Two bills at Queen’s Park aim to make June as Filipino Heritage Month in Ontario

Community News & Features Dec 8, 2017 at 6:51 pm
MPP PETER TABUNS, (Toronto-Danforth)

MPP PETER TABUNS,
(Toronto-Danforth)

By Ysh Cabana

QUEENS PARK–Two Members of the Provincial Parliament (MPP) are calling for the month of June to be proclaimed as the Filipino Heritage Month. Peter Tabuns (Toronto-Danforth) said the province may become the first Canadian province to observe it.

Tabuns’ proposal — Bill 181 — was introduced during the routine proceedings at the Legislative Assembly on November 23.

“I think recognizing their heritage publicly in this province will be to everyone’s advantage,” said the New Democrat MPP.

He added that it’s important to acknowledge the contributions of Filipino-Canadians in all aspects of social life. And making it a law provincially would give it more gravitas.

Conservative Raymond Cho (Scarborough-Rouge River) meanwhile tabled a similar bill on December 5 and conveyed the message to other parties to co-sponsor his version of the Filipino Heritage Month Act.

Legislative process

MPP RAYMOND CHO,  (Scarborough-Rouge River)

MPP RAYMOND CHO,
(Scarborough-Rouge River)

Tabuns’ Bill 181, however, was the first to be carried from first reading after its introduction at Queen’s Park. The bill was made available to the public on the Assembly’s website, and to proceed on to second reading.
In order to become Ontario law, a bill must pass through all the stages of the legislative process.

At the second reading, the bill is debated by the MPPs and its principle are voted on. It may then proceed to a review at the Committee stage, where public hearings may be held, testimonies may be heard, the contents of the bill are examined thoroughly and amendments considered. Only at the third reading when MPPs vote again for the final approval.

If the bill passes and carries, the Lieutenant Governor signs it and becomes a law. The bill is reprinted and is posted on the Internet after it receives Royal Assent.

In Ontario legislature, heritage months for particular nationalities that were granted the royal assent include Irish in March, Dutch and Jewish in May, Ukrainian in September, Albanian in November and Tamil in January.
If the Filipino Heritage Month becomes a law, it will be celebrated simultaneously with Italian and Portuguese in the month of June.

Tabuns, who is Latvian descent, noted that the rationale for his bill is that the number of people of Filipino descent throughout the province of Ontario continues ot grow. They now comprise the third largest Asian population in this part of Canada.

Cho, on the other hand, referred to the significance of the history of Filipinos moving to Canada. The first Filipinos arrived in 1930s, according to his press release. In 1990s, Filipino population had a “dramatic” increase until it peaked in 2008, when the Philippines surpassed China as Canada’s leading source of immigrants, it added

 

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Filipino Heritage Month Celebration

SCARBOROUGH–Politicians and members of the Filipino community and other communities gathered together to celebrate the City of Toronto’s official declaration of the month of June as Filipino Heritage Month. Organized and hosted by the office of Toronto Councilor Neethan Shan, who tabled the motion before City Council, the event at the Scarborough Civic Centre last Nov. 30, 2017, featured speeches, an award ceremony to recognize contributions of people and organizations in promoting cultural heritage of ethnic communities in the City. The event also featured performances by Folklorico Filipino Dance Troupe.

 

Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath

Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath

 

Councillor Neethan Shan

Councillor Neethan Shan

 

MPP RAYMOND CHO,  (Scarborough-Rouge River)

MPP RAYMOND CHO,
(Scarborough-Rouge River)

 

Consul General Rosalita Prospero

Consul General Rosalita Prospero

 

Angely Pacis, Candidate MP, Mississauga Centre

Angely Pacis, Candidate MP, Mississauga Centre

 

Audience at Scarborough Civic Centre

Audience at Scarborough Civic Centre

 

Folklorico Dancers

Folklorico Dancers