Fil-Cans fail to hold on to Mississauga Centre

Community News & Features Apr 27, 2018 at 3:41 pm
Tanya Granic Allen (left) wins PC nomination for MPP in Mississauga Centre over Rosemer Enverga.

Tanya Granic Allen (left) wins PC nomination for MPP in Mississauga Centre over Rosemer Enverga.

By Jose Victor Salamena

The Mississauga Fil-Can community was shaken as news spread through word-of-mouth and social media that Rosemer Enverga failed to clinch the MPP nomination in Mississauga Centre riding.
The riding was previously won by Angely Pacis, a bilingual Fil-Can lawyer whose nomination was set aside due to alleged “electoral procedure flaws.”

Enverga, widow of the late Senator Jun Enverga, was the community’s bet in the April 21 nomination race that pitted her against former PC Party leadership contender, Tanya Allen, and two other contestants.

Enverga, who had misgivings about running, was literally pushed by members of the Filipino community to fill the void that was created when the PC Party revoked Fil-Can lawyer Angely Pacis’s nomination for alleged electoral flaws.

Although Enverga was reluctant and entered the contest only two weeks before the nomination day, she nevertheless waged a valiant campaign, going door-knocking with her volunteers every day, even during the weekend of the ice storms on April 13 to 15.

Enverga’s campaign was handicapped from the start by a nascent movement by former rank-and-file supporters of Pacis who decided to back Allen, instead of Enverga.

In the nomination hall, a sizeable number of Fil-Cans were seen holding placards and wearing stickers which read “Filipinos for Tanya.”

Allen is the anti-sex education and anti-choice candidate, who originally was criticized by the national media during her party leadership run due to an endorsement from a white nationalist, and who subsequently came under fire for her online Islamophobic and homophobic comments.

Angely Pacis’s supporters back Tanya Allen for PC MPP nomination. (Photo: Ariel Ramos)

Angely Pacis’s supporters back Tanya Allen for PC MPP nomination. (Photo: Ariel Ramos)

In contrast, Enverga differentiated herself with her message of “Love, Respect, Tolerance, Acceptance and Understanding for All”, a message which resonated with the largely multi-cultural crowd of around 1,200 gathered in the nomination hall.

Among the prominent supporters of Allen is Pastor Alex Pacis, who leads a group of Filipino evangelical pastors, and is believed to be a relative of Angely Pacis.

The Enverga Campaign had hoped that Angely Pacis would endorse Enverga but Pacis kept silent and did not endorse Enverga, according to a source close to the campaign. Except for a few former core supporters, none of Pacis’s rank-and-file volunteers visibly helped Enverga, according to the same source.

Even though Enverga waged a short campaign, she had secured pledges of support from more than 500 voters in the riding. However, like the other two visible minority candidates, she experienced a low turnout rate on nomination day. Some supporters were observed leaving without voting due to long line-ups. The inadequacy of parking spaces and the two-hour period allotted for voting was simply too taxing for some voters, according to the Enverga Campaign group.

“If we had a high enough turnout rate, there would have been a second ballot, and Rosemer could have won, since she was the overwhelming 2nd choice overall due to her multi-cultural message”, according to Gerry Villareal, CFO of Enverga Campaign.

Allen won the nomination on first ballot; unfortunately, her victory was tainted by the addition of 548 names to the voters list less than 24 hours prior to nomination day. The surprise addition was objected to by Enverga and candidate Natalia Kusendova, but not by Allen. The party did not expunge the additional names from the list.

In her post-nomination speech, Enverga thanked her supporters and pledged to support Allen.