By Edwin Badosa
Cesar Cala is hoping to make history in the upcoming Provincial election.
Cala is the first Filipino candidate to run as Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) in Calgary and Southern Albert, and the first MLA candidate of Filipino descent for Alberta’s New Democratic Party.
He is running for MLA in the Calgary-East riding, known for its diverse population in community like Dover, Erin Woods, Forest Lawn and Penedo.
“For me, this election will set the path for Alberta for years, if not generations, to come,” says Cala. “I firmly believe and stand for an Alberta that is diverse, prosperous, respectful and inclusive for all – regardless of where we are born, the color of our skin, how we worship, who we love and how much we earn. I want to pursue these values. That is why I decided to run.”
Cala says supporting family, education and the health care system are his priorities.
“I want to support Calgary-East to become a greater place to live, learn, raise a family, make a living and be part of the community,” he says. “I want to ensure that all Albertans benefit from a strong and stable public health system and good schools.” Cesar has worked in community development and in civic engagement at United Way of Calgary and Area and the Calgary Foundation.
More recently, Cala worked as a special advisor for the Government of Alberta, building engagement between ministries and diverse communities.
He co-founded several community-serving organizations, including Sunrise Community Link Resource Centre, the 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), and the Asian Heritage Foundation. He has been recognized for his community service 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.
Cala says he will continue to advocate for the Filipino community.
“I want to see Filipino-Canadians be proud of their heritage, contributing to the province’s future and represented in the province’s civic and political leadership,” he says.
He is an organizer of the Philippine Emergency Response Team (PERT) that supports post-disaster rehabilitation efforts in the Philippines and in Alberta. More recently, he helped lead efforts towards the proclamation of Philippine Heritage Month in Alberta, and the organizing of the first Alberta-wide Filipino Leaders Conference in 2018.
Alberta’s Provincial election is April 16.