Community activist Cesar Cala seeks to win Calgary East riding in the coming Alberta provincial election. ( Photo: Cesar Cala campaign)
First update: 5:00 PM, February 22, 2019
2nd Update: 8:45 PM, February 22, 2019
Community activist Cesar Cala enters politics
By Ted Alcuitas
A long-time community activist has won the nomination for the NDP in Calgary East. A provincial election is slated anytime anytime soon.
Cesar Cala is no stranger to community involvement and now seeks to bring that experience to the political arena.
The 58-year old father of two and grandfather to three immigrated to Canada in 1996 with wife Marichu Antonio.
A native of Moncada, Tarlac, Cala studied statistics at the University off the Philippines but did not complete the course when he went to community organizing and human rights advocacy.
Before accepting the NDP nomination for Calgary East, Cala worked as a special advisor for the Government of Alberta, building engagement between ministries and diverse communities. He has also worked in community development for The United Way of Calgary and Area and civic engagement at The Calgary Foundation.
In addition to his professional community work, Cala has co-founded several community-serving organizations, including Sunrise Community Link Resource Centre, Ethno-Cultural Council of Calgary (now ActionDignity), Children’s Legal and Educational Resource Centre (now named Youth Law), Urban Youth Worx (now part of Antyx), Asian Heritage Foundation and Fiesta Filipino.
He has been recognized for this work several times, including a Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award in 2015, a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012, an Immigrant of Distinction Award in 2009 and an Alberta Centennial Medal in 2005.
Marichu Antonio and Cesar Cala “share an enduring belief that people, whatever their circumstances, have the power to make an extraordinary difference in their lives and in the lives of others”. In the Philippines they were involved in advocacies for human rights, democratic reform and grassroots organizing. They brought this belief with them when they and their two children moved to Calgary twenty years ago. In the city, they quickly became involved in community development.. (Photo: Asian Heritage Foundation)
Cala has the support of many Filipino Canadians in Calgary including cartoonist Mark Suba who did this cartoon for the candidate. Suba was a former layout artist at IBON Foundation in the Philippines.
Alberta elected its first Filipino MLA in 2008
The first Filipino to win a provincial seat in Alberta history, Progressive Conservative Carl Benito served only one term (2008-2012) and did not win a nomination for a second term for Edmonton-Mill Woods.
The former MLA is now facing charges for alleged immigration fraud.