Gaining political influence in Canada — Part 3
Our goal should be to have political influence in Canada and in 3 years time have at least one councilor in Greater Toronto Area and the suburb, one Member of Parliament (MP) and a Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) in every province. In five years we can double that. Is this too ambitious to dream of?
We are one of the best in organizing events, thanks to our experience. But we should challenge ourselves more to get into more meaningful and greater events not just small parties and entertainment. We have shown you what we can do with the Philippine Centennial Festival at the Rogers Centre (formerly SkyDome) when we gathered more than 35,000 people. We were the first ethnic community to have our event at the SkyDome. Then the native Indians followed and the Chinese. Let us compete with other ethnic groups instead of just competing with one another in small events. Some of us think and claim to be the greatest of all Filipinos, then lead us and show your competence. Do not just belittle us. We are in one boat. If we sink, you will sink with us. Instead, inspire and motivate us. Let us focus the energies, talents, resources and skills of our people in politics and business. Many of us have experience in politics in the Philippines. Let us use them here and teach our people how.
We have a few brave souls who entered politics, but they seem not to have planned their campaign well and lost. It is not really easy to enter politics. You have to learn the ropes first. You can’t just rely on the Filipino votes. It is a challenge on how to rally our people to go out, vote and campaign for our candidates. It is not even easy to convince our people to support us. But that is the challenge for the real leaders. It will separate the men from the boys.
First we must believe in ourselves and our own people. We seem not to believe in the capacity of our own people even if their qualifications are better than other candidates. We are good at looking for the faults and weaknesses of our kababayan as if we are born perfect. There is no such animal. We all have weaknesses and strength because we are all humans. We should learn to support our people even if they are less qualified so that when it is your turn to run, they will also support you. Our colonial mentality taught us that whites are more superior to us which are not true. Many of us are better educated and can speak English as good as they can.
We question Filipino politicians of their intention in running as if they are opportunist and we are not. We think that if they win they will look down at us and will have no sense of gratitude. We are used to pulling each other down instead of pushing each other up. We look down at them, yet when someone look-down at us, we feel hurt as if we are being murdered. We need to break this negative attitude before we can advance in the political arena.
Even the best among us can’t win an elected position without us uniting our votes for them. They need us as much as we need them. We must work together to get there. We may have our differences, but we also have common interest, goals and ambitions. If we don’t look after each other, who will? We were born with brown skins to help each other, not destroy one another. “Each of us has a role in our community” said Judge Europa.
It is not easy to run and win a government position. You must have the proper attitude, qualification, training, logistics, charisma, and public relations, learn how politics work, have an organization, promotions and marketing strategies, a good campaign manager and a dedicated team of campaigners. You must have knowledge of the issues, knowledge of the riding, their needs, problems and solutions, and ethnic composition of that riding, what other ethnic groups are doing to win. Study also your strength and weaknesses as well as your opponents to know how you can outrun them.
You must work hard; be a good speaker, communicator and as Mayor Art Viola of Niagara on the Lake said, “a good listener”. Knowledge of French and other languages would be an asset.
Our strength as a people
We pay millions of dollars in income taxes every year. Our buying power is in billions of dollars. We have contributed so much to the economy. The banks and lending institutions trust us with their money lending us millions if not billions for our mortgages.
Tagalog is now one of the most spoken languages in Canada as stated by Statistics Canada. It should be more if only we had one dialect but we have more than 300. Some of our children consider themselves Canadians not Filipinos anymore and many of us parents do not teach them our native language. We are now less than 1 million Filipino Canadians excluding those who were born here, the caregivers, contract workers and the undocumented. We have strong faith in God and ourselves, have good family values. We do not complain much and just suffer in silence.
We are the “cream of the crop” having been screened and selected over thousands of applicants for immigration here. So our qualification should not be questioned. Many of those in government offices are even less qualified than us or are just our equal.
Most of us succeed because of our own efforts and talents. The Canadian community had accepted us and knows us as talented, law abiding, loyal, responsible, resilient, well- educated, and hospitable, have good human relations, hard working people and speak English well. The community rarely helps us and is sometimes even a hindrance to our progress. Yet when we succeed, they claim to be the reason for our success.
Our professionals are well respected and acknowledged as compassionate doctors, nurses, caregivers, dentists and teachers. We have great engineers, IT and computer professionals. Many of our people are executives in manufacturing and service industries making these industries successful and rich. The hospitals are full of Filipino Canadian doctors and nurses. Our caregivers take care of elderly and children in a lot of homes, many of them are teachers back home. Our Christian Churches are filled with Filipinos every Sundays. Hotels, restaurants, farms, construction firms and even factories have many of our contract workers.
Even our caregivers have gained great influence. They are well educated – teachers, nurses, even IT experts. Most of them work for wealthy and influential people including politicians and owners of multinational corporations. They spend most of their time with their influential employers and they will be listened to.
But we have to dream for higher positions especially in the government, business and industry. We are more than qualified.
(Those who are interested in this topic and might want to get involved in fulfilling this dream, please email the author at email@example.com.)