A Canadian with Filipino heritage who is currently involved in assisting immigrants to find settlement is eyeing a seat in the City Council of Montreal in the coming elections to be held on November 7, 2021.
If elected, Stephanie Valenzuela, a daughter of Filipino immigrants to Canada, will be the first Canadian-Filipino to serve in the City Council of Montreal representing the district of Darlington.
Former Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre introduced Valenzuela to Philippine Ambassador to Canada Rodolfo Robles during a virtual conference on July 7, 2021.
Valenzuela, who was born and educated in Montreal, informed Ambassador Robles of her involvement in a settlement organization in Montreal assisting Filipinos and other immigrants to settle into their adopted communities.
On her Facebook page, Valenzuela announced on July 1, 2021 her intention to run for the city council in the coming municipal election under the Ensemble Montréal ticket of Coderre.
“I want to thank my family and my friends for their unconditional support. We have a lot of work ahead of us pero kaya natin to (we can do this),” said Valenzuela who speaks fluent French, English and Tagalog.
According to the Philippine Embassy, there are approximately 35,000 Canadians of Filipino heritage who reside in Montreal, many of them have settled in the district of Darlington.
In the virtual meeting, Coderre shared with Robles his intention to reinvigorate the sister-city relationship between Montreal and Manila, as well as his plan to lead a trade delegation to the Philippines should he succeed in returning as Mayor of Montreal.
The former Montreal mayor admitted that he has a soft spot in his heart for the Filipino community in Montreal and welcomed the Filipino diaspora’s involvement in the affairs of the city.
During the recent celebration of Filipino Heritage Month, no less than Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged Filipino-Canadians to seek public office, emphasizing that people of different backgrounds and stories are as relevant in Canada’s diversity.
The Canadian Prime Minister said it has been a hallmark of his term to encourage different communities in Canada to join government so that decision-making would take on a broader perspective.
“When we decided to have Canada’s first-ever gender-balanced Cabinet, it was about making sure that voices got heard, and not just voices of women but incredibly diverse MPs and leaders in government. And for me, making sure that our institutions and our corporations and our leaders reflect the diversity of Canada and look like Canada, is really, really, important,” Trudeau said in his remarks.