Meet MPP Soo Wong, political involvement and a social calling

A road of determination leading to success

 

Powerful, compelling and simple, the first female Chinese-Canadian to be elected to the Ontario Legislature leaves no room for doubt as she claims from the outset “I do my things because I care about them”.

Although the brilliant politician is a Liberal member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, she also currently works on Bill 79, an Act to proclaim the Nanjing Massacre Commemorative Day. She serves as the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services. Soo Wong is a member of the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly and Standing Committee of Regulations and Private Bills. Not only that, she also sits on the Health Education Social Policy Subcabinet Committee. She is also Deputy Speaker in the Legislature.

Behind the politician who is committed to combating childhood obesity, stands a woman forceful in her ability to encourage others to strive towards continuous improvement. As she aced bringing forward a resolution calling on the Government to declare May as childhood obesity awareness month, she initiated the first food labels in chains such as Mcdonalds and Tim Hortons across Canada. “Let’s just think of how many kids we can help with one piece of legislation when we know that one legislation can help 14 million Ontarians” shares Soo.

When Soo Wong landed in Ontario for the first time in 1970, she would have probably been the last one to imagine that in grade 10, at 14 years old,  she would become the President of her High School’s student council.

With no English-speaking parents at home, regardless of her immigration background and despite her young age, the child prodigy stood firm to earn the respect of her school’s supervising authorities. “If I didn’t stand my ground to support my peers, I would have been in trouble representing the student body” says Wong. Within one of Toronto’s largest schools, Soo Wong was taught the core principles of negotiation and quickly acknowledged that “learning doesn’t stop at 3:30pm because the clock says that the school day is over”.

In 1982, as a university student now enrolled in nursing school, Soo Wong remained true to herself when she introduced her big plan to revolutionize a unique event, a very big plan. She thought:

“the amount of energy needed to make two muffins is the same amount of energy needed to make six muffins. It equally requires the use of one batter and the oven to be turned on. So, why not make six?”

 

SOO WONG, MPP Scarborough-Agincourt soowong.onmpp.ca

 

Like that, just a stone’s throw from the Hospital for Sick Children, where young patients with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) receive their treatment, Soo Wong decided that getting the kids fully immersed in a beautiful activity was no longer a possibility, but was meant to happen. Shutting down one of Toronto’s major avenues, she did not only transform what used to be a standard fundraising bed race for the charity organization, but she converted it into an integrative bed race, in the heart of the city, where kids could take part in the festivities held in their honour and simply be kids again. One success leading to another, with a faith to move mountains for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Soo’s true passion for public health was born and so was her career in fundraising with the charity organization, Shinerama Toronto.

Smoking By-law in York region.Dedicated to support others, after years as a registered nurse, Soo Wong felt the need to make the best use of her skillset and found herself appointed with a mission that brought to light her capacity to generate outstanding ideas from actions to words. At a time when it was permitted to smoke in public areas all over the country, in the City of York’s Health Department and York Region Health Services, Soo seized the opportunity to put words to paper when developing, implementing and evaluating No-Smoking By-Laws, policies and research on smoking rooms in various establishments.

 

“If you believe in something, you have to work on it and proactively fight for it”, asserts Soo. With that motto always in mind, not only is she one of Toronto’s strongest advocates of  change and a role model to many youngsters and immigrants, but the Chinese-Canadian politician also lends her name to many volunteer actions and educational programs.

“Changing and improving the lives of Canadians is simple, it starts with becoming the voice of those who are voiceless and putting the money where the mouth is: with young people”, concludes Soo Wong.

It was a pleasure and an honour for us to interview MPP Soo Wong. When getting the chance to learn more on her professional journey, we can highly appreciate and admire her commitment to prioritize Public Health above all matters.