'They cannot vote': N.B. organization gives immigrants a voice for provincial election
HALIFAX -- Less than two days before New Brunswick's provincial election, one organization is reminding candidates of the significant segment of the population that doesn’t get to have their say at the ballot box.
Immigrants who are permanent residents are who Dialogue NB are referring to and call the forgotten New Brunswickers.
"They cannot vote. So, those are lost votes, if you will," said Nadine Duguay-Lemay with Dialogue NB. "So we wanted to make sure that their concerns were heard and then can put them forward to the party leaders before Election Day on September 14."
According to the non-profit organization, Dialogue NB says there are over 33,000 immigrants in New Brunswick; 13,000 of which are permanent residents.
Since immigrants with permanent residents don’t have the right to vote, Dialogue NB teamed up with the New Brunswick Multicultural Council to find out what election issues are important to them.
Topping the list was immigrant support and minority representation.
"Meaning, I live here, I'm a permanent resident but I don’t see the representation of my council say at municipal council, at caucus, at the legislation assembly," said Duguay-Lemay.
Other concerns put forward include economic growth and equal access to employment.
Moncef Lakouas, the president of the New Brunswick Multicultural Council, has been campaigning since 2014 to give permanent residents the right to vote in New Brunswick.
"They come here, they invest, they pay taxes," said Lakouas. "The only thing they can't do is run in an election or vote for someone they think is representing them."
The Multicultural Council has put out a survey ahead of the election to the major political parties in New Brunswick, asking how they plan to grow the population and support newcomers.
"Immigration matters, immigration is definitely an economic driver, a political driver, a social and also population driver in New Brunswick and we want to make sure politicians talk about immigration," said Lakouas.