TFC News

Three Filipino Canadians running in Ontario provincial elections

Rowena Papasin | TFC News Canada

Posted at May 26 2022 08:01 PM

Watch more News on iWantTFC

Ontario will be electing new leaders this June and three Filipino Canadians are among those who are seeking seats in the province's parliament.

Two of them are running under the New Democratic Party (NDP) of federal leader Jagmeet Singh. They are Veronica Javier, candidate in Scarborough-Guildwood and former TFC News Toronto correspondent Christine Santos for the riding of Ajax. The third is lawyer Paul Jonathan Saguil, who is the Liberal Party's candidate for Willowdale.

Javier, a known community leader, educator, social worker and advocate for healthcare workers, said she decided to run so she can be more effective in effecting change. Among her plans, if elected, is the repeal of what she describes as an unfair wage suppression policy that affects many Filipino nurses. She also wants to get thousands of foreign-trained nurses credentialed in Ontario.

"The cracks that were already present in the healthcare system just got more, made worse by the pandemic, really kind of drove me to be like enough is enough, and want to be part of the change on another level. I tease that, you know, social work is already advocacy, but to be in politics is like leveling up my advocacy efforts," Javier noted.

Santos, for her part, said being a journalist has opened her eyes to the needs of the community. With her experience in mentoring children, Santos vowed to continue prioritizing programs that will benefit the youth.

"We have a lot of great programs as part of our platform to work with them. Whether it's in environmental protection, or being involved more in the community... My accountability is for the kids because it keeps me, it keeps my intentions pure," she shared.

Meanwhile, like Javier, Saguil asserted that the pandemic has forced many people to prioritize what's really important. That’s why he wants to use his legal and financial training to push for more investments in education and healthcare. Saguil also learned during his door-knocking that it is important for a community leader to be present for the various groups that have been neglected for a long time.

"They’ve never had a politician knock on their door. They’ve never had a candidate knock on their door. These are people who’ve lived in the riding for years and got left out in the political process," Saguil said. "To me, that is probably the most important thing about being a representative, is just being there for people and to listen to them."

Transit is another big issue in the campaign and the Liberals have promised to implement a buck-a-day ride, but for the NDP, people need more and faster transit.  

Ontario has the second highest number of Filipino immigrants in Canada after Manitoba, yet no Filipino Canadian has ever been represented in parliament. The candidates are hopeful that this election will pave the way even for just one of them to become the Filipino’s voice in Ontario.

"That's what we have been missing, especially in Ontario. Parliament, we don't have representation," Santos said. "A lot of Filipinos are excited and then for the whole Ontario, to actually have at least one, because there's three of us that are running, at least, hopefully one of us will make it to the Ontario parliament."

Javier added, "I feel like the community feels that too, and is really hungry for it. And they've been saying to me, it's about time. We need representation. We need a Filipino in office."

Advance voting for the Ontario provincial elections has already started. The election will be held on June 2.