Mable Elmore, who made history in 2009 by becoming the first Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) of Filipino descent in B.C., is seeking re-election to a third term in the provincial elections slated in May 2017.
On January 21, she launched her re-election bid at the John Oliver High School Auditorium in East Vancouver. The high-energy event featured drummers, singers, and speeches from candidates and current MLAs from Elmore’s party, the B.C. National Democratic Party (B.C. NDP).
Elmore was likewise joined by Marty Dolan, a retired teacher, and Hazel Pangilinan, organizer of the Save Our Schools program, a movement for reforms in the state of public education in the province.
A second-generation Canadian Filipino, Elmore is only one among very few elected officials in Canada who are of Filipino heritage. As a member of the B.C. NDP, she had been elected twice as MLA to represent the riding of Vancouver-Kensington.
A staunch advocate for caregiver and immigrants’ rights, social justice, and women, gay, lesbian and transgender issues, Elmore is likewise passionate about concerns regarding affordable housing and childcare, accessible education, and the need for mental-health support for youth and children.
“I’ve known her personally since she was in short pants,” laughed former caregiver and member of the Committee for Domestic Workers and Caregivers’ Rights Julie Diesta.
According to Diesta, she is an avid Elmore supporter because they fight for the same cause -that of giving domestic workers the right to landed immigrant status. “With Elmore, I am confident this issue will reach the provincial and federal governments,” she adds.
Elmore is active in engaging the community and connecting people around issues that matter to them. “She loves to touch base with the community and she reaches out not only to Filipinos but also to those from other ethnic backgrounds,” Diesta said.
Bert Quibuyen, a Canadian Filipino supporter who attended Elmore’s campaign launch, said, “I support her candidacy because of the good work she has done in the provincial legislature for her constituents, as well as for the Filipino community as a whole. Many Filipinos reside in the Vancouver-Kensington riding she represents, which is the most culturally diverse area of Vancouver.”
Elmore’s mother immigrated to Canada from the Philippines as a nurse in 1965, and met Elmore’s father, a manager at a pulp and paper mill in Prince Rupert, B.C., and of Irish descent.
Two years later, Elmore was born in Langley, but spent her youth in Winnipeg, Manitoba. After high school, she studied Physical Education at the University of British Columbia.
Prior to getting elected as MLA, Elmore worked for 10 years as a transit operator for the Coast Mountain Bus Company and became an advocate for workers’ rights. She also became active in the transit workers’union and in Vancouver’s Canadian Filipino community.
Elmore has resided in Vancouver for over 20 years.