Côte St. Luc council passed a resolution last week asking that the Quebec government modify its law to allow for mail-in voting for those who wish to do so in the Nov. 7 municipal elections, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The resolution was moved by Councillor Mike Cohen and seconded by Councillor Dida Berku.
CSL was responding to a request from the Union of Quebec Municipalities to urge Quebec to make the move. Montreal passed a similar resolution late last year, prompted by St. Laurent Mayor Alan DeSousa. Proponents have pointed out that “certain sanitary measures” related to COVID-19 may be in force even in November.
Specific to CSL, the resolution points out that the city “is composed of a senior population of over 10,000 persons in protected and non-protected homes and settings, who are at greater risk of the effects of COVID-19... the council wishes to ensure a safe electoral process and promote democracy with the maximum possible participation.”
Mayor Mitchell Brownstein pointed out that the vast majority of those who have died or are in hospital because of COVID-19, up to 90 percent, are over the age of 65, and CSL has the largest percentage of seniors in the province.
“We believe in giving them the right to vote,” the Mayor added. “All we’re asking is to find a way, particularly for the most vulnerable members of our population, to be able to participate in the democratic process.”
Cohen said that while the municipal elections are 10 months away, “does anyone really believe that we will be pandemic-free by then?
“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promises us that every Canadian will be vaccinated by the end of September,” he added. “I do not believe him. The Quebec government has decided not to give people who had their first shot the booster that Pfizer and Moderna recommended. Then there are the new variants.... We don’t want to have people afraid to leave their house, afraid to go to polling stations, afraid to be scrutineers.
“If there was a provincial election in October, you can bet they’d be doing something different.”