Community News & Features Jun 8, 2018 at 5:42 pm

• Ramon Estaris, Liberals finish third in York Centre

• Nerissa Cariño, NDP fall short in Pickering-Uxbridge

• Angely Pacis’ replacement in PC nomination wins Mississauga Centre

 By Jose Victor ‘Jayvee’ Salameña

QUEEN’S PARK, Toronto, June 8, 2018

It was, in many ways, a change election. But sadly, one thing hasn’t changed yet.

After all the ballots were counted for the 42nd Ontario general election, the 295,000 strong Filipino-Canadian community in Ontario still have no representation in Queen’s Park.

While valiant and honorable campaigns were waged by Ramon Estaris, Liberal Candidate for York Centre, and by Nerissa Cariño, NDP Candidate for Pickering-Uxbridge, they ultimately fell short as their own parties failed to dissuade the general electorate in their desire to elect Doug Ford and the Ontario Progressive Conservatives into power.

Ramon Estaris, York Centre

Ramon Estaris, York Centre

Ramon Estaris and Liberals finish third

 The riding of York Centre, which contains the Little Manila neighborhood of Bathurst and Wilson, and which boasts a strong Filipino-Canadian community, voted in the Ontario PC candidate. Ramon Estaris, the Filipino-Canadian Liberal candidate, managed to get 7,865 votes, or 21.3% of the votes cast, placing him and the Liberals to third behind the Ontario PCs and NDP. His percentage of the vote in the riding of 21.3% is better than the 19.3% that the Ontario Liberals fared overall in this election cycle.

While some Liberal candidates were reported to downplay their political affiliation to Kathleen Wynne’s party due to her lackluster perception to the voters according to various media outlets, Ramon remained steadfastly loyal to the Liberal Party, their platform, their message, and to their leader. Unfortunately, this strategy tied his candidacy and his campaign to the sagging fortunes of his Party and their unpopular leader.

The riding of York Centre voted in similar fashion to the province overall. His candidacy was lost not by the candidate, or of any particular situation in the riding, but because of party affiliation.

Nerissa Cariño, Pickering-Uxbridge

Nerissa Cariño, Pickering-Uxbridge

Nerissa Cariño and NDP finish second

 The riding of Pickering-Uxbridge serves as an almost-perfect microcosm of the province of Ontario, with a mix of suburban voters living in middle-density suburban neighborhoods close to the 401 and to Pickering Town Centre, and low-density farmlands in the northern parts of the riding. The riding also has demographics akin to the province. Therefore, it was no surprise that the PCs won the riding like in the province, with the PC candidate capturing 42% of the vote. Nerissa Cariño captured 17,029 votes, or 32% of the votes, very close to the 33% that the NDP captured in the popular vote .

This is Nerissa Cariño’s second run with the NDP. In 2011, she ran as the NDP candidate for the riding of Pickering-Scarborough East, which was dissolved in the 2018 general election into Pickering-Uxbridge, where she ran, and Scarborough-Rouge Park. The NDP candidate in Scarborough-Rouge Park only lost to the PC candidate by 963 votes.

The collapse of the Liberal vote and the “Orange Wave” of NDP support propelled 40 NDP candidates into electoral victories. Many of those successful NDP candidates are representing high-density urban ridings in cities such as Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, London, and the Niagara region. The NDP underperformed in the 905 corridor and rural areas of the province. Hence it was not the Party that underperformed – the NDP has enjoyed its best overall performance since 1991. Rather, it was the demographics and nature of the riding that kept Nerissa in 2nd.

Angely Pacis’ replacement in PC nomination wins Mississauga Centre

At the beginning of the 2018, most political experts predicted that the 2018 Ontario General Election would produce a PC Majority, with roughly 40% of the popular vote, and a seat count in the high 60s to 70s range. And while the sages turned out to be correct after all, nobody could have ever predicted that instead of Patrick Brown, the former PC Leader, it was Doug Ford, the new PC Leader, who would be Ontario’s next Premier.

Had Patrick Brown not be ousted of the PC leadership, and with the tumultuous events that followed in its aftermath, could the Filipino-Canadian community have celebrated a victory by Angely Pacis? Or what if the 300 or so Filipinos that voted for Tanya Granic Allen instead voted for Rosemer Enverga in the nomination, could the Filipino-Canadian community have celebrated a victory by Rosemer Enverga? As a community, we will never know.

What we do know is that the eventual candidate of the Ontario PCs in the riding of Mississauga Centre managed to secure 17,860 votes, or 40.8% of the votes cast in the riding, despite only being the candidate just days before the election was called. Furthermore, The Philippine Reporter has received word that Angely Pacis messaged her supporters, asserting that she also would have won the election had she remained the PC Party’s candidate. The Filipino-Canadian community had the right party, and the right riding, but circumstances beyond our community’s control derailed our opportunity.

Fil-Cans Grateful for Their Efforts

While their campaigns could not finish the task at hand, the campaigns of Ramon Estaris, Nerissa Cariño, and to an extent the “unlucky” campaign of Angely Pacis, highlighted the hardships and pitfalls of getting a Filipino-Canadian candidate elected into power, but also provides valuable lessons to our Fil-Can community on how to wage a campaign successfully. For this reason, the community is grateful for the valiant efforts that Estaris and Cariño have put in their respective campaigns in their quest to put a Filipino-Canadian into political office. They both richly deserve a strong rallying cry of Mabuhay for their contribution to the community. And we will learn from the hard lessons their campaigns have learned, and move forward in the community’s dream to gain representation in all levels of Canadian governance.