B.C. Premier John Horgan  speaks to representatives of the Filipino community flanked by MLAs Mable Elmore to his left and Adrian Dix on the right. Melanie Matining is on the far left. (Photo: Facebook)

British Columbia

Horgan non-committal on a Filipino cabinet minister

By Ted Alcuitas

B.C. Premier John Horgan was evasive in answering the question of appointing MLA Mable Elmore to his cabinet.

Sammie Jo Rumbaua holding son, takes a selfie with the Premier. (Photo: Facebook)

Elmore, the MLÅ for Vancouver-Kensington is on her third term, the only Filipino member of the legislative assembly in a  province where Filipinos is the third largest ethnic group.

Speaking before a crowd of 25 invited guests at the Max’s Restaurant on Kingsway on Thursday, July 5, the Premier said “there are only so many seats in the cabinet table…” in defending why Elmore was not appointed. 

He pointed out that Elmore serves as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction.

Health Minister Adrian Dix whose riding of Vancouver -Kingsway encompasses Kingsway was in the meeting –   a first for the NDP elected last May 2017 and formed a minority government with the Greens.

Horgan said it has always been the policy of the NDP to “talk directly to the people on the ground,” when they were in opposition.

“We want to continue that – not just during elections, now that we are in government,” he adds.

Questions from the participants ranged from problems faced by caregivers to the lack of a Filipino community centre and the need for diversity in government institutions.

The Premier posted this on his Facebook page after the event:

“It was great to meet Melanie Matining yesterday, a community leader and organizer and inspiration to all who meet her.

She has a long track record of bringing people together to have important conversations in Metro Vancouver, and making a space for community collaboration. It’s one of the reasons we’re so lucky to have her contributions as a member of the multicultural advisory council.

She led a fantastic conversation yesterday where Minister Adrian Dix, MLA Mable Elmore and myself heard stories of resilience and perseverance from members of the BC Filipino community. Thank you Melanie, and to all those who joined us!”