By Quay Evano
The Filipino community in Alberta has handed over a petition asking the Provincial
government to recognize either June or September as Philippine-Canadian Heritage Month.
The Filipino community has become the fastest growing ethnocultural community in Canada.
In Alberta, more than 170,000 people identify themselves as Filipinos. Members of the Filipino community leaders say in the petition be recognized with a Philippine-Canadian Heritage Month at the provincial level.
“There will be an official recognition of the contribution or the big significant contribution, I mean of the Filipino community in Alberta and of course in Canada, and so that they will also be aware that Filipinos are united and we have a unique heritage that they need to know,” says Philippine Fiesta Council of Calgary member Sherissa Celis.
The petition got underway last year at the Philippine Independence Day celebration in Wetaskiwin. Filipino community leaders from all over the province signed the petition.
It was presented it to Alberta Deputy Premier Sarah Hoffman April 5 during the
Youth Empowerment launch at the Art Commons in downtown Calgary. Calgary Philippine consul general Julius Torres was in attendance.
“That’s the initiative of the Philippine Festival Council,” says Torres. “I just sort of encouraged it because truly we deserve that month recognizing how fast growing the Filipino-Canadian community here in Alberta is, so I think we the Filipino-Canadian community deserve that because we have contributed a lot to the economy and also to the cultural enrichment of the province.”
An MP has filed a petition to declare June Philippine Heritage Month at the Federal level.
In Toronto June is Philippine Heritage Month and in Edmonton Fiesta Filipino is celebrated in June, however in Calgary Fiesta Filipino is celebrated in September.
Community leaders from across the province are in discussions as to which
month, the recognition should fall on.
Once a decision is made, a final petition will then be sent to the Alberta government.
Minister of Human Services Irfan Sabir was also at the YEP launch and says the Provincial government is interested in recognizing Alberta’s ethnocultural groups.
“I think what it signifies to the government is that Alberta is made up of people from many different faiths, background and talents and as government we are absolutely committed to recognizing the contributions of these diverse communities or diverse mix of communities,” says. “So certainly the government values diversity and government wants to be inclusive and government wants to make sure that Alberta is a province for everyone.”