A former Conservative MP who lost his seat in the recent election believes the party could have done a better job speaking directly to Chinese Canadians.
Kenny Chiu was defeated in Steveston-Richmond East, a riding in British Columbia with many residents of Chinese descent.
The party has also seen the losses of longtime Conservative MP Alice Wong in Richmond Center and Bob Saroya in Markham-Unionville, both of which are home to large voters of Chinese descent. Neither responded to requests for comment from The Canadian Press.
The defeats leave the Conservatives wondering what happened and how these losses might relate to the party’s position and messages on China.
Conservative leader Erin O’Toole has openly criticized human rights abuses in China, calling on the liberal government to take a tougher approach with the authoritarian regime.
Chiu says there is no single reason for his downfall, but points out that WeChat’s online posts contained false information about the Tories and allegations that a private member’s bill he brought forward. filed would discriminate against Chinese Canadians.
“The hindsight is always 20/20. I think there could be more proactive communication reaching directly to Chinese Canadians than we could have done, ”Chiu said in an interview.
The party could have bought more targeted ads, he said, adding that it was clear that communications efforts were not sufficient to counter what it sees as disinformation.
Improving the way Tories address voters is one of the issues Chiu said he hoped to raise before Parliament’s next session. Another was how to reassure people that their criticism of the Chinese Communist Party’s potential influence does not mean that they are attacking China, a country with a rich history and history, or its people.
O’Toole did not address the issue specifically, but expressed general disappointment with last week’s election results, promising that what went wrong will be examined in a post-election review. Details have yet to be provided on its settings or who will run it.
In addition to failing to grow the party in key areas like the Greater Toronto Area and Metro Vancouver, which are home to large numbers of immigrants and new Canadians, the Conservatives have five fewer elected officials of color due to defeats in and around these two cities, as well as Calgary. .
It is a blow to O’Toole’s promise to grow the party and make it a place where more Canadians and people from all walks of life feel at home.
During the campaign, he attempted to woo voters by telling them that the Conservatives were no longer their father’s or grandfather’s party, despite having a predominantly white caucus.
For Tenzin Khangsar, who worked for Jason Kenney when the premier of Alberta was immigration minister under former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper, successfully making inroads into newcomer communities was all about having a authentic presence before the election is called.
Under Harper, Kenney prioritized aggressive outreach with diaspora communities, noting that Canada’s demographics had changed.
Kenney was a key O’Toole supporter when he ran for the party leadership in 2020, with O’Toole giving his former colleague credit for helping grow the party when he served. in Harper’s cabinet.
Most recently, Conservative MPs, including Tim Uppal of Alberta, apologized for not speaking out while in the Harper government against his efforts to ban face coverings at citizenship ceremonies and its 2015 election promise to set up a telephone helpline known as “barbaric cultural practices”.
—Stéphanie Taylor, The Canadian Press