Phil De Luna (Ph.D, Materials Science) is a world-leading expert in carbon conversion technologies, artificial photosynthesis, clean energy materials, and machine learning for materials discovery.
He is running for MP of Toronto-St. Paul’s in this coming federal election in September. Toronto -St. Paul’s is a few kilometres north of Toronto Centre.
De Luna is a first-time candidate who wants to bring science to politics and change Parliament by representing a new voice unheard of in the hallowed halls of House of Commons. He is focused on solutions for green jobs to reverse climate change, a just and sustainable society that supports essential workers, and housing that all can afford. If elected he will start a new generation of science- driven politicians.
As a scientist, a cleantech innovator, a first-generation Filipino-Canadian, a CFNet Outstanding Pilipino for 2021, and a proud Torontonian, DeLuna promises to make policies based on scientific evidence and data, “not polls and rhetoric.”
On leave from the National Research Council of Canada, where he was the youngest-ever Director and built a 7-year $57M collaborative research program on Canada-made clean energy technology, De Luna presented a broad plan at his first campaign event in early September, to get Canada to net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions as soon as possible.
De Luna’s platform includes: protecting natural carbon sinks like forests, scaling up renewable-energy production, ensuring renewable electricity is used throughout the grid, tackling industrial emissions, and making big investments in environmentally friendly research and innovation.
Other promises made in news releases earlier include cancelling all new pipeline projects, ending fossil-fuel subsidies, and building a national energy grid.
Asked why he was running, De Luna explained: “I’ve spent my career developing clean technology to help decarbonize Canada. I've come to realize that technology alone is not enough. We need strong policy and leadership to tackle climate change which is why I will be running for office in Toronto-St. Paul's for the Green Party of Canada. We need a new kind of politics, one that listens to the science and represents a diversity of Canadians.”
In addition to De Luna, two other Canadian Filipinos are running for MP in Ontario under the Liberal Party. They are: Liberals Rechie Valdez, an entrepreneur, for Mississauga-Streetsville, and Elizabeth Quinto, a lawyer, for Oxford County.
Other Filipino candidates
In Manitoba, Liberal Paul Ong is running for Winnipeg Center while in B.C., another Liberal, Virginia Austria-Bremner, a former aide to then provincial Premier Christy Clark, is running for MP in Vancouver-Kingsway. NDP has only one Filipino candidate – labour union organizer Naden Abenes– running in Vancouver Quadra.
With the Filipinos in Canada approaching one million strong, they can play a pivotal role in Ontario, B.C. and Manitoba if they get out from under the radar and use their vote to make their presence felt in this September election.
Filipinos have been invisible in Canadian politics for too long. Now that they have competent Filipino candidates, an obligation, and a privilege to vote, they must do their duty either in person or by mail.
If the spike in the number of Covid-19 cases is a concern, voting by mail is easy. Register to vote by mail online at elections.ca and Elections Canada will mail you a voting package. Fill up the form and mail back to Elections Canada. The voting kit may also be picked up at any Elections Canada branch near you, on presentation of a government issue picture ID such as driver’s license or provincial ID card with personal health card number at the back.
Unlike in the Philippines, voting in Canada is safe and easy. Exercise your right on September 20 or on advance voting days of September 10, 11, 12 and 13. Now is the time for Filipinos in Canada to have a representative in the House of Commons. It’s been more than 30 years since Dr. Rey Pagtakhan of Winnipeg represented the Filipinos in parliament (1988 to 2004). It’s time for another Filipino voice or voices to be heard in Parliament.