1. Why did you decide to run as a candidate for Winnipeg North?
My decision to run as a candidate for Winnipeg North has been mostly motivated by a deep respect for our community. A respect for the people, families, and neighborhoods that make up Winnipeg North. I have worked in Winnipeg North throughout my career, as executive director of the Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement Centre (WASAC), and with the University of Winnipeg’s Innovative Learning Centre. I have worked with youth, with schools, with community organizations, politicians, and leaders. Through this work I have come to believe that the people here, in this riding, represent the best that Winnipeg has to offer.
As I got to know Judy Wasylycia-Leis over the years I realized that she loved representing Winnipeg North for same reasons I have always loved working here. The same reasons that my wife Melanie and I are proud to be raising our son in this riding. It is the people who bring the strength of diversity, the community spirit, the values, and the culture that is Winnipeg North. I want to represent this riding because the people here enrich my life, and I want them to have an MP who can work within the system to create real change and opportunity.
2. What experience will you bring to complement your role as Member of Parliament for Winnipeg North?
As Winnipeg North’s Member of Parliament I will bring many years of experience working with governments, working within both Provincial and Federal systems, and serving as a leader to a very successful community outreach program (WASAC) and at the University of Winnipeg. I know how to work with people, with organizations, and with governments to create change. This riding’s MP should be someone whose motivation is a desire to serve the people, and not just to better their career.
Winnipeg North is filled with people who are not afraid to work hard to provide opportunities for themselves, their families, and their community. These people deserve to be represented by someone who knows how to create change for them within government; someone who can create successful programs, policies, and supports that represent the needs of the riding. Families who attended my Family Fun day in the Maples this summer were able to meet many of the community leaders I have been blessed to work with over the years. I am proud that my career has been filled with that kind of experience, and I would be even more proud to continue serving the families of Winnipeg North as MP.
3. What are the major issues you would like to stand for and why did you choose these issues?
There are issues that should be important to politicians regardless of which party they represent. Issues such as safety, economic growth, education, and health & wellness should be primary concerns for anyone representing Winnipeg North. As I meet people at community events, at churches, or at family gatherings I hear time and again that people want to know that their children and families will have the best opportunities available to them, that they will be guaranteed a good education, a good job, and to be cared for when they are ill. As a new father these are issues that are of great importance to me as well.
I am particularly interested in issues around immigration. Recently I helped organize and host a forum on Immigration, along with MPs Peter Julian and Olivia Chow. This forum invited community members to share their thoughts, ideas, and experiences as immigrants to Canada. The biggest concerns mentioned were family reunification, visa applications, and recognition of international diplomas for newcomers competing for good jobs. These are issues that need to be addressed at a federal level for many of Winnipeg North’s families, and I am committed to creating change for our riding in these areas.
4. Is there anything in particular you would like to change in Winnipeg North?
Safety has been a huge concern for our riding in the last few months. We have all watched as our Police Officers scramble to keep up with the disturbing incidents that seem to be happening all around us. For too long they have worked with too few resources, and no-one to support them in addressing the root causes of crime. The programs I have worked with over the last decade have proven that a strong community can keep youth away from crime and offer a healthy alternative. I am strongly committed to ensuring that members of Winnipeg North feel safer in their neighborhoods.
I would also like to see change in the area of affordable housing. All families deserve to have safe, secure, and well-constructed homes that are affordable for families already struggling to make ends meet. I would also like to see bursaries and scholarships available for students pursuing post-secondary education. Not just for academically successful students, but for young people who volunteer their time, act as positive role-models, and make other contributions to the community. I believe in the potential of young people and will always be committed to supporting them as they pursue their education.
5. Do you have any other comments regarding your candidacy?
One thing I would like people to know about my candidacy is that it is very important to me that all members of Winnipeg North know that I am interested in respecting their opinions, concerns, and beliefs. My campaign office has been busy with volunteers from across the riding, from all walks of life. I see these differences; differences in culture, in spiritual beliefs, or in language, as a strength. Working with all of these people, listening to what they have to say and learning from their experience enriches my life, and makes it a joy to campaign in this election.
Oftentimes it seems that politicians are quick to draw a line in the sand and claim that those that don’t agree with their Party’s politics are against them. While it is good to have a representative with strong convictions, those convictions should be grounded in values that everyone can share, the values of the neighborhoods and communities they serve. I am not afraid to stand up for the values of Winnipeg North, and say proudly that we are a diverse community that can stand together for what we believe in.
6. Why should the Filipinos in Winnipeg North vote for you?
Winnipeg North is a community filled with strong, hard-working people who deserve to be represented by someone with a strong voice. I believe in the potential of Winnipeg North and will not be afraid to stand up for what is best for our community; to ensure that our voice is heard in Ottawa and throughout Canada. The families that make up our neighborhoods are committed to strong values and traditions that are very important to them, and they deserve an MP who believes in those same values as strongly as they do. I stand with those families, grounded in the values of education, community, hard-work, family, and safety. These values are more important than party lines and need to be reflected in the decisions that are made for Winnipeg North.
I also feel that representing such a large and diverse riding is a very hallowed duty which should involve a continuing willingness to learn from constituents. The Filipino community should know that I will always be honoured to learn from them, to work with them, and work for them in government.
Ako po ay nakahandang tumulong sa komunidad ng Filipino at sa buong Winnipeg North sa abot ng aking makakaya.