Friday, July 26, 2019

Voting Rights motion receives unanimous endorsement from Prince Rupert City Council

The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing is about to get some mail from the City of Prince Rupert, after Council members unanimously adopted a motion on the Lost Votes initiative, with Mayor Lee Brain and the five Council members in attendance on Monday evening voting on a resolution to allow for Permanent Residents of Canada to be allowed to vote in Municipal elections.

The wording of the successful resolution reads as follows:

BE IT RESOLVED THAT a letter be sent by the Mayor on behalf of the City of Prince Rupert to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing in support of the Fresh Voices campaign to allow Permanent Residents to vote in municipal elections; and 

THAT the following resolution regarding support for the Fresh Voices campaign be endorsed by the City of Prince Rupert and that support be shown by way of a resolution vote at the 2019 UBCM Convention: 

WHEREAS the Province of British Columbia has the governing authority to implement electoral legislative changes including allowing for Permanent Residents to vote in municipal elections; and 

WHEREAS more than 45 countries have granted Permanent Residents some form of voting rights- including seven jurisdictions in the U.S. and 25 European Union countries; and 11 municipalities in Canada are working toward extending local election voting rights to Permanent Residents; and 

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Union of BC Municipalities requests the Province of British Columbia to make the necessary changes to allow Permanent Residents to vote in municipal elections in municipalities in British Columbia.

Council's action on the resolution came as a follow up to a presentation to Council at the June 24th Council session, when Mr. Rodrigo Samayoa took Council members through the national and provincial campaign to expand the right to vote for Permanent Residents, noting that he himself has lived in the country for eleven years, yet has not been able to vote.

Prior to the July 22nd vote  Mayor Brain outlined the scope of the City's resolution on the night:

"Just for clarity's sake that there is our UBCM resolution already being presented at the UBC, so today's resolution is two parts. One is for the city to send a letter to the Municipal Affairs and Housing in support of Fresh Voices. And then the second is that at the UBCM Council support that existing resolution at the UBCM."

As part of the Council session, Councillor Cunningham spoke to the topic, offering his personal endorsement of the project and the City's letter.

"I think that this is pretty important because we have a lot of people that have lived in the community for years and don't have the right to vote and they can contribute in a lot of ways. And I think it's something that we should emphasize and try and push through" 

Mayor Brain also offered his support to the resolution.

"I agree with what you are saying councillor Cunningham, I think it's definitely an initiative that we should be supporting and is a no brainer"

You can review Council's discussion of the topic from the City's Video Archive starting at the thirty minute mark.

For more items of note related to Monday's City Council Session see our Council Timeline Feature here,  further background on the Monday session is also available from our Archive here.

A wider overview of Council discussions can be explored through our Council Discussions archive.

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