Voting is happening right now in many parts of the country. (Photo: City of Hamilton)

The reason we vote

A commentary by Ted Alcuitas

Election Day is happening in many parts of our country today as people choose who will lead their municipalities for the next four years.

We are seeing an increase in the number of Filipino-Canadian candidates hoping to make it to city councils, school  and park boards. So far, none has run for mayor.  

A couple of council candidates has already been reelected in earlier votings – Jocelyn Curteanu of Whitehorse and Romel Silverio of Yellowknife.

Newly reelected for a third term Jocelyn Curteanu savours win in Whitehorse.(Photo-Whitehorse Daily Star)

Voting in Canada, unlike in our home country the Philippines is made so much easier.

Yet, voter turnout is terribly disappointing.


In Vancouver alone for the last 20 years, voter turnout rates hovered around a dismal 30 per cent on average.

By comparison, federal elections during the same time period have consistently brought in double that number. Provincial elections, meanwhile, have attracted between 50 and 60 per cent of voters since 2001.

Vancouver, like the rest of suburban centres of Richmond, Surrey, Burnaby and New Westminster have substantial Filipino populations.

We have the critical mass to influence elections, albeit there is no monolithic Filipino vote.

We should exercise that power to elect the leaders we want.

But in exercising that power, let us not be blinded by the attitude of ‘iboto natin kasi Pilipino siya..kababayan yan’.

A Filipino candidate could be the worst among the choices.

We vote for a candidate not because he or she is Filipino.

We vote for the most qualified regardless of race, ethnicity or religion.

Of course if everything else is equal, we cast our vote for our kababayan.