Manitoba

'They can make a change': Newcomers get chance to grill mayoral hopefuls

Newcomers to Winnipeg got a chance Saturday to ask questions of mayoral candidates in what’s being billed as a first-of-its-kind forum for the city.

'This is the first time in my life I will vote because we never believed [in] voting back home'

Winnipeggers will vote for mayor and councillors in 15 city wards on Oct. 24, 2018. (CBC)

Newcomers to Winnipeg got a chance Saturday to ask questions of mayoral candidates in what's being billed as a first-of-its-kind forum for the city.

The debate, held under the banner of "Got Citizenship? Go Vote!" was organized by Immigration Partnership Winnipeg in hopes of seeing more immigrants get involved in the political process and increasing their turnout at the ballot box. 

"This is the first time in my life I will vote because we never believed [in] voting back home," said Nour Ali. Ali came to Canada five years ago as a refugee from Syria and became a Canadian citizen a few months ago.

"That is something good, you know?" Nour said. "We to encourage all our community to go vote because we know … they can make a change."

Getting new Canadians to vote is a key step in their integration and empowerment as citizens, said Nina Condo of the Elmwood Resource Centre.

"From the country that they're coming from especially, they're oppressed politically and they're not involved in their political level and they have no voice," Condo said.

"So we want them to start re-integrating and know that they have a voice, that here they can be engaged in their civic right."

Noelle DePape, senior project manager with Immigration Partnership Winnipeg, said a turnout of 250 people was expected at the event, held at  Hugh John Macdonald School on Bannatyne Avenue. 

The election is on Oct. 24. 

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