Ricardo Viveiros

“We must unite, we must expect more and more importantly we must demand more” – Ricardo Viveiros



A few years back I had the pleasure of being on the Round Table panel to discuss the 2018 Provincial Elections. Charles Sousa and Cristina Martins had lost their seats and the Portuguese community lost its voice. 65 years of Immigration at the time and no real voice politically.

Fast forward 5 years and we still have no strong voice provincially but in Ottawa we have Charles Sousa, Peter Fonseca and I can argue Julie Dzerowicz for all she has done for the community representing the countries largest Portuguese speaking riding in Davenport.

Now we have the opportunity to celebrate 70 years of Immigration with the ultimate reward, having a Luso Canadian Mayor of the largest city of this great country. One would think the community would do gather together to support Ana Bailao and do its best to get her elected.

Who was there for Ana Bailao? She received major support from LIUNA. This in itself is a major endorsement in both member support and political prestige.

Where were the local community associations organizing voting drives? Why were they not arranging for their members to go vote? Where was the endorsement from the Federation of Portuguese Canadian Business & Professionals? Why were they not endorsing a former President who represents the community?

Is it time for us to scrap such groups? Have they out lived their purpose? An association that is set up to network amongst business professionals, which one can argue has very few business owners running the board and more bankers, lawyers, and civil employees as members. The value of this group can be debated another day.

Is it time for our Portuguese business leaders to join forces and create a Portuguese Chamber of Commerce that will support any Luso Canadian running in any of the elections regardless of their political affiliation. A group to lobby the government properly. A group to be a liaison amongst businesses in Portugal and Canada. A group that can be the voice of our community. A group that represents the needs of the community and helps guarantee its success by being a central organizer. Raising awareness, funds and most importantly government support for the community.

70 years of living, working, building, investing and immersing in this great country and we still act as though we should be just thankful that we are in Canada. Instead of being leaders we are bystanders.

We have much to be proud of in our 70 years of Immigration here. We have produced Major Businesses in various industries, Doctors, Lawyers, Professors, Teachers, School Principals, City Councillors, Politicians, Ministers, Criminal Court Judge, National Soccer Team Members, Captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs and have been managing one of the Largest Unions in North America.

It is time we deserve the seat in charge of the Economic centre of the Country. It is time for our community to join together and work together to get this done. We must change our strategy to help this come true as the current status quo is not good enough.

When we all get together and celebrate 75 years of Portuguese Immigration to this wonderful country will the cherry on the cake be having a Luso Canadian Mayor of Toronto overseeing the celebrations? To ensure this we must as a community change, we must unite, we must expect more and more importantly we must demand more.

Ricardo Viveiros/MS

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