The City of Montreal will claim the right to vote for permanent residents

This position of the executive committee of the City of Montreal, adopted Wednesday behind closed doors, is on the agenda for the next meeting of the city council, which will open on Monday.

It follows a report made public in April 2021 by the Commission on Social Development and Diversity Montreal, whose members, from several political families, had been given the mandate to examine the right to vote for residents, regardless of their statustwo years before.

The six recommendations she unanimously adopted last year were finally accepted by the administration, which said at the time that it had no intention of moving on the file before the election.

A jogger passing near a Projet Montréal election sign.

The last municipal elections took place on November 7, 2021.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

The executive committee would therefore like all permanent residents aged 18 and over to be able to vote as of the municipal elections of 2025, provided that they reside for at least 12 months on the territory of the City of Montreal. He would even like to make them eligible for elected office.

To do this, however, it would be necessary to modify certain laws, recognizes the Plante administration, which undertakes to make the necessary representations in Quebec and Ottawa, but also with the Union des municipalités du Québec (UMQ) in order, says- her to lead concerted action by members.

In particular, she would like section 47 of the Quebec law on elections and referendums in municipalities to be amended to allow the exercise of the right to vote and the eligibility to permanent residents.

The population of Montreal is made up of 9.2% permanent residents, or 169,185 people, according to a presentation made by the Clerk’s Office on November 3, 2020 cited in the report of the Commission on Social Development and Montreal’s Diversity.

Of this number, it is estimated that 105,151 people could qualify as voters in Montreal.

Last fall, there were 1,111,100 voters in Montreal, about 32,000 less than in 2017. Of this number, 425,766 voted for mayor, for a turnout of 38.32%.

A suggestion that does not date from yesterday

The idea of ​​extending the right to vote to new immigrants who have not yet received their citizenship is not new: it has been debated for several years elsewhere in Canada, as was the case recently in British Columbia, Manitoba and in New Brunswick.

That being said, no government, whether provincial or federal, has yet agreed to change the laws relating to this issue.

Projet Montréal – the political party led by Valérie Plante – had promised to expand voter status ahead of the 2017 municipal elections, but this commitment had not been respected. Moreover, he no longer appeared in the party’s electoral platform last year.

According to the Commission on Social Development and Montreal Diversity, 45 countries grant the right to vote to non-citizens and [au] least 15 Canadian cities are considering its implementation or have voted in favorincluding Toronto and Vancouver.

Its report last year was inspired in particular by the report of the Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM) on systemic racism and discrimination, published in June 2020, when the organization was chaired by Dominique Ollivier, who is now at the head of the executive committee of the Municipality.

With information from Benoît Chapdelaine

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