There's a major problem with the Toronto municipal election
Diwali, a religious and cultural festival of lights celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains falls on Oct. 24 this year, the same day municipal elections will be held across the province as per a fixed election date.
Hundreds of Ontarians are criticizing the municipal election date, claiming the overlap will cost thousands of South Asian voters proper representation in the upcoming election.
I support the Indo-Caribbean Canadian Association’s request of Queen’s Park that the municipal election date be changed so it doesn’t fall on Diwali. I agree whole heartedly that voters should never have to choose between their religious observances and their civic duties. pic.twitter.com/gZ9jj2v0ZZ— Josh Matlow (@JoshMatlow) September 28, 2022
The crossover between the municipal election date and the festival means some voters will have to choose between celebrating the holiday and their civic duties.
Approx 10% of #Toronto's population identifies as one of the religions that would assumingly celebrate #Diwali. With voter turn out at an all time low, hosting a municipal election on Diwali sends a troublesome message to Torontos already racialized and marginalized citizens.— Neil Orlowsky Ph.D. 🍁 (@norlowsky) September 27, 2022
Municipal election dates are fixed under a provincial act, and the government is suggesting to those who can't make it to the polls on election day to vote by mail, through advance voting stations, or by proxy.
South Asian individuals make up huge proportions of some of the province's largest cities: Toronto (17 per cent), Markham (18 per cent), Mississauga (23 per cent), and Brampton (44 per cent).
The city says it is sending more information to culture centres and places of worship in languages such as Punjabi, Hindi, and Gujarati in order to provide diverse communities with voting details.
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