By Alex P. Vidal
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Here is an intelligent presentation of the side by those advocating for the creation of “Pinoy Town” on Fraser Street led by Filipino-Canadian artist and event organizer Jojo Quimpo shared to us by Reyfort Media Group chairman Rey Fortaleza.
Quimpo, a native of “Ati-Atihan Festival” province of Aklan in the Philippines, disagreed with Multicultural Helping House Society (MHHS) president Tomas “Taytay Tom” Avendano and Filipino Zodiac Circle of British Columbia former president Nemecio “Mang Nemy” Cepeda Sr. who called the move to create the “Pinoy Town” as “divisive” and “lacking the proper study and consultation with the Filipino-Canadian community.”
Here’s Quimpo’s side of the issue: “I watched Balitang Canada news and also read the article in PNT newspaper entitled ‘Pinoy Town idea divides community’. The opposition in the designation of Pinoy Town was mainly based on the reason that it will cause division in the community and as immigrants we should integrate and assimilate to Canadian culture.
“I respect the opinion of Tatay Tom Avendano and Mang Nemy Cepeda but I respectfully disagree with them. I think there is some misunderstanding in the interpretation of the policy of Canada in terms of multiculturalism. If we read the laws of Canada particularly the ‘Canadian Multiculturalism Act’ it is very clear that the Multiculturalism Policy of Canada is to PRESERVE, ENHANCE and SHARE the cultural identities and heritage of all communities. The policy of Canada is NOT Cultural Assimilation rather it is Cultural Preservation. Canada is a mosaic, not a melting pot nation.
“And this is the reason why I love Canada. Canada allows us to embrace, celebrate, develop and share our culture with others without contempt and discrimination. Our Canadian multicultural society will continue to be a success because of tolerance and respect to cultural diversity.
“Our Petition to designate Pinoy Town is justified under the Canadian Multiculturalism Act. Just like other ethnic groups we Filipino-Canadians also deserve to have a place to celebrate and showcase our culture. This Petition is not meant to exclude others or create division in the community in fact this will strengthen the multicultural fabric of the city. It will also help revitalize businesses through cultural tourism which will benefit our local economy.
“Before we will submit our proposal to the City Council we will conduct full consultation to all sectors of the community within the area, Filipinos and non Filipinos alike. So everyone will be given the opportunity to express their opinions – for or against the Petition. That’s the beauty of democracy we have the right to freedom of expression. My only request is to respect each others opinion. We can agree to disagree by not being disagreeable personally. Mabuhay! Be Proud to be Pinoy. Onwards to the Pinoy Town Petition!”