Mable Elmore and Gabby Kalaw battle for votes in Vancouver-Kensington

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The most interesting contest in the May 14 provincial election from the perspective of the Filipino Canadian community is being fought from two headquarters located several blocks away from each other.

On Saturday (March 30), Vancouver-Kensington NDP incumbent Mable Elmore opened her campaign office at 5435 Victoria Drive, near East 38rd Avenue, with a standing-room-only event.

This was two weeks after challenger Gabby Kalaw of the B.C. Liberals formally launched his campaign at 4392 Victoria Drive, near East 33rd Avenue, on March 16.

The fight for Vancouver-Kensington is remarkable for Filipino Canadians in B.C. It’s the first time that two politicians of Filipino ancestry are squaring off on the provincial political stage.

Elmore, a former peace activist and bus driver, is a darling of the community. She made history in 2009 as the first candidate of Filipino lineage to be elected to the legislative assembly.

As the Straight reported last November, Kalaw’s decision to run against Elmore is seen by some as a sort of betrayal.

This observation was echoed in a nonpartisan way last Saturday at Elmore’s event by businessman Jay Razon, who happens to know both Elmore and Kalaw.

“Gabby is a good friend of mine,” Razon told the Straight. However, Razon said that Kalaw seems to be “creating a lot of negativity” against him within the Filipino community because he chose to run in Vancouver-Kensington.

Elmore indicated that she’s more prepared this time compared to 2009.

“I really want this campaign to be a community-based campaign, to really get neighbourhoods involved,” Elmore told the Straight.

According to Elmore, housing affordability and access to postsecondary education are the major issues in the multicultural district.

After Elmore’s event, the Straight dropped by Kalaw’s campaign office but it was closed. Kalaw and his supporters were seen leaving his headquarters early Saturday afternoon to knock on doors.

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