The District Of Kitimat Showed It's Support For The Lost Votes Campaign

Hillary Johnson

The District of Kitimat showed its support for the Lost Votes Campaign, an initiative created by a group called "Fresh Voices" that seeks to grant permanent residents the vote in municipal elections and make local government inclusive to everyone who lives in B.C. cities.
Fresh Voices supporter, Rodrigo Samayoa, presented his case at last night's council meeting.

"Studies have repeatedly shown that voting in one election substantially increases the chances you would vote in the next election by as much as 46 percent. This means if permanent residence today are able to vote in municipal elections, they are that much more likely to vote in provincial and federal elections in the future."

Samayoa listed the positive benefits that come with this change.

"By giving permanent residents the ability to vote in local elections, we can deepen engagement with the community, give them a voice in decisions that directly affect them and increase the chances that they will integrate and feel comfortable in their communities."

He explains that there is strength in numbers and that local governments, across the province, need to band together to seek approval of this initiative.

"So that's why the upcoming UBCM convention, the Union of B.C. Municipalities that's coming up in September, many municipalities will be tabling a resolution calling on the provincial government to give permanent residents the right to vote. As of now, most of the lower mainland and Vancouver Island are on board with this plan. Vancouver, New Westminster, Port Moody and Victoria have all passed local resolutions in favour."

In BC, the province has the responsibility for granting this power to permanent residence and municipalities. Two weeks ago, Prince Rupert became the first city in Northwestern B.C. to join this campaign. He continues to actively reach out to other communities through the Northwest such as Terrace, Smithers and Port Edward in an attempt to gain more support for this cause.

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