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Push to give non-Canadians right to vote in civic elections 'a good thing': political scientist

Last Updated Apr 19, 2018 at 1:46 pm PDT

FILE - Vancouver City Hall (Lasia Kretzel, NEWS 1130 Photo)
Summary

Vancouver City Council is pushing to give non-Canadian citizens the right to vote in civic elections

Council has approved the motion but the province will ultimately decide whether non-citizens can vote in civic elections

No other cities in Canada allow non-citizens to vote in civic elections, but some are looking into it

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It’s a good thing; that’s what a local political scientist is saying about a Vancouver City Council push to give non-Canadian citizens the right to vote in civic elections.

Stewart Prest, who’s an instructor at Capilano University, says proposed changes fall in line with the idea anyone who pays taxes in this city should have a say in how that funding is collected and spent.

“Probably a good thing on the basis of the idea that, if somebody is involved in the city and they’re paying taxes and they are affected by the decisions taken, there should be some say in the decisions that are taken and so, this is a step towards that. On that ground, it’s a good thing.”

Although city council has approved the motion, the provincial government will ultimately determine if up to 60,000 permanent residents should be allowed to vote in Vancouver’s election on October 20th.

Prest says he’s expecting some opposition from those who say you need to be a citizen to vote in any election in this country.

“It’s interesting to see some creative thinking about how to get people in the community more involved and do more for an inclusive community and in general, I am in favour of the idea of experimenting with our democracy and not getting too precious about things. We should try new things.”

No other cities in Canada allow this yet, but some including Toronto and Halifax are looking into it.

Some other countries, including Ireland and Switzerland, have done something similar.