“Smash some glass ceilings along the way”
Teodoro ‘Ted’ Alcuitas
Editor, PhilippineCanadianNews.Com (PCN.Com)
Thirty years after coming to Canada as a 16-year-old orphan, Giselle General is out to prove that someone like her – an immigrant and a woman of colour, can be in in a leadership position.
“I want to be a trailblazer,” she told PhilippineCanadianNews.Com (PCN.Com) in an interview, deploring the lack of representation in the political life of the city of Edmonton.
“Leadership is dominated predominantly by white male and well-funded organizations,” she asserts.
“Part of my goal is to demystify the campaign process for the average Edmontonian, to showcase what it takes. I want to show the trials and tribulations of being a first-time candidate, in order to inspire participation from my fellow average Edmontonians, to inspire my fellow Filipinos to care a bit more about municipal politics, and smash some glass ceilings along the way and bring forward perspectives that seem to be typically overlooked when it comes to polity,” she writes in her blog announcing her candidacy.
Long journey to politics
It has been a long and challenging journey for this ambitious woman whose life was tragically changed when a jeepney she was riding with her parents and siblings fell off a cliff. They were going home to their mining village in Benquet in the Mountain Province when the accident happened killing both her parents and a sister. Only she and a four-year-old brother survived. A relative sponsored the siblings to Canada in 2007 and settled in Edmonton the following year.
She completed a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Alberta School of Business and went on to work at a non-profit that gives free legal help to people in poverty.
Calling herself “politically homeless” since municipal politics are non-partisan, she positions herself as ‘liberal’.
Running in the riding of ward sipiwiyiniwak in West Edmonton, she faces an incumbent who she claims is well-funded and well-connected to developers. Edmonton has recently changed ward names to Indigenous names.
But she is determined and confident she can win the election with a tightly-knit group of volunteers helping her. She will be taking a leave of absence from her work by September to devote full time to the campaign. Elections will be held on October 18, 2021. She says her decision to run has been a “five-year plan” in order to prepare for a long and arduous fight.
“Please use your precious right to vote and get involve,” she calls on kababayans. “Even if you cannot vote yet, you can help in other ways – and a small donation of $10 will produce 200 pamphlets,” she adds.
General will be joined in the election by another Filipina, Iannie Gerona who is running in the North Central ward known as tastawiyiniwak. Watch out for our feature on her.
Check out her campaign information at: