|EDITOR’S NOTE: Following this article, Coun. Laurel Collins conceded her statement was misleading and has notified the media to run a correction which has been done.|
The Assertion: In a Feb. 13, 2019 article “Voting rights considered for permanent residents” in Vic News and other Black Press publications in the Victoria region City of Victoria Coun. Laurel Collins was interviewed following a motion to urge voting rights for permanent residents.
The motion will be brought forward to the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities annual convention and the Union of B.C. municipalities for approval as well as being forwarded to the Premier and the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
A permanent resident is someone who has been given permanent resident status by immigrating to Canada, but is not a Canadian citizen. Permanent residents are citizens of other countries. A person in Canada temporarily, like a student or foreign worker, is not a permanent resident, according to Stats Canada.
Coun. Collins states, “For me, 18 per cent of residents in the CRD are immigrants. They’re our neighbours, friends…Many are family members who have children in our schools and it’s time they have the ability to contribute to our community.”
The Facts: Indeed, 18.3 per cent or 65,610 residents in the Victoria CMA of 357,690 are ‘immigrants’ defined as ‘those who are or have been landed immigrants or permanent resident immigrants.’ Those numbers come from the 2016 Census – actually conducted in 2015 – and so are several years old.
But, by linking comments about immigrants to the permanent residents issue, Coun. Collins gives the impression there’s a substantial percentage of permanent residents who are unable to vote in local, provincial or federal elections.
In fact, there are 22,275 people who are not Canadian citizens out of a population of 357,690 citizens in the Victoria CMA, according to the Census Profile 2016. That represents 6.6 per cent of the total population who are non-citizens, which includes an unknown number who are not of voting age.
One Pinocchio Awarded: Out of a maximum of four Pinocchios, this misstatement is of a minor nature, but nevertheless misleading to the public and complicates future debate on the issue.
Municipal taxation without representation, Grumpy Taxpayers, Nov. 2018.
Census Profile, Victoria Central Metropolitan Area, 2016.
Facts and Figures: Immigration Overview, Permanent Residents, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
Permanent Residents Motion from City of Victoria council, Feb 7, 2019.
16-year-olds should get to vote in civic elections, Victoria councillors say, 8 Feb. 2019, Times Colonist.