There's a growing awareness and excitement among Canadian Filipino voters to get involved in the country’s political process, says retired educator Tony San Juan.
The potential for the community to be an active participant in Canadian political landscape is what is driving a group that includes San Juan.
San Juan is a member of the Filipino Canadian Political Affairs Council (FCPAC), a group based in Toronto that seeks to help Canadian Filipinos build their political capacity and become successful players in the electoral system.
“Fundamentally, its goals are to purposefully meet and achieve reasonable development and changes within the community impacting upon our interests in political affairs, leadership training, political education, social and education advocacy and other relevant concerns,” San Juan said.
According to him, FCPAC will be a “multi-partisan, volunteer-run” non-profit that may serve as a model for other provinces.
“As soon as adequate funds are raised and our structure and mechanisms are pilot-tested and become fully operational, we are planning to employ the system as a possible template to cover and embark on a nationwide drive, perhaps organizing a provincial chapter or coalition partner or collaborating with similar organizations in other provinces, later,” he said.
One of the major tasks of FCPAC is to educate Canadian Filipinos about the Canadian political system.
“It will be a reasonable proposal that Filipino Canadian voters should thoroughly understand and appreciate that Canada's political system, governance, election and campaign practices are very much different from our Philippine system,” San Juan said.
The group wants to see Canadian Filipinos succeed in getting elected at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels.
“Filipino voters tend to vote for mainstream candidates because there is a dearth of Filipinos entering in the political arena,’ San Juan said. “Besides, some Filipinos tried but for lack of support, voter-wise and for lack of funds, these aspirants could not muster passing even at the nomination phase.”
“There is a great need to politicize our kababayans in the Canadian election system,” San Juan also said. “FCPAC hopes to address this situation from grounds and up though in a small way. Concertedly, we intend to build our political capacity and maturity along the process. A long shot, but we will keep on trying.”