The B.C. NDP risks earning the ire of the Filipino community if Mable Elmore gets passed over again for cabinet
This was made clear in an open letter asking New Democrat Premier John Horgan to name the only Filipino-Canadian member of the legislative assembly (MLA) to a cabinet post.
“Anything less amounts to the continued marginalization of our community and is an affront to the dedication and service of Filipinos to BC over the years,” stated the letter signed by several community organizations.
Elmore is the darling of the community, being the first and only Filipino-Canadian to become a member of the B.C. legislative assembly.
When the B.C. NDP first formed government in 2017, the community was hopeful that Elmore will get inside cabinet.
The community did not openly advocate for Elmore, and was counting on the goodwill it earned with the party.
Many Filipinos identify with the B.C. NDP.
As well, Elmore at that time was already on her third term as a seasoned MLA.
Not surprisingly, several members of the community were disappointed when Elmore did not get a seat at the cabinet table in 2017.
However, the frustration was kept mostly within the community.
Some say this posture is cultural: Filipinos, in general, tend to be shy. Mahiyain is the Tagalog word for it. Many prefer to stay below the radar. They prefer not to draw attention to themselves.
Based on an account that is quite well known in a number of circles, a Filipino personally complained to an influential figure in Horgan’s government.
The person was reportedly waved off, according to a version shared with the Straight, and told dismissively: “Your community will get over it.”
Horgan and the B.C. NDP won a majority mandate in the October 24, 2020 election.
In that election, Elmore also earned her fourth term as MLA for Vancouver-Kensington.
This time around, community have rallied to openly advocate for Elmore.
In the open letter, the community told Horgan that “now is the time to recognize the importance of the Filipino community by appointing Ms. Elmore to a leadership position”.
“For your Cabinet to genuinely reflect the diversity of the people it serves it needs to include Ms. Elmore,” the letter stated.
Moreover, “Your party has the unique opportunity to elevate the Filipino community and we hope you will consider doing so by inviting Ms. Elmore to your Cabinet.”
Below is the open letter and list of Filipino community associations behind it.
Open Letter to Premier-elect John Horgan from Filipino Community Organizations in B.C.
November 23, 2020
Dear Premier-elect John Horgan,
On behalf of the Filipino community in BC and supporting organizations listed below, we strongly urge you to consider veteran MLA Mable Elmore for your Cabinet. The organizations we represent are a broad cross section of Filipinos that includes youth, seniors, alumni organizations, sports organizations, as well as geographic and social justice formations. We are an active and dynamic community and the numerous groups we have reflects our strength.
Filipinos comprise the third largest ethnic group in BC and are among its fastest growing immigrant populations. As it stands, we are more than 145,000 who are proud to call BC home. While our community is a young one, with most immigrants first arriving during the 1970s, our contributions to the health and welfare of this province are immeasurable.
Along with emigrating as professionals in various fields, many of us also came to care for the young, the elderly, the sick, and the infirm. Amidst the current pandemic, we continue to tirelessly work on the frontlines helping to ensure British Columbians stay safe.
Considering the systemic barriers Filipinos face as they try to excel in their varied fields – it is with immense pride that we celebrate Ms. Elmore’s historic election as BC’s first-ever MLA of Filipino descent. With her recent re-election to a 4th term, along with your party’s return to government with an overwhelming majority, now is the time to recognize the importance of the Filipino community by appointing Ms. Elmore to a leadership position.
Cabinet members are appointees that serve at the pleasure of the Premier and their composition (which includes the communities and sectors they represent) reflect his priorities. For your Cabinet to genuinely reflect the diversity of the people it serves it needs to include Ms. Elmore. Anything less amounts to the continued marginalization of our community and is an affront to the dedication and service of Filipinos to BC over the years. Your party has the unique opportunity to elevate the Filipino community and we hope you will consider doing so by inviting Ms. Elmore to your Cabinet.
Thank you for considering our request and we look forward to your response. You may reach us through our following contact persons for this letter:
RJ Aquino and Rudy Antonio
Adamson University Alumni Association (Vancouver Chapter) - Rudy Antonio,
Aklanon Sto. Nino Association - Kirv Wendale Lamsen, President
Alpha Phi Omega Alumni Association of B.C. - Cora De Jesus, President
Antiqueno Cultural Association of B.C. - Mirasol Kahila, President
Bagong Pag-Asa - Pepita Hernandez, President
Bohol Foundation - Dario Galon, President
Caring Hearts Dentistry Society - Dr. Gloria Samosa, cofounder
Circulo Cagayano - Rudy Tuliao, President
Circulo Pampangueno - Christian Cunanan , President
Confederation of Filipino Canadian Association - Romeo Mercado, President
Daloy Puso Network
Dimasalang III - Leo Cunanan Jr., President
FilCan Seniors Warriors for Change
The Filipino Association in B.C. - Celyna Sia Sherst, President
Filipino Association of Chilliwack - Charles Sebastian, President
Filipino Canadian Construction Society - Ferdie Lontoc, President
Filipino Canadian Cultural Heritage Society - Prima Roine - President
Filipino Patriots Society of Canada - Rene Bahena, President
First Filipino Canadian Cultural Society of Nanaimo - Tessie Fumerton, President
Fraser Valley Filipino Association - Dexter Tarampi, President
Global Pinoy Diaspora Canada
Ilocano Association of B.C. - Ana Napieralski , President
Kilusang Pagbabago - Vancouver Chapter - Rupie Payot, President
Mapua Institute Alumni Association
Masskara Cultural Society - Agnes Uguil, President
Nanaimo Filipino Canadian Association - Maru Schwager, President
Nanaimo Filipino Community Organization - Josie Morse, President
National Pilipino Canadian Cultural Centre (NPC3) - Nora Angeles
Negrenses Association of BC - Cris Sotana, President
Pangasinan Ilocano Association - Rudy Antonio, President
Philippine Cordillera Society - Josie Bangaan, President
Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants
Richmond Filipino Canadian Bayanihan Society
Rinconada Society of Canada – B.C. Chapter - Mel Abonita, President
Royal City Sister City Society - Annie Miles, President
Seniors Brigade Seniors Society - Chiching Orquiola, President
Sigma Rho Alumni Association - Vancouver - Cris Sotana, President
Sons and Daughters of Santo Domingo - Marino Dulay, President
Surrey Philippine Independence Society - Narima dela Cruz, President
TAPSILOG - FilCan Network for Truth and Justice - Freddie Bagunu, President
Tau Gamma Phi / Sigma
United Filipino Canadian Associations of B.C. - Joel Castillo, President
University of the Philippines Alumni Association of B.C. - Mylene Lim, President
Vancouver Island Cordillera Association - Amando Pitag, President
Vancouver Island Visayan Association - Evelyn Rocic, President
Victoria Bayanihan Community Centre - Dominga Passmore, President
Victoria Filipino Canadian Association - Agnes Mhyre, President
Victoria Filipino Canadian Caregivers Association - Annette Beech, President
Victoria Filipino Canadian Seniors Association - Connie Custodio, President
Viva Senor Sto. Nino Association of B.C. - Edgar Sy, President
Waray Association of Canada - Luis Pedroso , President
Zambales Dance Group - Merlina Fayusal, President
Zambales Society of B.C. - Merlina Fayusal, President