New Canadian Media

by Anita Singh in Toronto

 In 1904, there were only 40 immigrants from India living in Canada, mostly from the Punjab.  Largely based in Vancouver and surrounding areas, these pioneers came to Canada as labourers, in farms, on the railroad and in factories, creating a foundational community for South Asian immigrants in future decades – which has grown to nearly 1.4 million since the turn of the century.  

As described in a brand-new podcast called ‘The Nameless Collective,’ produced by Jugni Style, the journey towards inclusion for these communities was not always an easy or welcome one.  

The podcast describes the climate of early 20th century Canada.  Previously-settled Canadians were concerned that new immigrants, particularly those from China and India, threatened jobs, culture and a way of life.  Anti-immigrant public opinion was supported by the government, which established a “White Canada” policy, institutionalizing a preference for immigration from Europe.  On the flipside, those from China and India were subject to the Chinese head tax, the continuous journey legislation and ghettoization when arriving in Canada, spotlighted in the recent government apology for the Komagata Maru incident of 1914.  

The hosts, Milan Singh, Paneet Singh, and Naveen Girn, are a self-described team of researchers, time-travellers, detectives and hosts, who tell this history in with an entertaining impression. It unfolds the story of a community, where listeners will be introduced to personalized stories depicting the vividly personal struggles of a small, group of immigrants living and working in a land very different from where they came from. 

The timing and content of this podcast is stunning in its unshakable feeling of familiarity.  In our current political climate, racist killings in Trump’s America, a ban on Muslim immigration, a vote for Brexit in the United Kingdom, make the podcast immediately relevant and scarily contemporary. 

For example, in episode two, the podcast follows the story of two women, Harnam Kaur and Kartar Kaur, wives of prominent members of the Khalsa Diwan society in Vancouver.  In Harnam Kaur’s case, she travelled with her family to from the port of Calcutta to San Francisco enroute to Vancouver.  On reaching the United States, Kaur and her family were held in detention for two months and deported to Hong Kong.  In a second effort, Kaur, her husband and 16 others boarded a ship in Hong Kong destined for Vancouver.   

 

Yet on arrival, Harnam, her son, and the other women on the ship were once again held in detention, while the men on the ship were allowed off to their labour jobs. As discussed by the podcast hosts, the Canadian government was concerned that the arrival of Asian women would begin to settle these unwanted immigrant communities, rather than continuing to be temporary labour migrants. It was several long months of waiting and debating within government, before the women were eventually allowed onto shore.

The strength of the podcast is the willingness of the hosts to go above and beyond to present new evidence and documentation. In episode one, the team makes a huge discovery the archives of the Vancouver public library, diving into a century’s worth of microfiched phone directories.  They found that while ‘mainstream’ Canadians were listed by name and number, the phone numbers and addresses associated with immigrant communities were listed as “Hindoo” “Japanese” or “Chinese” instead of their names. As the hosts explain, “why would anyone want to know where these people lived?” By tracing these addresses, the team is able to identify neighborhoods where early communities settled in Vancouver.  The hosts also acknowledge, that despite these discoveries, they will be limited by a limited evidence based and knowledge of this early community.

Further, the podcast will also be of particular interest to those familiar with Vancouver or the lower mainland.  The hosts do an excellent job showing the connections between existing buildings and communities and key events in immigration history – like Chinatown and Japantown during the race riots, or how communities settled in the Indigenous territory of modern-day Kitsilano.

There are very few flaws in this podcast.  The largest challenge is that the hosts have tailored the podcast towards an audience that is familiar with the basic immigration story of the region.  Yet, if they want to connect with all Canadians interested in how our country became a multiethnic, multilinguistic state, the podcast would benefit with more contextual information for new learners of this history. 

There are only three episodes of the podcast, and as episodes are released (one every week), listeners can anticipate the development of a richer and richer portrait of early 20th century immigration.  With a growing audience, hopefully this podcast will not be nameless for much longer. 

The Nameless Collective podcast can be downloaded on iTunes, Google Play for Android and Stitcher.

Anita (@bisu) is a Research Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Security and Development 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. 

Published in History

Review by Anita Singh in Toronto

Almost 40 years ago, my grandparents changed our family’s history by deciding to move to Canada. I recently asked my grandma about her immigration story. 

She wistfully told me of the navy blue suits tailored for her husband and sons, her special saree, and the frock for her then-young daughter to wear on the flight.

With amazing clarity for her 80-plus years, Dadi recounted the first house she bought with my grandfather, how every member of the family worked to make sure the mortgage was paid and how they slowly but surely made Canada their home. 

Weather-Permitting & Other Stories’ by Pratap Reddy is a collection of stories that taps into a similar wistfulness. The 12 short stories in this collection wonderfully narrate some of the universal aspects of the immigrant experience – the nervous excitement, inherent disappointment, and yet, steadfast determination for success.

What makes this collection unique is Reddy’s willingness to talk about the darker side of this experience. His stories do not shy away from broken marriages, children sent back to India to stay with grandparents, the disabling lack of Canadian experience or education to gain employment, and most significantly, the loneliness associated with being far away from ‘home’. 

Unrealized Expectations

In ‘Going West’, the character named ‘The Prince’ is a creative foil to the newly-arrived Kumar, foreshadowing the learning curve of each immigrant when coming to Canada.  “You should approach an employment agency.  They pay about 12 dollars an hour for factory jobs,” he suggests, highlighting the reality of some immigrants as they try to gain any foothold in Canada. 

Kumar wonders, “Did he think I came halfway across the globe to become general labour?  The Prince was aware that I had held a middle level position in HR in India.”

Reddy also does an excellent job narrating the different stages of the immigrant journey, which does not begin or end on arrival in Canada, but lingers every day.

In ‘The Toy Flamingo,’ Venky, despite being settled in Canada for 10 years, discovers that an important part of his personal history still lies in India. As he surrounds himself with people and places in his new homeland, an uninvited memory invades Venky’s outwardly perfect life, “‘Hasve agataday’ I cry out. Something falls to the ground with a crash.  I hear him mutter in a strange language.  I’m certain now that dinner will take even longer to come.” 

Venky’s lifestory is an excellent metaphor for how an immigrant’s relationship with their former homelands continue to affect their lives – even while attempting, desperately even, to become Canadian.  

Kumar wonders, “Did he think I came halfway across the globe to become general labour?  The Prince was aware that I had held a middle level position in HR in India.”

Relying on stereotype

However, as a second-generation Canadian, I do take issue with Reddy’s continuous reliance on the stereotype that portrays settled Indo-Canadians as selfish, distant, uncouth and presumptuously inhospitable, who lose their ‘Indianness’ in their adoption of a new life in Canada.

This anti-Indo-Canadian bias runs tacitly throughout the collection.

In ‘Mango Fool,’ Kavita describes her Indo-Canadian customer as “a big woman, bulging out of her blue jeans and nondescript top” who becomes hostile when questioned about her sale purchases.  In this story, Reddy pits the niceties of Kavita’s Indian sensibilities against the brashness of the Indo-Canadian customer. Settled immigrants in Canada, Shyam and Shilpa in ‘Her White Christmas’ are barely tolerant of Shyam’s Indian mother’s presence in their home, while in ‘Weather Permitting’, the landlord Maya is scheming and unfair to the newly-immigrated Ravi, eventually kicking him out of the house into the cold Canadian winter. 

In ‘Demon Glass’, the hardworking newcomer Lalita is targeted by the overwhelming libido of Indo-Canadian Prem, who preys on the single mother and her daughter.  And in ‘Going West’, Kumar passes considerable judgment on his first entry into the Patel guesthouse, noting “I was at once assailed by the stale aroma of Indian cooking.  I had not experienced such a powerful bouquet in India where a billion mouths fed on Indian cuisine everyday.”

Reddy has told a one-dimensional story about Indo-Canadians, missing an opportunity to include the positives of the immigrant experience that have emerged from 100 years of Indian immigration to Canada.  He ignores how the Indo-Canadian community has succeeded in developing a comfortable co-existence of Indianness and Canadianess, where cultural events, places of worship, cricket pitches, Indian languages and arts schools create a home and community for many immigrants, while becoming an integral part of Canada’s multicultural society.

Despite these misgivings, Weather Permitting and Other Stories is a welcome addition to the growing Canadian literature on immigration. I look forward to Reddy’s forthcoming full-length novel and new collection of short stories as an ongoing contribution to this important literature.

Anita Singh is Toronto-based consultant 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 Books
Wednesday, 02 March 2016 17:04

Indo-Canadian A-Listers Excel in Many Ways

by Anita Singh in Toronto 

Ajit Jain is a three-decade chronicler of the Indo-Canadian community. His role as a journalist and editor for India Abroad’s Toronto edition and more recently, a contributor to TheIndianDiaspora.com has brought Jain in contact with Indo-Canadian trailblazers as he writes about issues relating to the community and the development of Canada-India relations. This unprecedented, long-time access has given Jain an excellent position from which he developed his most recent book, The A-List. 

Why The A-List? 

The A-List is an extension of India Abroad’s The Power List. It profiles 50 individuals from the Indian diaspora in Canada and three non-Indians, who Jain calls “Friends of India.”  In addition, he profiles six organizations that are active in the social development of India or those working to improve Canada-India relations in this important time of political transition. 

The A-List, rather than being a mere short-form biography of 50 important people within the Indo-Canadian community, has some underlying themes that are key to the story of Indian immigration to Canada. 

“These are not just people who have made millions. They are people who contribute to the community through their philanthropy and intelligence.”

“These are not just people who have made millions, they are people who contribute to the community through their philanthropy and intelligence,” Jain says.  

Defying stereotypes 

The book does an excellent job at highlighting the diverse successes of the Indo-Canadian community.

It tacitly shows how Indo-Canadians have defied the stereotypes that have persevered in the West, assuming Indians excel in only a handful of professions as doctors, lawyers, or computer engineers. 

Instead, The A-List profiles a range of individuals, including businesspeople (Prem Watsa of Fairfax Investments), politicians (new cabinet members Bardish Chagger, Harjit Sajjan, Amarjeet Sohi and Navdeep Bains), researchers and academics (Baldev Nayar and Dilip Soman), and entertainers (TV personalities Omar Sachadena and Vikram Vij).  

In each case, Jain has selected individuals that have gone above and beyond the call of duty to become major players in their industries, prolific and engaged beyond their professions to contribute to the larger Canadian community.

Jain says that these individuals were selected because “we wanted to capture successes by Indo-Canadians nationwide and in all disciplines.” 

Histories of immigration 

All the Indo-Canadians profiled in The A-List are either first- or second-generation Indians, having first-hand experience in many of the initial culture shocks and challenges inherent in immigration to the West.

The book highlights how these individuals have used their immigrant experiences to further their personal successes in Canada.

Language barriers, poverty, cultural isolation, and limited early job prospects play an important role in defining early generations of immigrant communities. Like the individuals profiled in The A-List, immigrants have to overcome these barriers through hard work, dedication and an interest in providing their families with the benefit of a new life in Canada.    

The book highlights how these individuals have used their immigrant experiences to further their personal successes in Canada.

Take Steve Rai, who says “the purest form of community policing is found in Indian villages where everyone knows everyone.”

Rai uses this example to create inroads into communities across the greater Vancouver region. With this experience, Rai has risen in ranks in the Vancouver police department and recently named deputy chief constable – the first South Asian to hold this post.  

Maintaining ties to India 

In addition, Jain pointedly includes individuals and organizations that have been central to defining better relations between Canada and India.

He profiles individuals like professor Mathiew Boisvert from the Université du Québec à Montréal who has actively worked to raise interest in Canada on the contemporary culture and religion of people in India. His current work on the Hijira community in Maharashtra examines the social, legal and anthropological elements of this Indian subculture.  

It does invariably miss a larger narrative on the less bright and shiny side of Indian immigration to Canada.

Similarly, Jain also includes six organizations in this esteemed list, focusing on the work of charitable organizations like AIM for SEVA and Child Haven International, which use their notable profiles in Canada to do work to improve the lives of underprivileged children in India. 

In each of the stories highlighted in The A-List, Jain weaves a narrative that intimately connects each profiled individual back to India. 

The next step 

The A-List is an excellent snapshot that celebrates the best and brightest within the Indo-Canadian community. It does invariably miss a larger narrative on the less bright and shiny side of Indian immigration to Canada – an account of the taxi and truck drivers, cleaners and manual labourers who continue to struggle to create a better life for themselves and their families.

As successful as the community has become on many fronts, there is an equally notable silent majority in the Indo-Canadian community that continues to face poverty, domestic violence and racism while looking for their opportunity to grow and prosper in Canada. 

To his credit, this has not gone unnoticed by Jain. His upcoming book, Violence against Women – All Pervading, co-sponsored by the Elspeth Heyworth Centre for Women in Toronto, is a journalistic view of the pervasiveness of violent crimes against women, recognizing this prevalence in the Indo-Canadian community. 


Anita Singh is 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 Books
Saturday, 28 November 2015 16:24

Why Indo-Canadians Succeed in Politics

by Anita Singh in Toronto

With a tour in Bosnia, three tours in Afghanistan and a 15-year career in the Gang and Drug Unit of the Vancouver police, the new Minister of Defence, Harjit Sajjan, has been lauded as an exceptional choice for the post due to his significant experience. 

Despite these qualifications, Sajjan was the target of an inappropriate comment made by a high-ranking member of the Canadian forces on Facebook. The comment pertained to Sajjan’s racial background, and while the post itself was not made public and the department’s response was swift, it did raise the question of how members of the Canadian cabinet were perceived—particularly those that come from ethnic or immigrant backgrounds.

Considering this, what explains why Indo-Canadians have had such success in elections and in receiving Cabinet positions?  

In a “cabinet that looks like Canada", seven of 28 Ministers in Prime Minister Trudeau’s new Cabinet are members of a minority group; four of those seven come from Indo-Canadian backgrounds. This proportion isn’t surprising, given that more than half of all immigrant MPs elected into the Liberal caucus come from Indian backgrounds. 

Why Indo-Canadians?

There are a few reasons why this may be the case. 

Indo-Canadian immigrants have been long familiarized with the political system that exists in Canada. Since India’s independence in 1947, Indians have operated within a bicameral British parliamentary system. In fact, India’s political system has complexities that make Canada’s elections seem like a walk in the park.  

India has 1761 registered political parties, six of which have official status at the national level and 23 of which are represented in the current government. Its elections are massive affairs, demonstrated by the fact that 8251 candidates ran for a mere 545 seats in India’s last election.

In addition to this complexity, a total of 131 seats are reserved for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. Two additional seats are reserved for the Anglo-Indian community, and if Women’s Reservation bill finally passes, eventually 33 per cent of the lower house will be reserved for women.

If you can navigate India’s democracy, Canada offers a welcome simplicity within a familiar political system.

Seven of 28 Ministers in Prime Minister Trudeau’s new Cabinet are members of a minority group.
 

History also makes a compelling case for Indo-Canadians' current involvement in Canadian politics. While others have rightly noted that Indo-Canadians were not actively contesting elections until later in the 20th century, the community has been very politically active since the arrival of the first Indo-Canadians in the early 1900s.  

One hundred years ago, Indo-Canadians formed the first ethnic political organizations in the country to contest the restrictions against Indians in those early days. They challenged race-based immigration policies, landing fees charged to Indian immigrants arriving by port, in addition to the rights to own property, run businesses and of course, to vote. 

Needless to say, there is a deep history of engagement from the Indo-Canadian community in the Canadian political system.

What explains Indo-Canadian success in cabinet? 

In some ways, there is evidence that success has indeed bred success. 

In the 1990s, Herb Dhaliwal made history as the first Indo-Canadian cabinet minister, holding significant portfolios such as National Revenue, Fisheries and Oceans and Natural Resources.  

Similarly, Ujjal Dosanjh held the Ministry of Health in the Paul Martin government, but only after serving as the first (and only) Indo-Canadian provincial premier in Canadian history.

Canada offers a welcome simplicity within a familiar political system.

Further, Indo-Canadians have exhibited a high level of political success, but this is not limited to electoral politics. There is significant integration of Indo-Canadian interests in non-profit, community-based and interest group organizations.

Organizations like Seva Food Bank in Peel Region, VIBC in the Greater Vancouver Region and the India-Canada Women’s Association have provided important platforms for social engagement for Indo-Canadians.It has resulted in a community that is engaged, comfortable and active in Canadian political and social environments. 

What's more, increasing numbers of second generation Indo-Canadians have run for federal office, combining their familiarity with Canadian politics and community activism with significant professional experience. 

Numerous examples exist within the current Liberal caucus, including Amarjeet Sohi, Anju Dhillon and Kamal Khera. From this group of young, ambitious Indo-Canadians, Bardish Chadder, a first time MP, has become the Minister of Small Business and Tourism in the Trudeau cabinet.

What does this mean for other immigrant groups in the country?

There’s no ultimate answer as to why Indo-Canadians have been successful in the Canadian political environment and more significantly, in Cabinet. 

Instead, the explanation lies in the congruence of numerous historical, experiential, political and personal reasons. There is no reason why Chinese, Filipino, Middle Eastern or Eastern European communities could not be similarly successful. 

There are hopeful signs that other communities have started on this trajectory. In particular, the accomplishments of first-time MPs Ahmed Hussen and Maryam Monsef from the Somali-Canadian and Afghani-Canadian communities demonstrate that the Canadian parliament is well on its way to truly becoming a representative institution for Canada’s immigrant communities.

But representation in parliament does not mean much unless it translates to representation in cabinet. At least Prime Minister Trudeau’s cabinet is a solid step in the right direction.


 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 Anita Singh in Toronto

There has been much excitement about the record number of female members of Parliament (MPs) elected on Oct. 19. However, the numbers don’t tell the whole story.

In the last parliament, 76 of 308 MPs – or 25 per cent – were women. The recent election saw a record number of 88 female MPs elected to office, but in a parliament with 30 additional seats, this increase represents just 26 per cent of the total. 

To see how Canada truly stacked up in terms of representation in the House of Commons, many factors must be considered.

“Winnable factor”

To its credit, the incoming ruling party has vowed to be a more inclusive, representative party than governments past. Along these lines, 33 per cent of Liberal candidates were women – a considerable number, although obviously lower than the proportion of women in the general population.

Research in this field has noted though that counting female candidates is not the best estimate for how well women are represented. 

For example, women may not be given “winnable” ridings to run in. Those may be saved for their male counterparts, which inevitably means women are less likely to win.

Other examples show how women are used to balance each other out. 

In a number of cases this election, female candidates were often running against each other. With only one victor per riding, often more than one female candidate was eliminated from the race.

Ethnic women voices missing

In contrast to its gender representation, this parliament is highly representative of ethnic communities – with a record 52 ‘ethnic’ MPs. 

Notably, communities beyond the usually well-represented South and East Asian immigrant groups have gained representation in this parliament.

Disappointingly, this has not translated into similar representation for minority women in parliament.

Two notables are Somalia-born Ahmed Hussen who won York South–Weston and Afghanistan-born Maryam Monsef in Peterborough-Kawartha. Both Liberals are the first-ever MPs from their respective communities to sit in the House of Commons.

With these 52 seats, 15.4 per cent of parliament will be made of members of a visible minority or ethnic group. Disappointingly, this has not translated into similar representation for minority women in parliament, as only 16 out of 338 MPs are minority women (4.7 per cent). 

Representation of visible minority women is even worse outside the Liberal party.

While the Conservative party, with the single-handed mission of Jason Kenney, had made major in-roads with a number of ethnic and immigrant communities since 2006, the party lost ‘ethnic women candidates’ such as Nina Grewal in British Columbia and Leona Aglukkaq in Nunavut. 

The Conservative downfall has also affected visible minority males including Devinder Shory and Tim Uppal in its Alberta heartland, as well as handpicked candidates like Parm Gill and Bal Gosal in Ontario.

Representation of visible minority women is even worse outside the Liberal party.

For the Conservatives, five ethnic candidates were elected and of those, only one woman: Alice Wong from Vancouver.

On the New Democratic Party (NDP) side, the loss of female candidates can be attributed to defeat by the red wave in many key ridings. Former and incumbent MPs such as Megan Leslie, Rathika Sitsabaiesan and Olivia Chow all lost to Liberal candidates in their ridings. 

Party

Number of candidates elected

Number of ethnic candidates elected (men & women)

Number of female ethnic candidates elected

Liberal Party of Canada

184

44 (24%)

13 (7.1%)

Conservative Party of Canada

99

5 (5.1%)

1 (1.0%)

New Democratic Party of Canada

44

3 (6.8%)

2 (4.5%)

Other

11

0

0

Total

338 (100%)

52 (15.4%)

16 (4.7%)

Note: Data collected from official party candidate websites

Some areas show promise

While these numbers are a dismal representation of ethnic women in the new government, there are a few surprises. 

In Brampton, Ontario, three of five seats in the city have gone to minority women – all newly elected. Ruby Sahota, for instance, defeated Parm Gill in one of the Conservative’s “highly ethnic” ridings identified in the party’s election strategy.

[W]e continue to have a long way to go in ensuring that all Canadians find their voices in their elected representatives.
 

Similarly, three of Vancouver’s six ridings have gone to visible minority female candidates: Jenny Kwan in Vancouver East for the NDP, and Hedy Fry in Vancouver Centre and Jody Wilson-Raybould in Vancouver Granville for the Liberal party.

While incumbency didn’t seem to matter as much, party affiliation surely played a role.

Of the 16 ethnic women elected last Monday, only three were incumbents in their own ridings.  More significantly, seven of the 16 candidates beat the incumbent Conservative MP in their ridings, suggesting that party politics reigned supreme in these decisions.

Finally, five of these visible minority female candidates were elected in the newly formed ridings that came out of the 2012 redistribution.  

Next steps

Later this week, prime minister-designate Trudeau will be releasing his new cabinet. He has made a commitment to form it with gender balance in mind. 

In addition, he should also consider adequate ethnic representation in cabinet, including front-bench cabinet positions, to reflect the diversity of the electorate. 

Despite the important commitment from the incoming prime minister, we continue to have a long way to go in ensuring that all Canadians find their voices in their elected representatives.


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 is part 2 of a two-part commentary looking at the representation of ethnic women in Canadian federal politics.

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 Anita Singh in Toronto

During an election, ethnic media is a double-edged sword. 

On one hand, they provide an outlet for parties to target their messaging towards immigrant groups. 

Recognizing the interests and issues that affect Canada’s largest minority groups, political parties can develop policies and ideas that relate to a specific community and have them translated into Punjabi, Chinese, Tagalog or Vietnamese. 

But herein lies the second edge of the sword.  

In a day and age where all media can become mainstream, ethnic media has changed the landscape for what parties say and how they say it in these mediums. 

While in mainstream media this campaign, parties have kept a tight lid on their messaging, barriers such as language limitations have resulted in less effective message management in ethnic media.    

[P]arties have had a difficult time keeping track of the messages proliferating from candidates and supporters in [ethnic media].

Thus, parties have had a difficult time keeping track of the messages proliferating from candidates and supporters in this medium. 

This lack of oversight from the party is likely one reason why former-Conservative candidate for Mississauga-Malton, Punjabi Post editor Jagdish Grewal felt comfortable using his paper as an outlet for his comments that fell outside the careful Conservative messaging on homosexuality.   

Grewal was removed from the Conservative slate shortly after a statement he made in an article in the Punjabi Post asking, “Is it wrong for a homosexual to become a normal person?” went public. 

While instances like the Grewal issue has been limited, there is evidence that the Conservative party deliberately uses ethnic media in a way that has similar undertones. 

This past week, the Conservative party struck out again with ethnic media, defending an attack ad they released about Justin Trudeau in Chinese and Punjabi media. 

In this series of ads in a Chinese-language newspaper the Conservatives allege that Trudeau would legalize brothels and drugs in Canada. Yet, in this case, instead of a retraction, Prime Minister Harper defended the decision to run the ad. 

These two examples show how complex the role of ethnic media has become in electoral politics. 

The good, the bad and the ugly

The good 

The main benefit of ethnic media during election campaigns is their democratizing effect. They continue to make elections accessible to people who would normally not be involved or have an opportunity to learn about politics. It is this access to information that allows communities to have discussions, rallies, and debates about the political issues of the day.

The bad

Particularly when it comes to the Conservatives this week, the politics around ethnic media during election campaigns has become manipulative at best and nefarious at worst, taking unfair advantage of those that, for language or accessibility reasons, cannot tap into alternative sources of elections information. 

These stories and advertisements in ethnic media will only be entertained by certain sections of the community. Second and third generation immigrants, who may rely more on mainstream media outlets or are less interested in news translated into their mother tongues are not the main audience of ethnic media. 

Often the target is those that are more comfortable in mother tongues and those connected to their ethnic communities that engage with this media. And language barriers limit who can legitimately access the news in ethnic papers. 

[T]he Conservative party has hidden behind the limited readership of these media outlets.

The ugly 

The lack of oversight and public accountability has allowed parties to think that they can do anything with ethnic media. 

To suggest that a Liberal government would open brothels “on every street corner in Canada” borders on libelous. 

Yet, the Conservative party has hidden behind the limited readership of these media outlets, becoming less democratic in the long run by identifying a platform position of the Liberals that they had not articulated.   

This differs from issues the niqab controversy, because niqab messaging was consistent from the Conservative party across both mainstream and ethnic media.  

Democratizing ethnic media is an important function of social media.

Recent attack ads targeted the social conservative elements of ethnic communities in Richmond and South Vancouver in B.C., and Richmond Hill and Markham in Ontario. However, this appeal to conservative sentiments was based in fallacy, rather than legitimate party platforms or positions. 

In this way, the Conservative’s attack ads were insulting to the communities they target. In an interview to the CBC, Rattan Mall, editor of the Indo-Canadian Voice newspaper, said “It is quite insulting to the community that the Conservative party might think that people can be manipulated.” 

‘We cannot trust everything we read’ 

Just like with any media outlet, audiences of ethnic media must push these outlets to adhere to a standard for reporting, which includes the type of ads they accept from political parties. 

Individuals should be encouraged to engage with various news media, even if they are all ethnic media sources, to get a varied and nuanced view of the political messages targeting the community.

Also, wherever possible readers should use social media to call attention to unethical reporting standards. Democratizing ethnic media is an important function of social media as it allows the mainstream to be made aware of the misinformation perpetuated by the parties through ethnic media. 

Finally, Canadians have to use good judgment to make up our minds. As shown in the final days of this election, the sad truth is that we cannot trust everything we read.


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
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 Anita Singh (@tjsgroupca) in Toronto, Ontario

As Canada is a mere two weeks into the longest federal election campaign in modern history, negative political advertisements have already made their rounds in the media. 

Targeted messages aimed at various ethnic groups will start appearing next. And for good reason.

While 61.4 per cent of voters turned out across Canada in the 2011 federal elections, research by Liviana Tossutti shows that voting patterns vary in immigrant and ethnic communities.

Although Canadian-born voters with Chinese and South Asian backgrounds are more likely to vote than the Canadian average, members of other non-European communities and immigrants who arrived after 1991 are less likely to vote than their Canadian counterparts.  

The Conservative Party has long identified this untapped group of voters for targeted advertising. And the ads are beneficial on two grounds.

First, targeted ads convince non-voters to go out and vote for the ruling party. Second, they make a convincing argument for current voters from these ethnic groups to vote Conservative.

Targeted ads were tied into a larger Conservative strategy that clearly delineated “very ethnic” ridings where 20 per cent of the population originates from a single community.

There is very little direct evidence of the success of targeted ethnic ads. However, anecdotal evidence from the 2011 election seems to have convinced the Conservatives.

The party won 23 of 24 ridings in the GTA with large immigrant and visible minority populations. 

Extrapolate these results to the other parts of the country with large ethnic communities – such as Vancouver and Montreal – and this strategy could well determine an election outcome.

Part of a larger strategy

Targeted ads were tied into a larger Conservative strategy that clearly delineated “very ethnic” ridings where 20 per cent of the population originates from a single community. 

It led to ridings such as Vancouver-South and Brampton-Springdale getting exceptional attention from the Conservatives.

These messages also have the ability to make elections more accessible to non-Canadian-born populations.

The Liberals and New Democrats have also used targeted ethnic ads. But they haven’t come across as part of a larger strategy. 

Take Brampton-Springdale in 2011 for instance. 

The Liberal MP, Dr. Ruby Dhalla, had won both of her previous elections (2006 and 2008) with small margins. 

Seeing an opportunity, Prime Minister Stephen Harper kicked off his campaign from that riding, and in a busy election season, managed to visit it twice.

This approach has also been supported by the constant presence of Minister Jason Kenney in ethnic communities, policy announcements with ethnic voters in mind (such as ‘super visas’ for grandparents and parents still overseas) and Harper’s visit to the Golden Temple of the Sikhs in Amritsar, India.

In contrast, then-Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff’s only Brampton-Springdale visit happened in the last week of the campaign as part of a marathon effort to visit 12 ridings in three days.

The party tried to make up by sending one-term MP Justin Trudeau to visit the riding.

Cheap and easy

Targeted ads are attractive for several reasons. They are cheap to produce and easily distributable. Political parties can attract attention of groups that are not easily accessible due to their lack of civic engagement or language barriers. 

Embedding the messaging in the commercial breaks of foreign movies or TV shows, for instance, creates awareness that might not otherwise be possible.

These messages also have the ability to make elections more accessible to non-Canadian-born populations. 

[Critics] allege that these ads stereotype ethnic and immigrant communities and fail to reflect their complexities or special interests.

While some are simply translations of mainstream French and English ads, others focus on issues specific to ethnic groups like family reunification, immigration policies and visas, or are congratulatory messages for special events in a community.

Most targeted ads do not appear on major networks or newspapers and are restricted to local ethnic media outlets. And the options are plentiful. 

For the South Asian community alone, there are close to 15 weekly or daily newspapers serving the community such as the South Asian Post, India Abroad, Weekly Voice, and even regional and linguistic variants such as the Punjabi Post, Gujarat Abroad and Thangatheepam.

Like the attack ads, targeted ethnic advertising has its critics.

Some argue that political parties use these ads to showcase their favours for certain communities.

Others allege that these ads stereotype ethnic and immigrant communities and fail to reflect their complexities or special interests.

And like attack ads, despite the criticism, expect to see even more targeted electoral ads during this campaign as parties try to rally as many supporters in what is turning out to be a tight three-way fight for the House of Commons.


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
Thursday, 18 June 2015 05:59

Courting the #CdnImm Vote

by Anita Singh (@tjsgroupca) in Toronto, Ontario

It is no secret. Whenever an election is nearing, the number of appearances by incumbents, prospective candidates, ministers and party leaders at roundtables, speeches, photo-ops or other events organized by ethnic and immigrant community groups increases.

And, particularly in an election year, these politicians hope that their presence will gain the one vote that will determine their success in the upcoming elections.

The recent numbers are impressive – the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce has hosted four federal ministers in as many months, and the Chinese Professionals Association of Canada has hosted six high-profile individuals, premiers, ambassadors and ministers since the beginning of 2015. 

While Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Chris Alexander could not beat preceding minister Jason Kenney’s record attendance of community engagement events (at times as many as six appearances in a night), he has also dedicated a significant amount of time for community engagement, meeting members of the Polish and Chinese communities in the last month.

The ‘shaking-hands-and-baby-kissing’ explanation of how immigrant communities vote oversimplifies a complex relationship between immigrant communities, representative interest groups and political leaders.

Yet, the ‘shaking-hands-and-baby-kissing’ explanation of how immigrant communities vote oversimplifies a complex relationship between immigrant communities, representative interest groups and political leaders. 

Immigrant groups have an important effect on elections, policies and party platforms by helping politicians position themselves to appeal to respective communities.

Issues Development

An interest group’s most effective role is its ability to identify issues that are electorally important for the immigrant community. It provides candidates and parties with a pulse on the issues that exist within a community. It serves as a forum where active members of immigrant communities discuss, dissect and organize around these issues. 

Members of ethnic interest groups in Canada have been vocal on issues of visas, the temporary foreign worker program, small- and medium-sized business development and reduction of trade barriers to developing economies.

Political science research has shown that people actively involved in their communities – including interest groups - are more likely to be involved in aspects like fundraising and volunteering for political parties.

The Chinese-Canadian National Council, for example, has been a long-time advocate of the ‘super visa’ for parents and grandparents, a 10-year visa that allows holders to stay in Canada for up to two years a visit. It has also been vocal against the government’s caps on applications (only 5,000 applications were accepted in 2014).

Similarly, Indo-Canadian groups have played a significant role in identifying the major trade barriers between Canada and India in the completion of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.

Community Engagement

Political science research has shown that people actively involved in their communities – including interest groups – are more likely to be involved in aspects like fundraising and volunteering for political parties. And the numbers show that members of the Conservative Party have reaped the benefits of this.

A 2013 CBC article found that nearly 60 per cent of the $143,000 raised by Kenney’s Calgary riding association came from the Chinese-Canadian community in Ontario and a significant (but smaller) amount from the South Asian community also outside of Alberta, indicating their support for his approach to community engagement. 

Moderating Effect

In addition, organized and formal interest groups provide a forum for politicians looking to connect with immigrant and ethnic communities, while helping to moderate messaging of the more radical groups in line with government interests and policy. Politicians are then able to prioritize issues that they can more easily act upon, instead of focusing on ‘splinter’ issues within particular groups that have unfavourable, anti-state and sometimes violent ideologies.

For example, in recent years, members of Parliament (MPs) have distanced themselves from events such as Vaisakhi parades where participants have advocated for violent separation from India, or rallies in the Tamil community, which promote and fundraise for the Tamil Tigers.

Are Politicians Listening?

Correlation between these community engagement activities and influence on policy is hard to prove. But there are signs that political candidates are listening to interest groups.

For a period of three years between 2008 and 2011, the ruling Conservative party issued formal apologies for injustices committed against numerous ethnic communities in Canada.

For a period of three years between 2008 and 2011, the ruling Conservative party issued formal apologies for injustices committed against numerous ethnic communities in Canada, including the Komagata Maru incident, the poor handling of the Air India attack and the Chinese head tax.

Significant changes to immigration policies have seen the landing fees for new residents nearly halved. They have created opportunities for skilled labour to gain access to work, benefiting those most likely to be politically engaged and involved in ethnic organizations. 

But these policy platforms are not limited to the ruling party.

Justin Trudeau has recently taken aim at what he calls the racist anti-Muslim policies of the Conservative government, including the proposed ban on headscarves at citizenship ceremonies and Canadian Terrorism Act (Bill C-51), both issues taken up by the National Council of Canadian Muslims, while Tom Mulcair has promised improvements to the immigration system to speed up visas for family reunification.

The question now remains: which one of these approaches will reap the most electoral benefits in the future?


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 Anita Singh (@tjsgroupca) in Toronto

Following Indian Prime Minister Modi’s successful tour of Canada, President Benigno Aquino of the Philippines is due to visit this week.

Modi’s trip was a landmark visit – four decades since the last visit to Canada of a sitting Indian Prime Minister. With a deal on nuclear trade, renewal of bilateral trade relations and promises made on counter-terrorism, this trip can be hailed a massive domestic and international success for Stephen Harper. 

Harper could only hope for the same type of success with President Aquino.

Yet, with visits from these two leaders – who represent countries with high levels of immigration to Canada – an important counter-narrative has also emerged. 

With Prime Minister Modi’s visit, speculation has been rife about the ­“Modi-effect” on Conservative electoral chances in Indo-Canadian populated regions in the country, arguably some of the most heavily contested ridings in Canada.

For example, Tim Harper at the Toronto Star has suggested that the “real payoff for Harper might come when Indo-Canadian voters go to the polls in October.” 

Others have wondered if Harper’s overtures may also have an electoral motive with the large diaspora groups settled in Canada from these two countries.

With Prime Minister Modi’s visit, speculation has been rife about the ­“Modi-effect” on Conservative electoral chances in Indo-Canadian populated regions in the country, arguably some of the most heavily contested ridings in Canada.   

Modi’s trip to Canada certainly was diaspora-focused.

Speaking in Toronto, he commanded a 10,000-strong audience of largely Indo-Canadians keen to get a glimpse of India’s new “Rockstar” PM. This event marked the halfway point in a four-day Canadian tour, which included a whirlwind of photo ops at Parliament Hill, Rideau Hall and the Air India Memorial in Toronto.

This was followed by visits to Vancouver and a trip to a Hindu temple and Sikh gurudwara in Surrey, BC – one of the most densely Indo-Canadian populated cities in the country. 

Yet, we should be wary of making tall claims about electoral gains. If Conservatives see electoral gains in these ridings, it won’t be because of Modi or Aquino necessarily. 

More Required to Sway Votes

As shown by Prime Minister Modi’s trip, these visits do not do enough to differentiate Stephen Harper’s foreign policy from other candidates to be an election issue, particularly the Liberals' Justin Trudeau. 

Trudeau’s sit down with Modi also articulated the importance of India for his party, suggesting Canada-India relations would not be damaged by a Liberal victory this fall. 

Similar to Harper’s army of ministers traveling to India in droves, Trudeau’s Liberal party has also made its presence known in India. There is precedent for this – it was, after all, Liberal Prime Ministers Chretien and Martin that led Team Canada delegations to India in the late 1990s.

On the other hand, Tom Mulcair didn’t seem to think Modi’s visit would change his electoral fortunes. He did not take an opportunity to meet with Modi, citing scheduling challenges.

Harper seems to assume that immigrant voters are not particularly complex. He appears to believe that a few photo ops and press conferences with foreign leaders will sway ethnic Canadians to the Conservative party.

Meeting with Modi might not be electorally important to Mulcair – two large Indo-Canadian communities in Canada, Brampton East and Surrey North, are already held by NDP MPs, despite the party’s limited stance on Canada-India relations.

Further, Harper seems to assume that immigrant voters are not particularly complex. He appears to believe that a few photo ops and press conferences with foreign leaders will sway ethnic Canadians to the Conservative party. 

However, like all other voters in the country, immigrant communities have complex reasons for how they vote – there is no electoral proof that ridings with large ethnic populations will elect one party over another on the basis of foreign policy. 

MPs from all parties are elected in ridings in Brampton, Mississauga, Scarborough, Abbotsford, Surrey and Richmond – all highly diverse communities across Canada.

Immigrant Vote is Complex Terrain

My research rejects this developing narrative. It has found that Canada’s immigrant communities are driven by all of the same factors as other voters, including quality of social services, investments, health care, education and economic benefits such as tax relief.  

They may vote Conservative because of their social values, NDP for their environmental policies, or Liberal because of their social policies, but explanations should not be isolated to one set of beliefs.

[T]hese communities are composed of second- and third-generation immigrants, women, linguistic and religious minorities, none of whom necessarily vote for or identify with homeland politics. 
 

In a review of electoral outcomes, my research found that votes are often split between parties in largely ethnic ridings, regardless if opposing candidates are from the same or different immigrant groups. This research is supported by significant scholarship in Canadian Foreign Policy that has acknowledged that foreign policy has little salience in electoral politics. 

Similarly, this narrative does not account for differences and complexities within immigrant communities. It ignores the idea that these communities are composed of second- and third-generation immigrants, women, linguistic and religious minorities, none of whom necessarily vote for or identify with homeland politics. 

Prominent India-watchers in Canada, such as Kasi Rao have noted that the “Indo-Canadian community has made strides in all parties in Canada, federally and provincially and I think the community has now deepened in Canada.” 

Given the religious, ethnic and nationalist divisions within the Indian diaspora, it cannot be assumed that they vote as a unified entity. 

With President Aquino’s visit upon us, expect numerous photo opportunities, important speeches and a number of well-timed handshakes. But if Prime Minister Harper believes that this will have a positive effect on the upcoming election, he may have another thing coming.


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

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

Zo2 Framework Settings

Select one of sample color schemes

Google Font

Menu Font
Body Font
Heading Font

Body

Background Color
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Top Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Header Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Mainmenu Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Slider Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Scroller Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Mainframe Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Bottom Scroller Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Breadcrumb Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Bottom Menu Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Bottom Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image
Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image