Filipino Canadian Member of Parliament (MP) Rechie Valdez was appointed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet, making her the first Filipino woman to become part of the Canadian Cabinet.
Key details: Valdez, 43, was sworn in as Trudeau’s small business minister on Wednesday. Valdez was emotional and fighting back tears as she took her oath, which she opened with the Filipino salutation “mabuhay,” as a new Cabinet member.
“I, Rechie Valdez, do solemnly and sincerely swear that I will truly and faithfully, and to the best of my skill and knowledge, execute the powers and trusts reposed in me, as minister [of] small business. So help me God,” Valdez concluded.
“Honored”: “I was trying to hold back my tears, but I couldn’t because it was a very powerful moment,” Valdez told Global News. “My parents emigrated from the Philippines to Zambia, Africa, to give me a better life. It’s their hard work that motivated me to run. Through their hard work, I said I can do it, too.”
Valdez took to her social media accounts to celebrate her accomplishment.
“I am truly honored and privileged to serve as Canada’s Minister of Small Business. I look forward to working with and supporting small businesses across our country,” the 43-year-old wrote on Instagram.
About Valdez: Valdez, who is MP for Mississauga-Streetsville, previously became the first Filipino woman to be elected as a Canadian MP in October 2021. As MP, she advocates for investing in women entrepreneurs, pay-equity legislation, healthcare investment, fighting climate change and supporting small business owners and first-time home buyers.
Valdez, an entrepreneur and a former corporate banker, is also a baker. She reportedly founded a Filipino line of pastries that sells in two national Asian grocery chains in Mississauga.
The new minister also leads Battle 416, a non-profit basketball festival in Toronto that aims to highlight the deep-rooted love of basketball by Filipinos globally.