By Vanessa Merjudio, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
OTTOWA, CANADA– For the first time in Canada’s capital, a Filipino-Canadian candidate will be running for Member of Parliament for Nepean. His name is Jesus Cosico. His party: independent.
Cosico migrated to Canada in 2001, with his wife and four children. He is a graduate of the University of the East with a degree in electronics and communications engineering.
He is currently on leave from his job as a senior project officer in the federal government to give his time and devotion to his campaign.
His main platform: pro-life. If elected, he wants to work on issues opposing abortion and assisted suicide.
“I’m advertising I’m pro-life and I’m not shy about it,” said Cosico.
Some of his other major platforms is pushing for income equality, encouraging youth engagement, employment and educational opportunities and establishing better healthcare choices for senior citizens.
When it comes to helping kababayans, he is looking into uniting the Filipino community even more in Canada, address accreditation and improve the live-in care giver program.
“It’s about time that we have a Filipino voice,” said Nepean resident Victoria Rivilla. “We have a senator already, but it helps to have another reinforcer.”
“It’s not just being a Filipino alone,” adds Lena Abreza, also of Nepean. “It’s the independency and being a pro-life too and I like his major platform.”
Neida Santini says, “My thoughts are that he would most likely not succeed. I am not supportive of the pro-life movement myself and running independent in the context of the society today, I would have preferred that he went with a party and then advocate for his views.”
His answer to pro-choicers, “First of all, I give them a big smile. If you’re pro-choice, I would tell them, no. We don’t have to be adversaries. We need to sit and decide, collaborate, on where we want to go as a society.”
Cosico is the only candidate in his riding without a party. His competition: Andy Wang from the conservative party, Jean-Luc Cooke from the green party, Chandra Arya from the liberal party, Sean Devine from the new democratic party and Tony Seed from the Marxist-Lennist party.
According to his son, Joseph Cosico, running independent is a challenge.
“The force of a party is very strong in the area,” said Joseph. “As an independent, while it does have some benefits, it does have a lot opposition.”
“It’s high time that we start voting independent and not because of a party,” said Cosico. “The political scenario in Canada is too much partisanship and I think people are just sick and tired of it.”
Being independent has caused another hurdle: lack of funding and a formal team to advise and campaign for him.
However his friends and family have been putting up signs, distributing flyers and talking to people on a personal level.
“We were surprised at how open people there were,” said Joseph. “It’s been the extremes. We’ve been very much rejected or just have been welcome with the most open of arms. It’s been encouraging. It gives us a feeling that we have a chance.”
Cosico is currently preparing for an open debate with the other Member of Parliament candidates on September 30th.