Vancouver city council unanimously agreed Wednesday to request the provincial government allow permanent residents—estimated at 60,000 in Vancouver–the right to vote in the Oct. 20 municipal election. The vote, however, didn’t come without some reservations from NPA Coun. Elizabeth Ball who argued it was “a gift” to vote and a privilege that comes with being and becoming a Canadian citizen. “Coming to Canada and becoming a citizen is highly coveted all around the world,” she told council. “There are reasons why it’s coveted because we are a civilized society with rules, and those rules allow us all to live together in a relatively happy way.”
Ball said the motion brought forward by Vision Vancouver Coun. Andrea Reimer to allow permanent residents to vote didn’t outline the responsibilities of becoming a Canadian citizen. She requested city staff provide an analysis and legal opinion of what changing voting requirements would mean for the municipal election.
“If Vancouver does lead in this way, and it is to go throughout the province, [it’s important] that we’ve actually got real preparation for this to move forward,” said Ball, who cautioned her questions should not be viewed as banning new immigrants and refugees the right to vote. “This is not against the motion, it is to simply ask for information.”