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Harper’s ‘ethnic media’ strategy for 2015

Toronto Star columnist Tim Harper writes about the Harper strategy of “micro targeting so-called ethnic voters” in the lead up to the October 2015 federal election.

“Harper himself explained why it was important for him to engage with the so-called ethnic media, which he called some of the larger media in the country with some of the most loyal readers and viewers. ‘You are vital to us getting our message to Canadians and helping keep the Canadians you speak to informed about the national life of our country’, he said.”

“Harper didn’t invent this direct appeal to ethnic voters, but he has refined it and the reason is obvious. There are 30 new seats up for grabs in the 2015 election, six of them in British Columbia, 15 in Ontario, most carved out of the teeming suburbs around Vancouver and Toronto, all home to heavy concentrations of ethnic voters, all of them already held by Conservatives who are determined to keep this edge against any incursion from Tom Mulcair’s New Democrats or Justin Trudeau’s Liberals. These voters get their news from (the so-called ethnic media). …Harper will get the coverage he covets in media that serves areas with a high concentration of votes he also covets. That’s good politics and most Canadians couldn’t care less if other journalists are shut out.”

“This is not to denigrate the journalists present, because we all have agendas based on our readership and trade deals with India and Korea are top of mind if your market is recent arrivals from those countries.”

But the columnist warns, “Both Liberals and Progressive Conservatives once played a variation of this game, giving priority to local reporters on trips outside Ottawa, in the belief they would toss softer questions to their leader. That blew up when the local reporters decided they didn’t want to play that role and asked tougher questions than the Ottawa gang. If Harper really thinks the ethnic media are there to help him deliver an unfiltered message, one of them is going to rise up and bite him before anyone poses for any pictures.”

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