kingsway Chinese Don Davies
Calgary Skyview South Asian George Chahal
Fleetwood-Port Kells South Asian Ken Hardie
Burnaby South Chinese Jagmeet Singh
Surrey Centre South Asian Randeep Sarai
Richmond Hill Chinese Majid Jowhari
Winnipeg North Filipino Kevin Lamoureux

About the author

Fabian Dawson is a multiple-award winning journalist, an internationally acclaimed author, filmmaker and media expert. Born and raised in Malaysia, Dawson is of Indian origin. He migrated to Vancouver in 1988.  As a journalist, Dawson’s work has taken him all over Asia, Europe, North and Central America.  He has been cited for excellence in journalism multiple times since 2002 by the Jack Webster Foundation while many of the stories he has directed have won national and international journalism awards.Dawson was named the 2019 recipient of the Bruce Hutchison Lifetime Achievement Award at Jack Webster Awards.

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