Filipino Canadians all over Canada have lots of reasons and rhymes to rejoice proudly and meaningfully today and next June, 2019. In a historic proclamation, the House of Commons of Canada adopted Motion 155 declaring “June as Filipino Heritage Month” in Canada from coast to coast to coast. The landmark unanimous vote of “290 in favour to none against” was taken on October 30, 2018, Tuesday, at 6:00 pm. in the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa across the political spectrum.
Motion 155 was moved and introduced in the House of Commons by Honourable Salma Zahid, a Liberal Member of Parliament for Scarborough Centre , Toronto. In her privilege speech, MP Zahid reasoned out that in the opinion of the House of Commons, “the government should recognize the contributions that Filipino-Canadians have made to Canadian society, the richness of the Filipino language and culture, and the importance of reflecting upon Filipino heritage for future generations by declaring June, every year, Filipino Heritage Month.”
Speaking with confidence, MP Zahid explained that her private member’s motion , Motion 155 ” speaks to officially designating the month of June as “Filipino heritage month across Canada from coast to coast to coast. I do this on behalf of a vibrant and dynamic Filipino Canadian community that is proud of its culture and heritage and equally proud of its new home, Canada, a community that makes immeasurable contributions to Canadian life” and citing official statistics said, the Filipino population, since 2011 “has grown by 27% to 851,400 and is now “the fastest growing ethnic group in Canada .
The Filipino people “have a rich and vibrant history and culture, and are making outstanding contributions to Canada. It is past due that we officially recognize the contributions of this community with its own heritage month, celebrating Filipino heritage month across Canada”, according to the proponent of the Motion These many contributions of Filipinos are continually recognized and greatly appreciated in all facets of Canadian society, government and the private sector. Filipinos are reasonably acknowledged to be hard workers, resilient, loyal, determined, and efficient performing their tasks productively as accountants, artists, athletes, businessmen, caregivers, dentists, doctors, educators & teachers, engineers, entrepreneurs, financial advisers, government personnel, health care workers, lawyers, politicians, midwives, nurses, pastors & priests, production workers, salesmen, scientists , singers, social workers and many more. Realistically, there are numerous success stories of Filipino Canadians adding to the narrative of Canadian way of life.
Historically and legally , Motion 155, known as “Filipino Heritage Month” in the 1st Session of the 42nd Parliament was “Placed on Notice” on November 20, 2017; “Placed on the Order of Precedence” on June 4, 2018; “Debated” twice on October 1 & 25, 2018; and “Decision Made – Agreed To” on October 30, 2018. Since November 30, 2017 until March 19, 2018, there a total of 19 Members of Parliament recorded as Seconders to the Motion.
In urging full support for this recognition for Filipino Canadian heritage across Canada, MP Zahid asked all her fellow Parliamentarians to support the motion and to join her next June for the first national celebration of Filipino heritage month. She thanked the many people who have been consulted, have offered their support with their petitions and pursued similar initiatives across Canada, especially in the City of Toronto.
After much consultation , MP Zahid and his colleagues in the House of Commons choose the month of June because, on June 12, the Philippines will celebrate its 121st Independence Day. Next year also marks the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Canada and the Philippines. What a better way, many agreed, to recognize this milestone than to officially recognize “June as Filipino Heritage Month” across Canada. The rest is history !