KITIMAT VIEWS: First day of advance voting is today for plebiscite

Northern Sentinel editor reminds readers today is first chance to vote in plebiscite.

Get out your voting hat, today is the first day of advance voting for the plebiscite.

Yes, that plebiscite.

Whether you’re in Kitimat, Vancouver, or anywhere in between or beyond, this plebiscite has taken the corporate and environmental world by storm. It’s a far greater beast that I ever expected.

I’ll hope that my story on page 11 will give a little insight into how it will be conducted.

What I learned from the questioning at the meeting is that the voting rules are a little more relaxed than they would be in a ‘real’ election, but in some ways it has worked out.

For one, you don’t have to be a Canadian citizen.

I’ve see remarks on the World Wide Web that seem to take issue with that, but from Douglas Channel Watch’s perspective that is actually good, as they say they learned recently there are a number of non-Canadians who have lived in Kitimat a long time who will be allowed to vote in this issue. It opens up the voting field more.

However the biggest confusion appears to be that people think camp workers will be able to vote, because of the requirement you only have had to live in Kitimat for 30 days.

But anything showing an address of a work camp doesn’t meet the “primary residence” requirement.

The potential loophole is however that a person living in an apartment here could be a temporary worker but is eligible to vote.

That will all depend if they’ve gone through the work to have Kitimat put on their government IDs.

I couldn’t say if that’s common or not among workers who live outside of camps, but I suppose that’s where the element of trust comes into play.

I personally feel that temporary workers probably don’t have the interest or time to bother to get tangled up in local politics, so in good faith I’ll assume the majority of whoever votes will be local in the truest sense.

But that just means it’s extra important for Kitimatians to cast their vote.

Sure it’s non-binding, and we don’t know exactly what will happen once the vote is done and counted, but both the company and opponents have committed a lot of time and resources into the question. It has struck a chord and even if it’s just a moral victory, the answer that Kitimat residents give at the ballot boxes will be heard far and wide.

Do not be surprised at all that Canada’s Prime Minister could be briefed on what happens here.

Even if nothing is impacted on the project in the end — whichever way it goes — we’ll be setting the tone for projects to come.

It may be slight, but the vote matters.

So get your hat on.