Two Pinays vie for history in September 20 federal election

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  • Canadians are going to the polls on September 20, and in Vancouver, two Filipino Canadian women are going for historic breakthroughs.

    No Filipino Canadian woman has been elected to the House of Commons, and Virginia Bremner and Naden Abenes are hoping they can make it.

    Bremner is the Liberal Party of Canada’s candidate in Vancouver Kingsway.

    Abenes represents the NDP in Vancouver Quadra.

    Meanwhile, Elections Canada says there are over 27 million people on the national register of qualified voters.

    To vote, one must be a Canadian citizen, be at least 18 years old on election day, and prove their identity and address.

    Every elector on the national register will receive a voter information card.

    The voter information card indicate where and when to vote, assigned polling station for advance polling days and election day, and the address of the closest Elections Canada office where one can vote by special ballot.

    On September 20, 2021, polls will be open for 12 hours.

    The advance voting days are: Friday, September 10; Saturday, September 11; Sunday, September 12; and Monday, September 13.

    To vote by mail, one must apply online or at any Elections Canada office across Canada. The deadline for application is September 14, 6:00 p.m.

    Naden Abenes is a proud, progressive Filipina woman who is the NDP candidate for Vancouver Quadra.
    A dedicated and passionate organizer, Naden will be an active voice for those most deeply affected by the Covid-19 pandemic – especially women and diverse communities of workers.

    Naden has worked as a hotel room attendant at a downtown Vancouver hotel for over 12 years. She’s an active leader in her union, UNITE HERE Local 40, and has organized and advocated on behalf of hospitality workers for over a decade. Through her first-hand experience as an advocate for laid-off tourism workers, Naden has brought the unequal status of women in the industry to the public’s attention.
    “Although my advocacy efforts have been largely focused on the experiences and challenges facing the hospitality and tourism industry,” she says, “I understand that
    the crisis of inequality in terms of wealth and income impacts us all.”

    Naden has directly felt the effects of failed Liberal policies. She’s had to move twice during the pandemic to find an affordable place for her family to live. The NDP
    values of inclusion, respect, and standing up for people to make a better Canada inspired her to run in the federal election.
    Naden sees herself as a part of the NDP's future, and believes we can replace politicians like Liberal incumbent Joyce Murray if enough people can be mobilized to vote.

    “I am passionate about advocating for people who are struggling like me,” she says.
    “Throughout my life, I have helped others by giving a voice to those who aren’t usually heard. I strongly feel that the NDP is most closely aligned with my personal
    beliefs, experience and values of any of the political parties in Canada.”

    Naden is a veteran organizer with a solid track record.
    She motivates people to believe in themselves and in our collective ability to change our lives for the better.

    Besides serving as an Executive Board member and Trustee for UNITE HERE, Naden has served on the board of Sunrise Housing Co-Operative, as well as leading organizing and fundraising drives for charitable causes.

    Originally from the Philippines, Naden and her family immigrated to Canada when she was a child. She is a graduate of Vancouver Technical Secondary School and
    attended the Academy of Learning Career College. As a single mom, Naden raised her two children, now adults, in Vancouver.

    Virginia emigrated from the Philippines with her family at the age of 7, seeking a better life in Canada. She attended Grenfell Elementary and Windermere Secondary in the Vancouver Kingsway riding.

    Virginia’s mother — lovingly known as Nanay — had to work tirelessly after her father’s sudden passing. With incredible grit, Nanay raised 10 children, instilling them with a strong desire to help those in need and care for their communities. Virginia took these values to heart and into her local work, offering frontline mental health outreach.

    Eventually, her growing connections with the community lead her to become Executive Director of her local Business Improvement Association. Her dedication did not go unnoticed – she eventually served in the office of BC’s Premier, working to keep the Premier connected with local communities.

    Most recently, Virginia established an international trade and investment program for the Word Trade Centre Vancouver with the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade – ensuring that local businesses could flourish with access to international markets.

    Virginia would be honored to serve as one of the first Filipina-Canadians in the House of Commons.
    She believes in supporting families and children above all else. In service of families, she seeks to bring greater housing affordability, stronger local business prospects, and deeper support for hardworking immigrants.
    As a happily-married mother of two adult sons, she channels the gratitude she holds for her own mother’s sacrifices by working relentlessly to ensure a bright future for her family.

    By using her voice as a strong Filipina, and providing a platform for all other immigrant voices, Virginia will ensure that Vancouver-Kingsway is at the decision making table and is represented the way our community deserves.


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