Lack of interest in politics remains a top reason for not voting, but for some new Canadians, that’s not necessarily the case.
Dameion Dickson lives in Scarborough and is originally from Jamaica. He recently received his Canadian citizenship and talked about his concerns regarding voting in the June 2 provincial election in an interview with the Toronto Observer. Dickson said that he feels there is a general lack of communication and guidance available to new Canadians.
“No one reached out to me directly. I don’t understand Canadian politics and I don’t know anything about voting,” Dickson said, who decided not to cast a vote in the provincial election.
Dickson pointed out that he was not enthusiastic about voting in this particular election because he believes his vote is not going to change anything. Issues he would like the Ontario government to tackle include creating affordable housing and addressing employment issues.
“They just want your votes during the election. They promise you to deliver everything,” Dickson said. The issues from the last Ontario election have not been resolved as the politicians said they would be, he said.
According to Statistics Canada, electoral process issues were more common among new Canadians and youth who did not vote in the 2021 federal election accounting for 7 per cent of reasons for not voting. Process issues include not being able to prove identity or address, lacking information about the voting process, or having issues travelling to a polling station.
Minji Park, a third-year Korean Canadian studying biology, lives in Scarborough and received her Canadian citizenship two years ago.
At the time of this interview, Park was not sure if she was going to vote in the provincial election.
“I voted last time (in the federal election), but nothing has changed. My rent is still expensive and unaffordable and I have to squeeze into a two-bedroom apartment with two other friends of mine,” she said.
The amount of time it takes to become an informed voter is a real problem for Park.
“I have three jobs a day just to pay off my rent and tuition, so I guess I don’t have time to listen to those fancy talks on television and attend those rallies,” she said.
Charlie Chen, a property manager from Scarborough, has been in Canada for more than 10 years. He received his Canadian citizenship five years ago, but he has never voted here.
“I’m a property manager. I know people who are struggling. Housing has been an issue ever since I landed in Canada. Through my job experience, I know that the housing issue is not getting better, but only worse,” Chen said.
“Housing is just another example of how other problems such as public transit, public security, racism are not solved by the system here.”
Chen is interested in political issues, and follows a number of Canadian news outlets such as CTV News and Toronto Star to stay informed.
He said people watch the news regarding local law enforcement agencies who launch programs to stop organized crimes and catch criminals, but in reality, he has customers who have had their cars stolen, and children can still hear gunshots being fired.
“It would be better for politicians to make promises that they can deliver in ways that people can see results.”