NDP bet in Scarboro joins watch group in RP polls

Community Opinion & Analysis Apr 30, 2010 at 11:05 am

By Rathika Sitsabaiesan

(Rathika, a Federal NDP Candidate for Scarborough-Rouge River is going to the Philippines as part of the Canadian observers delegation to oversee the Philippine elections on May 10, 2010)

As a child brought to Canada with parents fleeing the civil unrest in Sri Lanka, I can empathise with some of the experiences of my Filipino sisters and brothers.  Growing up in Canada, I have maintained active in the people’s movement back home, and have also been an advocate for peace, justice and human rights.  The stories I have read of what has been happening in the Philippines have lit another fire inside of me to fight for the humanitarian struggles of the Filipino people.  The political situation is very similar to what has been happening in my home country and it is my duty as an activist to participate, and help get the message out to the international community about the ground realities in the Philippines.

It is important for activists from all walks of life to get involved in the people’s movement for peace and justice in the Philippines.  When I was asked to participate by Bayan Canada, I jumped on the opportunity for me to play my small part in this very important mission.  The People’s International Observers’ Mission (PIOM) will monitor and investigate electoral fraud, and report back to the international community.  Especially with the new automated voting system, it creates potential for more fraud that is more difficult to identify.  The 22 Canadian PIOM member delegates came from different sectors from Vancouver to Montreal. They are church leaders, union leaders, parliamentarians and community activists. It is my duty as a global citizen and activist to support the Filipino people’s efforts to protect their votes.  I am excited that I will be part of the Canadian delegation participating and have already started plans for how we will bring the findings of the mission to the attention of the Canadian government and Canadian people.

I am working with many local Filipino organizations to put together a report back and share my experiences town hall meeting for when we return from the Philippines. I have also had conversations with sitting members of parliament, who have committed to raising the truth of the Philippine elections in the House of Commons.

I am looking forward to experiencing the Filipino culture and especially the food.  I am honoured to be participating in the PIOM and am committing to creating as much international awareness of what we learn while in the Philippines.