UBCM attendees endorse right for permanent residents to get the vote

The province will now consider allowing permanent residents to vote in municipal elections

Municipal leaders at the UBCM endorsed the idea of permanent residences getting the right to vote. (Black Press File Photo)

Municipal leaders at the UBCM endorsed the idea of permanent residences getting the right to vote. (Black Press File Photo)

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.

“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.”

ALSO READ: Victoria councillors want permanent residents to get municipal vote

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.

ALSO READ: Motion for permanent residents to get municipal vote gains support

“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

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


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