P.E.I. NDP opening door for more newcomers to join

·2 min read

The NDP of P.E.I. has passed a resolution that would allow newcomers with permanent resident status to take out a party membership.

Permanent resident is a status granted to someone who has the right to live and work in Canada while holding citizenship in another country. Permanent residents are not eligible to vote in Canadian elections, as all voters must hold Canadian citizenship, but many parties allow permanent residents to join regardless.

"We want to be inclusionary to Islanders and newcomers, and so part of that was definitely putting it in our provincial constitution," said provincial party president Jason Alward.

"We would welcome anybody to come on and join as an NDP member and again, push for a policy that reflects their situation, their concerns."

We want to work with different groups on the Island because we feel that those voices need to be heard. — Jason Alward

P.E.I.'s Green Party also allows those with permanent resident status to join the party, as do all of the major federal parties.

A person in Canada temporarily, like a student or foreign worker, is not a permanent resident.

Virtual AGM

The resolution was passed at the party's annual general meeting over the weekend, which had about 40 people attend virtually.

Alward said the newcomers will have full voting privileges for elections within the party, like the executive, or in a contested race to choose who would represent the party in an upcoming election.

"We want to work with different groups on the Island because we feel that those voices need to be heard," he said.

"Come on and push our policy forward and create policy that includes those voices that might not be heard in the legislature."

CBC
CBC

The president said the P.E.I. New Democrats are also looking at other ways to be inclusive of all Islanders, including establishing new committees.

He said the party launched a Black, Indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC) committee and a sexual orientation, gender identity committee recently.

The hope is "to bring in people into the party and have their voices heard in those groups," he said.

"There's definitely a matter of privilege in the legislature and I don't think a lot of those voices are being heard by the three parties in there right now."

P.E.I.'s NDP has not had a member elected to the legislature since then party leader Herb Dickieson in 1996. NDP candidate Lynne Thiele received 37 votes in the District 10 byelection earlier this month.

The party is currently without a leader after Joe Byrne stepped down in September after two years.

Alward said the party will have more news to share about the leadership in the coming days.

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