Heritage Minister, Pablo Rodriguez was just eight years old when his family fled to Canada from Argentina after his father was jailed for his political activism.
By the age of 37, in 2004, Rodriguez became the first elected Latino Member of Parliament for Honore-Mercier, Quebec. In 2008, he made history again when he became the first immigrant Latino to be appointed as Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism. After two decades in parliament, Rodriguez says he feels ‘alone,’ with respect to Latino representation in the House of Commons.
“I want to see more Latin American immigrants in politics at federal, provincial and municipal levels,” he told New Canadian Media in an exclusive Spanish interview during his visit to Toronto to announce funding to combat digital misinformation.
The Latin American community in Canada is approximately 50 years old, with approximately 700,000 people from Latin, Central and South American spread across the country, according to the 2016 Census. However, others believe that there are actually well over a million Latin Hispanics in Canada. Official statistics may be lower due to lack of active participation in the Census.
Together with Senator Rosa Galvez and Davenport MP Julie Dzerowicz, among others, Rodriguez was also one of the key supporters in Ottawa for the creation of Latin American Heritage Month, which has been happening nationally each October since 2018
Much of the Spanish-speaking community consider Rodriguez a political role model to follow, which in turn has been motivating more Latinos to run for office. Indeed, in recent federal and provincial elections, more Latino names — usually of women — have been added to the candidates’ list.
Rodriguez is humbled by the support, recognizing it is a “privilege” to serve. But while the road to inclusive representation remains long, he adds, it need not remain lonely as well.
“We need more input from immigrants, and the Canadian Heritage (Ministry) is there to support that,” he says.
“I am a Minister, and it is a privilege, but I would like there to be more Latinos around this table so that we make decisions that consider who we are and how we can contribute to this country.”
Written by Barrio Team
Source: Yahoo News