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Alona Mercado     The Battle for Winnipeg North

The battle for Winnipeg North is in full swing. On November 29th, 2010, the voters of Winnipeg North will elect a new Member of Parliament. Although there are seven official candidates in the running, one of whom is a Filipino-Canadian, I am willing to bet that, based on the history of this riding, that individual will most certainly be named “Kevin.” The only question remaining to be answered is will his last name be “Lamoureux” or “Chief”?

The federal riding of Winnipeg North has a long history of voting Liberal and NDP. The Filipino community also has a long history of involvement in this riding. From the days of Dr. Rey Pagtakhan to Judy Wasylycia-Leis, the Filipino community played a key role in electing both individuals. In this election, the battle of the Kevins is also drawing a lot of attention and participation from the Filipino community. Throw in the fact that Julie Javier is running for the Conservatives and we have ourselves a very interesting race.

Previous elections tell us that just because a candidate is Filipino doesn’t mean they will automatically get the support of the Filipino community. Previous elections also tell us that sign support doesn’t always tell the story. I have spoken to many members of our community who have more than one sign on their lawn. If it were me, I would only have one sign on my lawn. However, for many in our community, they answer yes to multiple sign requests for two simple reasons: “Para hindi mapahiya iyong tao,” or “Para wala na lang gulo.”

How will our community vote? Who will they support? How will they make their decision? Some will vote according to party affiliation. Some will vote based on ethnicity. Some will vote based on the candidate’s experience and credentials. Some will vote based on perceived promises. Some will vote based on personal relationships with the candidate. Some won’t vote at all. In other words, Filipino Canadians go through the same process as other Canadians do when trying to determine who to vote for.

If I were a voter in Winnipeg North, how would I vote?

For me, the candidate’s ethnicity is not a factor. After all, we are all Canadians. Experience, credentials and party affiliation are all key factors for me. And in this particular election, I have known one of the candidates for about twenty years and I consider him a friend, as do many in our community.

It will come as no surprise to my regular readers that I am supporting Kevin Lamoureux in this election. As I have said in my previous articles, I am a Liberal – always have been, always will be. In fact, I am a member of Kevin Lamoureux’s campaign team.

Everyday that I walk into Kevin Lamoureux’s campaign office I hear conversations in Tagalog and see many Pinoy faces. To say that the Filipino community knows Kevin Lamoureux is an understatement, to say the least. Since 1988 when Kevin Lamoureux was first elected as MLA for Inkster, he has been a staunch friend and supporter of our community. He has even travelled to the Philippines four times to tour the country and to hold free information seminars on the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program.

Kevin Lamoureux has devoted over twenty years of his life to public service. His constituents can attest that he is a tireless advocate and his commitment knows no bounds. Sa paglilingkod, walang sawang pagsuporta ang binibigay ni Kevin Lamoureux sa komunidad natin.

Sino ang karapat-dapat sa boto ninyo?

I firmly believe that if you look at all the candidates and you compare their experience, their credentials, and their past relationship and commitment to our community, the choice is very clear.

Editor’s Note: Alona C. Mercado is a lawyer practicing in Winnipeg and is the Election Day Campaign Manager for the Kevin Lamoureux Campaign.

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