Toronto Fil-Cans disappointed, angered by Ontario PC decisions

Opinion & Analysis Apr 27, 2018 at 3:35 pm



By Jose Victor Salamena

Filipino-Canadians in the Greater Toronto Area were disappointed and upset over the recent happenings in the nomination races of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, capping off a tumultuous month for the community that began with the ouster of the Filipino-Canadian nominee for Mississauga Centre, Angely Pacis, from the Party.

As was reported previously by news outlets, the Filipino-Canadian community began its search for a replacement nominee to run for the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party in the riding of Mississauga Centre. Among three potential candidates, Rosemer Enverga, the widow of the late Canadian Senator Tobias Enverga, was chosen by the committee. Rosemer’s campaigners tried their best and worked tirelessly day and night, evenings and weekends for the nomination.

However, while trying to reach out to Angely’s former supporters, many former supporters expressed disappointment and anger that Angely was ousted by the Party. Many former supporters also felt that while they could support Rosemer as a candidate, they could not support the newly elected leader of the Party Doug Ford, brother of the late former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. Many Filipinos in the riding also decided to vote for Rosemer’s main rival in the nomination, Tanya Granic Allen, a former Party leadership candidate, and a candidate who was controversial in her own right due to Twitter comments she made in years past about Muslims and the LGBTQ community, especially comparing Muslim women wearing burquas to “ninjas and bank robbers”.

In the day of the nomination, Tanya Granic Allen’s supporters (many of whom were not from the riding itself) came in full force and won the nomination of Mississauga Centre. To many Filipinos in Rosemer’s campaign, and to many Filipinos in the Greater Toronto Area, it was disheartening to see Angely Pacis’ nomination won by a candidate who was not Filipino.

But later on that day came news that the nomination campaign of Antonio Villarin, a Filipino-Canadian candidate running for the nomination of Scarborough Centre, was halted, as Doug Ford and the Ontario PC Party appointed nominees on 11 ridings that did not have scheduled nomination days. The Party instead nominated Christina Mitas.

To many Filipino Canadians in the Greater Toronto Area, the events of the last month in regards to the Ontario PC Party were intolerable. First the ouster of Angely Pacis as a candidate, the second is Rosemer Enverga losing the same riding that Angely won to a candidate that was controversial, and third the suspension of the nomination process in Scarborough Centre, where Antonio Villarin was running. Many Filipino-Canadians displayed their disappointment and anger in social media, with many Filipino-Canadian Liberals urging their Filipino counterparts to embrace the Ontario Liberal Party, where Filipino-Canadian candidate Ramon Estaris won the Liberal Party’s nomination in York Centre.

It remains to be seen if the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, with its former leader making an effort to successfully court the Filipino-Canadian community, will make the same effort towards the community under its new leadership.