The dining area of the Eat Kanadiyan restaurant in Surrey was filled with Filipino Canadians eagerly waiting to meet opposition leader Pierre Poilievre.
As the new head of Canada's Conservative Party, Poilievre wants to connect with supporters of the party including those from the Filipino community.
During his speech, Poilievre slammed professional licensing bodies for making it difficult for educated immigrants to get jobs in their fields. Poilievre believes the current staff shortages in hospitals is a direct result of this system.
"We have the doctors; we have the nurses including from the Philippines. They could be doing their jobs earning big paycheques. I'm gonna sign deals with the provinces to remove the gatekeepers," Poilievre said.
Walter Lumamba, coordinator for the BC Nurses Union, welcomed Poilievre's plan but warned that he may have a hard time convincing all provinces in Canada to scrap the regulatory bodies as these help maintain the high standard of healthcare.
"Ang question ko sa kanya, if I have the opportunity kung paano niya ma-iinfluence ang provincial government kasi ang regulatory board is controlled by the provincial government through their legislation. We need nurses the soonest time possible but we need a strict streamlined process na to consider to provide public health safety as well sa mga pasyente," Lumamba said.
(My question to him, if I have the opportunity, is how will he influence the provincial governments because the regulatory boards are controlled by the provincial government through their legislation. We need nurses the soonest time possible but we need a strict streamlined process to consider to provide public health safety as well to the patients.)
Poilievre also said that if they win the next elections, he will prioritize the economy and implement measures to curb inflation, which has seen grocery prices increase by 12%.
The Conservative Party has not been able to wrestle control of parliament from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party since 2015. But Polievre is confident about his chances, and cited the reasons why Filipinos should rally behind him.
"I'm the only one who will change the system to reward hard work, let people bring more of their paycheques, reverse the catch and release command policies of Justin Trudeau that turn our streets into danger zones," he said.
Poilievre posted about his meet-and-greet with the Filipino community on Twitter, saying Filipino values are Conservative values.
But Filipino Canadian Member of Parliament Rechie Valdez, who is with the Liberal Party, disagreed, tweeting in reply that Filipino values are Canadian values.
Pierre Poilievre, immigrants, Filipino Canadians, OFW, overseas Filipino workers, TFC News