Four Filipinos seek seats on April 19

Candidates in the Manitoba provincial election

By Ted Alcuitas

Political battles in Manitoba are won or lost in Winnipeg where the majority of Manitoba’s Filipino community resides. Province-wide, Filipinos comprise the largest ethnic population.

The vote-rich city is therefore coveted by all political parties as they go into elections.

In this continuing series focusing on Winnipeg, we feature the four Filipino candidates who hopes to follow the path started by the late Conrad Santos (who died just last February 29, 2016), the first to win office in Canada as an NDP MLA in 1981.

Two of them – the Marcelinos, are reelectionists while Champagne and Reyes are first timers.

We begin with Aida Champagne who is running for the Liberals.

Aida Champagne

Champagne is running for the Liberals in the Filipino-vote rich Tyndall riding.

The first-timer will try to unseat fellow kababayan – incumbent NDP MLA Ted Marcelino who is running for reelection.

Champagne was born in the Philippines and migrated to Canada in 1980 under the Garment Workers Program.

She is on leave from New Flyer Industries where she works in in Logistic Department.

According to her website, she has dedicated 34 years of her life in Canada volunteering and being an active leader and a strong voice for the community.

She is the chairperson of the Manitoba Filipino Street Festival, a highly successful annual festival now on its fifth year. She is also president of the Filipino Seniors Groups of Winnipeg and sits on the board of SISTAR (Sister Initiating Steps towards a Renewed Society) of Point Douglas.

Champagne received numerous awards for her leadership and community services, among them – Hope of Canada,Volunteer of the Year Award 2015, Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013 and Ten Outstanding Filipino award in Manitoba 1984.

She says that as an immigrant  she “ understands the meaning of hard work , dedication and service.”

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