B.C.’s Filipino community is outraged that four-time MLA, Mable Elmore has been shut out of Premier John Horgan’s cabinet once again.
Elmore, the only Filipino-Canadian member of the B.C. legislative assembly, was given a parliamentary secretary position, despite an open letter to Horgan prior to him naming his cabinet, which was signed by more than 50 community groups from the province’s third-largest ethnic group.
Sources in Victoria told New Canadian Media, that the community backlash is leading to Horgan considering a higher-profile role for the Vancouver-Kensington MLA, beloved by the Filipino community. She now serves as Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors’ Services and Long-Term Care.
Filipino-Canadian community leaders, like R.J. Aquino have reached out to Horgan to meet with them but have yet to receive a response.
“I’m disappointed that Mable Elmore was not included in the cabinet…I’m disappointed that we haven’t received a response…I’m disappointed that we were not heard,” he posted on Facebook.
“We will not, as they hope, “get over it.” We’ll continue to ask John Horgan to prove he can see colour,” said Aquino referring to the premier’s controversial comment during the pre-election leadership debate on white privilege.
Horgan said he doesn’t see colour, in response to the debate moderator’s question while talking about playing lacrosse as a youth. He later revised his answer on Twitter, admitting it could have upset people.
“Considering the systemic barriers Filipinos face as they try to excel in their varied fields – it is with immense pride that we celebrate Ms. Elmore’s historic election as B.C.’s first-ever MLA of Filipino descent. With her recent re-election to a 4th term, along with your party’s return to government with an overwhelming majority, now is the time to recognize the importance of the Filipino community by appointing Ms. Elmore to a leadership position,” the open letter to the premier read.
“We reiterate the call for Ms. Elmore to have a seat in BC’s Cabinet. In this way, Cabinet can better reflect the many diverse voices of BC’s Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour communities. By appointing Ms. Elmore, your cabinet will benefit from her direct connections to a community that feels ignored by successive BC governments.” The letter added.
Elmore made history in 2009 by becoming the first MLA of Filipino heritage in B.C. and has successfully retained her seat three times since. Prior to her election as MLA, Elmore worked as a transit operator for 10 years.
Horgan’s 25 cabinet members, includes some newcomers, is made up of 13 men and 12 women.
Neither Elmore or Horgan’s office has responded for comments on the story.