By Adrian Dayrit
A Filipino Calgarian will be running for the New Democratic Party (NDP) in the upcoming Alberta election.
Cesar Cala, a long-time resident of Calgary has accepted the nomination from the NDP to run for Calgary-East.
It is currently held by independent Robyn Luff who was removed from the NDP caucus in November 2018.
Calgary-East includes the following neighbourhoods: Abbeydale, Applewood, Penbrooke Meadows, Erin Woods, Forest Heights, Forest Lawn, Southview, and East Dover.
“I want to support Calgary-East become a greater place to live, learn, raise a family, make a living and be part of a community” says Cala about his campaign focus.
Cesar Cala moved to Calgary from the Philippines with his wife in 1996 and will be the first Filipino-Canadian to be an official candidate for MLA in Calgary and Southern Alberta.
This nomination comes following the announcement by the provincial government to enact plans to add Filipino language and culture curriculum in K-12 schools.
According to the provincial government “there are more than 170,000 people of Filipino heritage in Alberta” and is the “fastest growing ethno-cultural community in the province.”
Cala co-founded several community-serving organizations.
This is the first time he will be running for political office.
“This decision did not come lightly nor quickly, but it was a decision that I cannot ignore,” he says. “I feel strongly that the next provincial election will set the path for our province for years, if not generations, to come. Who will win and form the next government is important but equally important is what will be the tone and the discourse of the election.”
Cala has received several awards for his dedication to his community including the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award and Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for Unsung Heroes.
“I am passionate about building welcoming and safe neighbourhoods and communities, free from racism and discrimination,” he says. “I want to see Filipino-Canadians be proud of our heritage, contributing to the province’s future and represented in the province’s civic and political leadership.”
The election date will be set between March 1 and May 31. This will be the first election held after the Alberta NDP defeated the Progressive Conservative government in 2015.