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Filipinos in BC Should Vote for the NDP

This article is also published on Huffington Post:

Due to its growing numbers, politicians have paid a lot of attention to the Filipino community in Canada as of late and with the elections in BC drawing to a close, there’s been a noticeable effort in courting the Filipino vote.

It’s been exasperating to see the BC Liberals try to court the Filipino vote through superficial events designed to be nothing but photo-ops and not engage the community by talking about specific issues. They don’t seem to be concerned with providing anything substantive because they don’t seem to have anything in their platform they can point to as evidence of being engaged with the community.

This is in stark contrast to the NDP. Their platform has specific points that address issues that affect our community. Here are some taken straight from their platform:

-Recognition for Immigrants: “Improve processes to assess and recognize the credentials of foreign-trained professionals” (pg. 5) - Filipinos have long called to have the provincial government recognize the training and experience they have accumulated outside of Canada. Other than a brief mention about nurses, there is nothing else stated in the Liberal platform about this. What about other professions?

-Improve Learning Conditions for Our Children: “Provide students with the classroom support they need, and hire new teachers, education assistants, librarians and counsellors” (pg. 9) - The alarming high school dropout rate in our community can be directly addressed by providing more support to immigrant youth who need services that are designed to assist with their integration into Canadian society.

-Help for Temporary Foreign Workers: “Establish a toll-free helpline so temporary workers can obtain information about their rights, and report complaints, in their own language” (pg. 31) - The recent lawsuit against Denny’s highlights the need to protect these workers from exploitation. The Liberal platform makes no mention of protecting temporary foreign workers.

-Repeal Bill 29 (pg. 33) - More than 8000 health-care workers were fired as a result of this bill being passed by the Liberals. This was the largest layoff of minority women (mostly Filipinas) in the history of the province. This bill tore up legal contracts and the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 2007 that major parts of the bill were unconstitutional. Adrian Dix and the NDP have promised to repeal the whole bill.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the issues that affect the Filipino community but it’s the result of a sincere effort by the NDP to engage and collaborate with Filipinos to find specific solutions.

I call on the Filipino community to reflect on their interactions with the politicians who are trying to gain their vote. Think about what their true motives are and if they’ve offered any realistic answers to issues that plague our community. There are those who aim for meaningful engagement and there are others who will say anything to get your vote.

To me, the proof is in writing. The NDP, in their platform, have proven that they’re not only listening to Filipinos, they’ll also be working with our community as we face these issues before us.

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There’s no doubt that BC taxpayers should be, at the very least, perturbed about the ethnic outreach strategy document that came out of Premier Christy Clark’s office. The misappropriation of public resources to prop up the BC Liberal party’s election efforts is just plain wrong.

In light of this document, a lot of things I’ve observed in the past few months in how members and candidates from the BC Liberal party have interacted with the Filipino community now have an added dimension that’s revealing in its intentions.

Their interactions have been largely superficial with little to no promotion of solutions to address issues affecting the community. Their pandering doesn’t evolve into genuine engagement and creating collaboration in searching for solutions that affect the community.

In contrast, there is a concerted effort by Adrian Dix and his team in the NDP to really hone in on the issues that affect the Filipino community. Specific issues are identified and possible solutions are evaluated. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Repealing Bill 29. This is a piece of legislation introduced in 2002 by the BC Liberals that tore up negotiated contracts of healthcare workers and resulted in the layoffs of over 3500 workers, 700 of which were Filipino (it was the largest layoff of visible minority women in Canadian history). Their jobs were contracted out and privatized. Some were hired back for half of their previous wages. Adrian Dix has committed to repealing the entire bill.
  • MLA Mable Elmore specifically approached Filipino community organizations to provide feedback on the provincial budget. Submissions from Tulayan and Migrante BC on Immigrant Student Graduation Rates and Temporary Foreign Workers were included in the 2013 Budget Consultations Report

This all happens within the context of creating a better future for everyone in the province.

The NDP’s engagement has resulted in meaningful relationships and results that create the right path to improve things for the Filipino community. This ethnic outreach strategy by the BC Liberals reinforces that they’re not looking for real solutions and are just desperate to exploit the “ethnic vote”. I’m offended by the arrogance and insincerity of the BC Liberals as should all Filipinos in British Columbia.