Canada: They're unable to vote, but these citizenship hopefuls have watchful eye on election - - PressFrom - Canada
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Canada They're unable to vote, but these citizenship hopefuls have watchful eye on election

19:45  21 october  2019
19:45  21 october  2019 Source:   cbc.ca

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Cinthia Wozney has been living in Canada for 14 years, but without citizenship, she's unable to vote.

But that doesn't mean she isn't engaged and interested in the political landscape.

"I feel I'm part of Canada and I need to put my little thing [check] for voting. In my opinion — my own opinion," Wozney said.

Wozney, originally from Mexico, lived in Alberta for nine years before moving with her husband to his hometown, St. John's, four years ago.

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She has been able to apply for citizenship for a while, but her financial priorities where elsewhere.

"When I have the money [to] apply … I need to pay rent or bills or something, so I use the money for that," she said.

Wozney's husband and his whole family are "really into politics," she said, hosting viewing sessions to watch results roll in. With plans to get her citizenship in the next year, Wozney is looking forward to eventually casting her ballot.

"Maybe next time. Next voting season."

Her son Andre Figueroa, 19, has spent most of his life growing up in Canada, but is also not a citizen.

"Like my mom says, I feel Canadian, I feel like I'm part of Canada now, just the only thing that doesn't say that is my passport — it doesn't say Canada on it," he said.

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Like his mother, that doesn't mean Figueroa isn't invested in what's happening in federal politics.

"It's weird having an opinion and views on all these different parties and knowing who you want to vote for, and you're ready to vote, but at the end of the day, you can't, because you're a permanent resident and you dont have your Canadian citizenship," he said.

"I'm looking forward to having my Canadian citizenship. I know it's only one vote, but that one vote is our voice and it counts, and all those add up and make an impact at the end of the day. So for sure, I'm excited to get my citizenship and have a say."

Figueroa recently graduated from Holy Heart of Mary High School, and is looking at post-secondary options for January. He and his friends always talk about who they think is better for Canada, and the changes they want to see.

"There's a few parties I know who are trying to bring down the interest on student loans and stuff like that, and it's the stuff like that I can see it impacting me, so I obviously want to have a say in that," he said.

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"But hopefully that's why in the future when I get my citizenship, I will definitely vote."

No vote, no voice

Being unable to vote is a strange feeling for Jae-hong Jin, who moved to St. John's from South Korea with his wife seven years ago.

The two are moving forward with their permanent residency paperwork, with the hopes to become citizens eventually.

"Since my 20s, I never miss any vote in my life. I always go and vote," he said.

In the years he's been in Newfoundland, Jin said there's been great political upheavals in South Korea, with two former presidents jailed.

Jin said he remembers people feeling hopeless in former political climates, but people eventually were able to change things — through voting.

"If you don't vote, you can't actually make any voice in the political system," he said.

As immigrants to Canada, Jin said he and his wife feel that being unable to vote makes them essentially "invisible" in the system.

With a long-term plan for living here, Jin said he looks forward to one day being able to have a voice on the issues that directly affect him, including the economy and immigration.

"For some people, that's actually far from their everyday life, but for some people, they actually directly relate to their job or their economy, or their family, or [when] they're a minority," he said.

"Voting is actually the only way you can express your existence here in the political system."

Laval Police say people are calling 911 to get information about where to vote .
The force tweeted the information Monday afternoon, urging people to visit Elections Canada's website instead.The force urged people to visit Elections Canada's website instead.

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