Appointed as Special Military envoy
By Ted Alcuitas
The first Filipino-Canadian to win a seat under the Progressive Conservatives has been bypassed for a cabinet post by the newly-formed government.
Jon Reyes, who won the St. Norbert riding by a wide margin has instead been appointed to a lesser position of Special Military Envoy, a mainly ceremonial office which effectively shuts him off from cabinet decisions.
While the position fits Reyes who served for a decade in the Canadian Forces including five years with the Navy, the Conservatives is sending a wrong signal to the immigrant community by ignoring the only MLA with colour in the 40-member caucus.
The 14-member NDP caucus has four First Nations MLAs, two Filipino members and one Sikh member. The NDP picked Flor Marcelino as its interim leader, the first woman of colour to head a provincial party.
The 43-year old entrepreneur, a second generation Filipino Canadian, is an active community leader in his own Filipino community and in mainstream organizations. The father of two is a graduate of the Royal Roads University in Victoria, B.C.
Reyes, who was awarded the Special Service Medal (NATO) by the Canadian Forces as part of his military service runs a a successful small business in South Winnipeg for the past 13 years with his wife Cynthia.
Reyes is the founder and past President of the Manitoba Filipino Business Council and serves as a director with the Kidney Foundation-Manitoba Branch.