Community leaders from across the province have endorsed the idea of giving permanent residents the right to vote in municipal elections.
Victoria Coun. Sharmarke Dubow was one of several people to speak on the subject at the Union of BC Municipalities conference currently taking place in Vancouver. He has advocated for permanent residents to get the vote since shortly after he was elected to council in 2018.
Thread. @UBCM delegates will vote on #B109 resolution @freshvoicesca #LostVotes Campaign. There has been political pressure building to expand municipal voting to permanent residents in Canada🇨🇦 so they should get a say in local decisions🗳️ #UBCM2019 #cndpoli #bcpoli #yyjpoli 1/ https://t.co/4CpHbgZcR6
— Sharmarke Dubow (@deardubow) September 23, 2019
“This passed as a priority for the UBCM, and local governments across BC agreed that this has to change,” Dubow said. “This is an unjust system and now the [provincial] government has the moral priority to act.”
Permanent residents are people who have immigrated to Canada but haven’t yet become Canadian citizens. The process of obtaining citizenship can sometimes take up to 10 years.
A 2016 census of the Capital Regional District shows 7,885 immigrants arrived in Greater Victoria between 2011 and 2016 – with 2,570 choosing to live in Victoria.
“This is great, because there are permanent residents who are doctors, skilled workers, caregivers and all people who are valuable contributors and members of our society,” Dubow said. “Despite their contributions to our community they are left without a voice and a vote to elect the representative who will have a direct impact on their lives.”
The idea will now be forwarded to the provincial government for consideration.
–With files from Nina Grossman
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