First Filipina senator in Canada sworn into office

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First Filipina senator in Canada sworn into office

Canada’s newest Senator, Dr. Flordeliz “Gigi” Osler is a woman with many firsts.

She is the first female surgeon and the first racialized woman to be elected President of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA).

Now she is the first Filipino senator ever appointed to the Senate of Canada. Jane Cordy, leader of the Senate Progressives, said Osler could also be the first female surgeon to hold the title of Senator.

During her tenure as CMA President, the group developed a policy on equity and diversity.

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called to ask her if she wanted to serve as a senator, Osler said it all felt surreal

“It was an incredible honor to be asked to serve. In the end I said to him that I felt obliged. This country has given my family so many opportunities. It would be an honor to serve my province “vote for Manitobans, one vote for women, one vote for minorities, one vote for Filipino Canadians, one vote for health professionals,” the doctor said.

Osler also has a large social media presence. She is followed by more than 35,000 on TikTok and more than 7,000 on Instagram for offering information about Covid-19 and other medical advice.

With her new role as a senator, Osler said she will continue to share social media posts about the chamber. She added that this may even inspire some other Filipino Canadians to “sit at some of these important tables where decisions are made.”

“Maybe shed some light, simple, informative videos, tell people about the work of the Senate, share something about the importance of our work,” Osler noted.

Osler’s mother is a Filipino nurse and her late father was an East Indian doctor.

She said her father taught her a love of medicine and service, while her mother taught her the value of education and hard work, the importance of family, and a love of Filipino food.

She wears her parents’ rings, she said, as a reminder of how they raised her.

“I started wearing both of their rings on my right hand so I can always remember who they are, what they believe in and what they taught me.”

Osler is grateful for the support of the Filipino community and promises to lobby the Senate for her aspirations.

“We have such a vibrant community that is underrepresented across all sectors in Canada. And I think if we can work together, we can continue to lift each other up. And I want my appointment to be that symbol of hope and opportunity for all Filipino Canadians.”

As Senator, Osler will focus on elder care, the health impacts of climate change, and equity and diversity.

The first Filipino appointed to the Canadian Senate was Senator Tobias Enverga Jr., who served from 2012 until his death in 2017.

dr AS Flordeliz ‘Gigi’ Osler, Canadian Politics, Canadian Medical Association, Philippine Mission, TFC News