Three prominent Filipino Canadians have been declared official candidates by their political parties to contest for Member of Parliament( MPP) positions in their respective constituency ridings.
The three are Jonathan Paul Saguil, Ontario Liberal MPP candidate for Willowdale(North York), Christine Santos, NDP MPP candidate for Ajax-Pickering, and Veronica Javier, NDP candidate for MPP in Scarborough-Guildwood(Toronto)
This is the first time that 3 Filipino kababayans (compatriots) are running simultaneously for MPP seats in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. If elected, the trio will become the first Filipino-Canadians elected MPPs at Queen’s Park.
Jonathan Paul Saguil , a lawyer by profession, is the Deputy Head of Sanctions Compliance and Anti-Corruption at TD Bank Group where he is on the front lines of fighting financial crime and combating corruption worldwide. An award-winning lawyer, Saguil ” has defended equality and human rights before the Supreme Court of Canada. He sits on a number of boards and advisory groups and is a passionate champion for access to justice, financial inclusion, and education as a pathway to success for everyone.
According to Ontario Liberal Party leader Stephen Del Duca, Paul is a dedicated community advocate and has “spent his entire career fighting for people and ensuring their voices are heard.” “My career and community volunteerism has been dedicated to fighting for inclusion and advocating for those whose voices are not always present or heard in places of power,” said Saguil. “I believe we have an incredible opportunity to bring strong leadership and integrity back to public office and I’m looking forward to fighting for a safer, healthier, and brighter future for our province!”( His Willowdale Riding East of Bathurst Street, West of Bayview Avenue, South of Steeles Avenue, and North of 401. With over 91,000 electors, the riding as per the 2016 Census, has the highest percentage of ethnic Iranians (12.1%), ethnic Koreans (10.6%) and Chinese being the most frequent ethnic origin.)
Christine Santos is an entrepreneur and educator and has over 20 years of experience in child and youth development, human resources, journalism, and media production. Santos has a BA, in Psychology from the De La Salle University( Philippines) and BA in Psychology & Human Resources from York University. Her certifications include a Certificate of Training in Designing for Online Learning; Media Maker Expert, and WISDOM Life Coach for Kids.
Christine is the founder of EPIC Generation, engaged in Children’s media production and leadership training. She has worked as a freelance video journalist for ABS-CBN Corporation and has had work experience for 10 years as a benefits specialist, compensation delivery analyst, and total rewards specialist in 3 Toronto companies. For the past 15 years, as a community volunteer, she has been a children’s liturgy catechist, choir member, and alumni mentor. Christine, if elected, pledged to “fight for the rights of immigrants and workers, support small businesses, investment in education, and public mental health care”. (The electoral riding includes all of the Town of Ajax plus that part of the City of Pickering north of Finch Avenue and east of Brock Road, the area north of Highway 401, and east of Valley Farm Road)
A Registered Social Worker, Veronica Javier, has a BA and Master in Social Work from York University. With a specialty in nephrology, Javier is the Policy Development Secondee at Scarborough Health Network and works with social workers across Ontario “to bring to light issues faced by patients living with kidney disease and their families”. Veronica is the Ontario region representative for the Canadian Association of Nephrology Social Workers.
She is a founding member of the Filipino-Canadian Social Workers Social Service Workers Community Workers Network and a volunteer advisor and mentor to various Filipino-Canadian youth-led organizations, she “nurtures youth leadership and fosters discussions around identity, culture, and heritage within the community.” Raised in Scarborough, Veronica has worked with families there for over 10 years. Javier, once elected, wanted to help “protect what matters most to residents from equity to strong social services to health care and decent, affordable life ” and will fight “to improve for investment in underfunded hospitals, fixing home care, and long-term care for seniors, eliminating barriers for internationally trained workers and ensuring that everyone has access to a decent, affordable home.” (The riding consists of the parts from Lake Ontario north along Markham Road, west along Eglinton Avenue, north along Bellamy Road South, west along Lawrence Avenue, north along McCowan Road, east along Highway 401, south along Morningside Avenue).
In the past, several ambitious Filipinos have attempted and thrown their hats unsuccessfully in the provincial electoral arena. It is hoped that this time, with much-needed kababayan political engagement and support, the 3 Filipino MPP candidates in Willowdale, Scarborough, and Ajax, Ontario will be successful to represent the Fil-Can community and their riding constituents by articulating their voices on issues and concerns that matter most to them.
By Tony A. San Juan, OCT-Retired
April 27, 2022