New Brunswick

Permanent residents should have right to vote, 2 Moncton men say

Two Moncton men are lobbying municipal councils in New Brunswick for support to allow permanent residents of the province to vote in municipal elections.

Thomas Raffy and Moncef Lakouas are lobbying municipal councils across New Brunswick for support

Two Moncton men are lobbying municipal councils in New Brunswick for support to allow permanent residents of the province to vote in municipal elections.

Thomas Raffy says allowing permanent residents to vote is a symbolic gesture, which will give them a political voice in their communities. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)
Thomas Raffy and Moncef Lakouas say permanent residents pay taxes, own homes, send their kids to local schools and are covered by provincial health care, but they don't get to have a political voice.

​"They can do everything, but they cannot vote," said Raffy, a Moncton lawyer who became a Canadian citizen after emigrating from France a few years ago.

"And in this case, because we have so many immigrants here, for example, in Moncton, that are business owners, they are affected by the day-to-day life of the municipality, of the the municipality's decisions. So why not say, 'You are part of the community.You are one of us.'"

Raffy says allowing permanent residents to vote would be a symbolic gesture of welcome to these new residents.

The City of Dieppe voted unanimously this week to officially support the initiative, and other councils say they will hold votes on the issue.

Raffy says once he and Lakouas have the support of municipal leaders, they will take the issue to Fredericton and request provincial legislation be changed to allow permanent residents to vote.

Raffy and Lakouas have undertaken the project as part of their involvement with 21inc, a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering entrepreneurial leaders under the age of 40 across Atlantic Canada.

Lakouas is president of the University of Moncton's student union and first vice-president of the Multicultural Council of New Brunswick.

Clarifications

  • An earlier version of this story indicated the non-profit group 21inc is lobbying municipal governments, when in fact it is only two members of the group - Thomas Raffy and Moncef Lakouas.
    Apr 16, 2015 4:07 PM AT

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