With federal elections in Canada just a week away, candidates of the major political parties are pulling out all the stops to woo voters.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continues to campaign even as two anti-vaccine protesters, who were at his campaign stops, have been charged. They include the man who threw gravel at Trudeau.
The prime minister's wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, who's also campaigning, hinted at her concern for her husband's safety. "Everybody can experience fear in their lives... It’s normal to have a human emotion of fear but you should always follow through and move forward," she said.
Mrs. Trudeau stomped for Filipino Canadian Virginia Bremner who is the Liberal Party bet in the Vancouver-Kingsway riding. In a speech, Bremner said she faced a lot of hardship when she came to Canada as a child but the country has made it possible for her to pursue her dreams.
"No matter where you came from, no matter what anyone has told you, no matter how anyone has made you feel about being who you are, this great nation is built on the belief that we can be what we aspire and that we can achieve anything," Bremner declared.
Mrs. Trudeau said the party has been pushing for more women in parliament and she hopes that Bremner too will have her seat in Ottawa. She said, "It's not an easy path but knowing your strength, your courage, all that you understand of the people around you and all the help that is needed in Vancouver... I'm very hopeful."
With more Filipinos running in this federal election, the Philippine Consul General in Vancouver, Maria Andrelita Austria, called on Filipinos to actively participate in Canadian politics and vote so that their voices can be heard.
"Sa pagpa-participate, nakakatulong kayo sa pag-push ng mga bagay na importante para sa ating community tulad ng matagal na nating pinag-uusapan na credentials recognition (When you participate, you help push for issues that are important to our community like the credentials recognition)," Austria pointed out. "Napakaganda pong pagkakataon para makapagpadala ng isa sa atin na kakatawan para magkaroon tayo ng voice sa Canada (This is a good opportunity for us to choose someone from our community who will represent us and give us a voice in Canada)."
Mable Elmore, a Filipino Canadian member of the Legislative Assembly, said she has been involved in the community for a long time before running for office. But Elmore, who was successfully elected twice, explained that it was not just the Filipino vote that made her win. "The Filipino community is not large to be the only constituency. I really had broad-based support right across different community groups, unions, [and] organizations that really trusted me with their votes," Elmore said.
The last time that Filipinos had a voice in Ottawa was during the time of Dr. Rey Pagtakhan of Winnipeg, who left parliament in 2004.