White Paper Commits to Exploring Municipal Voting Rights for NB Permanent Residents
The New Brunswick Multicultural Council is celebrating the inclusion of two principle recommendations it provided to the province’s recently released White Paper on Local Governance Reform. The paper, titled Working Together for Vibrant and Sustainable Communities, is a plan dedicated to improving local governance reform in the province. Among its priorities is a formal commitment to explore municipal voting rights for New Brunswick permanent residents. Acknowledging the key role newcomers play in our province’s population health and sustainability, the paper also recognizes the importance of developing community based population growth strategies.
NBMC is the umbrella organization for all settlement agencies in New Brunswick and participated in several consultations and dialogues with the Minister of Local Government’s office throughout its development and release of the White Paper. Commenting on the release,
Moncef Lakouas, president of NBMC said, “Having two of our key recommendations included in the plan is not only good for present and prospective newcomers in our province, it is a bold step forward in the drive to make our communities stronger, richer, and better connected.”
Lakouas is especially invested in municipal voting rights for permanent residents. “By formally committing to exploring this issue, New Brunswick is demonstrating that it is as invested in retaining newcomers as it is in attracting them. In providing a truly meaningful measure of inclusion, New Brunswick has the potential to reveal itself as a real leader in welcoming and settling newcomers. Permanent Residents contribute to the communities they live in, giving them the ultimate measure of their voice is only going to increase the strength and reach of New Brunswick’s voice.”
NBMC’s recommendations stem from decades of newcomer settlement experience, input from its 17 member agencies, and two provincial engagement and awareness tours, New Conversations. Particular focus was drawn to the enhanced role municipalities and regional service commissions should play in coordinating, supporting and enhancing the settlement and integration experience of newcomers in their area. To this end, NBMC is excited to see the inclusion of the development of regional strategies, including population growth and newcomer integration and retention, as a key recommendation in the White Paper.
“Our strong immigration targets mean our communities will grow and change significantly in the decades to come, and NBMC believes we all have a role to play in attracting, integrating and retaining newcomers – regional strategies and collaboration are key to achieving these goals in our communities,” added Ginette Gautreau, Executive Director at NBMC. “Several communities across the province have successfully developed population growth strategies and community-based collaboration models. The dream is for all regions across the province to follow suit and NBMC is prepared to support this process.”