Q&A with Pinoy candidates for Ontario MPPs

Community News & Features May 25, 2018 at 5:39 pm

By Irish Mae Silvestre
The Philippine Reporter

As the countdown to June 7 begins, The Philippine Reporter caught up with candidates for the upcoming provincial elections. Here, they discuss their plans and key issues affecting Ontario and the Filipino community.

Ramon Estaris, York Centre

Ramon Estaris, York Centre

Ramon Estaris is the Ontario Liberal Party candidate for the Member of Provincial Parliament for York Centre. He’s a software developer, entrepreneur, real estate broker and the co-founder of Pinoy Radio and NGTV (NetGlobal Television).

George Garvida is the Trillium Party of Ontario’s candidate for Member of Provincial Parliament for Scarborough-Guildwood. He’s a former Immigration and Refugee Law Consultant and worked for various agencies including Statistics Canada and Elections Canada. He currently practices family and divorce law.

Carlos Lacuna is the Trillium Party of Ontario’s candidate for Member of Provincial Parliament for Scarborough-Agincourt . He migrated to Canada in 1976 and worked as a senior structural designer for several large firms.

Pastor Alex Pacis is the Member of Provincial Parliament candidate for Mississauga Centre of the Stop the New Sex-Ed Agenda Party. He’s the executive director of Church Planting Ministries Inc.

Nerissa Cariño is the Member of Provincial Parliament candidate for the New Democratic Party for Pickering-Uxbridge. She’s a business owner, a professor, a mother of four and a social justice advocate.

Carlos Lacuna,  Scarborough-Agincourt

Carlos Lacuna,

TPR: Why are you running for this position?

Estaris: It’s all about commitment to serve on a larger scale because I believe we [Filipinos] need a voice in the parliament.

Garvida: Canada’s been good to me. I want to contribute to the betterment of the people of Ontario. As a Filipino, I’m a visible minority and most of the time we’re being neglected. It’s time for Filipinos to have a voice.

Lacuna: I believe the Trillium party will make a big change because of the issues we’re having right now – it’s all controversies. If elected, I can make a difference because we’re not like the other parties.

Pacis: Because of Ford’s failure to respect the democratic process that allowed Angely Pacis and Tanya Granic Allen to win nominations with very strong votes and for depriving Tony Villarin of the democratic process, which he was promised and made to wait for naught.

Cariño: I know first-hand about the struggles of everyday people. Families are feeling the squeeze and I’m running to help make a change for the better.

George Garvida,  Scarborough-Guildwood

George Garvida,

TPR: What are some of the key issues you want to tackle?

Estaris: After a lot of door knocking, what caught my attention was affordable housing and increasing rent. We have a rent control program but I want to make sure we dig deeper to see what we can do.

Garvida: My agenda is to push for family, education and small businesses. I [handle] divorces almost every day. Much of the reason families are disintegrating or divorcing is [because of economic reasons]. Sometimes, we can’t even [afford to] raise our families.

A review of the sex education curriculum with input from parents. Skilled trades for students from grade 11 so they’ll have that expertise when they finish school. Also, carbon tax, which is hurting businesses and consumers.

I want to repeal Ontario Bill 89, change the sex education curriculum, trash the carbon tax and help solve the skyrocketing electricity costs.

Cariño: Accessibility to childcare, education, small businesses, skyrocketing hydro and healthcare.

Nerissa Cariño, Pickering-Uxbridge

Nerissa Cariño,

TPR: Why do you think you’re the right person for this position?

Estaris: I’m the kind of person that listens and I’m a man of action.

Garvida: I’m a lawyer so maybe I can give my two cents’ worth in repealing laws that are useless and introducing something that’s more functional.

Lacuna: Because I’ve been in meetings and [part of] big projects, I think I can implement the things I’m saying.

Pacis: I am not your traditional politician who’ll walk away from their promises once elected. As a church leader and pastor, my heart goes to the families of Ontario.

Cariño: I have a great connection to my community and I’m passionate about working for the people.

Pastor Alex Pacis,  Mississauga Centre

Pastor Alex Pacis,
Mississauga Centre

TPR: Do you believe PC’s Doug Ford is the man to beat in the provincial election? If so, why?

Estaris: I don’t think that PC or Ford has the experience to really help the city. The option is always [to] cut. When they do, they cut basic services. For us, we always enhance services.

Garvida: I don’t think he’ll get the majority [of seats] because people are tired. PC, liberal, NDP – your time is up. Is Ford the man to beat? No. It’s the traditional political parties that we have to beat.

Lacuna: If he wins, he’s going to have a hard time because he’s a corporate guy who’s for big businesses not small and medium-sized businesses, which are the backbone of our economy.

Pacis: Yes! Why? Wynne’s liberal awakened Ontarians into clamoring for change.

Cariño: We can never be sure what happens on election day [but] we cannot afford a PC government. Privatization of public services and cuts will make matters worse.

TPR: Does NDP’s Horwath have more chance of beating Ford than Wynne?

Estaris: Given the record of the party’s history, I don’t think NDP has any chance of beating Ford than the Liberal party. At least in my riding I’m confident that we, as a party, will still win this election.

Garvida: Yeah, I think so right now.

Lacuna: I believe so. Although I’m from a different party, she’s got more sense when she talks. Ford is all talk.

Pacis: Yes. Ontarians now believe that “there is no WIN with Wynne solution.”

Cariño: Again, I would never say either or. People want change and Andrea Horwath is the only person that can get it done!

TPR: What are the main issues of the Filipino community that you will carry and work for?

Estaris: Affordable housing. Also, to make sure credential accreditations can be fully processed and much faster.

Garvida: Immigration and citizenship.

Lacuna: What they need is representation. I hope one of us [Filipino candidates] wins, no matter which party.

Pacis: Though most Filipinos do not realize it for the lack of interest to understand the repercussions of laws such as Ontario Bill 89 and Wynne’s sex education agenda, we are still a people with deep faith in God.

Cariño: Access to jobs, education and issues revolving around the health and safety of foreign workers.

(Interviews edited for clarity)