Rommel Silverio: Hopes to be YK’s First Filipino Councillor

Voters can count Rommel Silverio among the candidates for council who believe that politicians should listen to what the public says about issues like downtown development and the city’s potential Canada Winter Games bid.

“Whichever way forward we choose, it should be done in a way that is both fiscally responsible and includes the views of as many Yellowknifers as possible,” Silverio said as he announced his intention to run in the October 19 civic election.

“We should be open to other options,” Silverio said after the city administration outlined a $6.5 million redevelopment proposal for the 50/50 lot,  “not just be given one and told that if we do not approve it, we will have wasted 10 years of planning.”

“Maybe they wasted 10 years of planning by not communicating or factoring in the public’s wishes.”

It’s almost 20 years since Silverio, 39, left the simmering heat of the Philippines with his mother to reunite with his father, a sister and brother in Yellowknife, “and give Canada a shot.”


“It was a shock,” Silverio tells EDGE, recalling the January day when he stepped from a plane and into their first experience with snow and a subarctic climate.  “It was all white, and not a lot of houses.”

The city’s high cost of living required everyone in the family to work. He held as many as three jobs at the same time before he graduated from the four-year nursing program at Aurora College and took a job at Stanton Territorial Hospital.

Silverio’s position managing and coordinating patient care brings him into contact with the city’s troubled youth, who are frequently admitted for emergency medical services. They are a top priority for him.

“One thing I want to really do is make sure we maximize use of programs and facilities for youth,” said Silverio, who is critical of the amount of time and red tape between youth and the programs that would take them off from the street and away from trouble

“If we get youth off the street we will save more money in the long term,” said Silverio, who advocates elimination of fees and free access to all youth programs.

Silverio, his wife Janice and their three children are part of Yellowknife’s largest visible minority. Response to his candidacy in the 2,500-member Filipino community has been positive, he said.  Their votes could make him the first Filipino-Canadian on council.

“I’ve been lucky,” he said. “Yellowknife has given so much. Canada is known as a country where prosperity and freedom are not just words. It’s a fact of life that Canadians experience every day. Having experienced that, I feel that it is a duty to give back to the community.”

Silverio said he was introduced to IserveU when he decided to run for council, and sees it “as a good tool to engage with people. I’m a candidate on my own, but if elected, I would like to have access to diverse opinions to make sound judgments.

“My priorities are supporting more variety and access for youth programs, safer neighbourhoods and economic diversification,” he said. “I would work to get the public more engaged in the process of running the city, because every decision we make affects them. Engagement of the people is my number one priority.”

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