Lately, many Manitobans have been surprised when they heard that the next lieutenant governor is from a visible minority group.

Before, I went into details about this new lieutenant governor, allow me first to explain a bit of  Government in Canada.

Canada has a system of parliamentary government. Parliament has three parts: the Queen, the House of Commons and the Senate.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is our Head of State. Then we have what we call the Governor General of Canada  who is the Queen’s representative in Canada.

Then Canadians elect representatives, called members of Parliament ( or MP’s), to sit in the House of Commons. The people who serve in the Senate are chosen by the Prime Minister and appointed by the Governor General. They are called Senators. The Prime Minister is the leader of the political party with the most elected members of Parliament sitting in the House of Commons.

Confusing ?  Well, no worry, when I first came to Canada, coming from a country which is Republic of the Philippines and with very much USA look-alike system of government I was kind of lost upon learning about Canada’s system of government. It took a while before I was able to get use to it.

Now, each provinces in Canada have what we call Lieutenant Governors- they serve as representatives of the Queen in each province.

In Manitoba, our  new lieutenant governor who replaces John Harvard as the Queen’s representative in Manitoba is of Chinese descent.

He is Philip Lee, sworn in  Tuesday as Manitoba’s 24th lieutenant governor. He is the first lieutenant-governor born outside of Canada and  will hold the office for five years.


What significance does it bear for someone like me – a visible minority too.

For me, Philip Lee is an example of someone who is living the Canadian dream. He is going to be an inspiration not only to the Chinese community but to other visible minorities as well.

I am not surprised by the many “ohh”s  about his appointment, after all, he was not a household name, he was unknown to the community at large, and his appointment  stands out for that very reason alone.

I applaud the Prime Minister for this appointment to happen- it enlarges the future possibilities for everyone, it demonstrates that worthy candidates can be plucked from relative obscurity to fill the province’s most important ceremonial role.

What is his role anyway?

As the Queen’s representative, he will be the guardian of responsible government in the province and several more obligations such as meeting and greeting dignitaries, such as members of the Royal Family and foreign heads of  state.

Lastly, this latest happening is deemed important for me in the sense that it is an embodiment of multi-culturalism.

True multi-culturalism at it’s best is empowering and showcasing the many faces and accents of it’s people allowing them the opportunity to hold high offices  and then we can probably say that it truly reinforces the message that Canada is a land of equal opportunity, a place where people of modest means can rise to meet the challenges of high offices.





2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. dFish
    Aug 11, 2009 @ 08:59:47

    I admire Canada’s multiculturalism. I’m even thinking of migrating hehe…

  2. Fr. Felmar Castrodes
    Aug 11, 2009 @ 03:49:19

    hello, i was surprised, may payment na ang livefeed…

    pero free yang sa akin…

    ano kaya nangyari?

    check ko lang ulit ha….

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