Dave Price has a bit of a spotty voting record. He has been living in Canada and Flin Flon since 1970, but having grown up in the U.K. and not being a Canadian citizen, he never had a chance to cast a ballot as a Canadian.
That changed when Price got his Canadian citizenship in 2017. Now in his seventies, Price finally got his chance to mark a provincial ballot this year and will also be voting for a national government for the first time in decades Oct. 21.
“I came to Flin Flon quite by chance because there was this geology job here,” Price said.
“[I thought] it was very likely that I wouldn't be around here for a whole length of time. That was not high on my agenda, then following 9/11, things tightened up about ID and citizenship.”
Price was considered a “permanent citizen,” but took the jump to citizenship to avoid the hassle of continuously having to renew. He was sworn in as a Canadian citizen in 2017 at a ceremony in Thompson.
“It's so much pain, [renewing permanent citizenship]. I thought, ‘I'm not planning on going anywhere else, it's finally time to take the citizenship,’” he said with a laugh.
“That turned out to be less of a hassle than renewing the permanent residence card... There were 70 or 80 other people from all over northern Manitoba [in Thompson], including a few from Flin Flon. We got the job done.”
As a U.K. citizen, at one point Price was allowed to vote in Canadian elections, but those rights were eventually lost. He wasn’t even able to vote in municipal elections for a while.
“[I had] to make sure I was registered as a voter,” Price said.
“So I got that done for the provincial election, and then I thought, ‘I better check with the feds.’ Apparently they knew who I am. They said, ‘Yeah, sure. You're in.’”
Price said his experience receiving his Canadian citizenship alongside people from other countries hammered home how important marking your ballot can be.
“I'm from the U.K., the mother of Parliaments, so voting was something that was normal,” he said.
“Of course, for folks who've come to Canada from countries that are not democratic, voting is not so normal for them. For me to be voting is normal and something that I would naturally do. I was just prevented from doing it for a while.”
Price said that voting is something everyone should do if they are able.
“A lot of people who don't vote say, ‘Well, my vote is not going to make a difference,’ but for me, if you've got that privilege, you better be exercising it,” he said.
“That's what I did in the provincial and that's what I'm planning to do in the federal.”
Price, who is heavily involved in the community, said it was easy to make a decision when marking his ballot.
“I'm active and of course, I'm aware of issues,” he said.
“I've got my view of the world. It's not hard for me to figure out which way I want to vote. It’s nice to finally, after all these years, be able to [vote].”
Price said fighting climate change was his biggest priority when voting.
“If we don't do something about climate change, we're going to fry in the next few years,” he said.
“I would certainly vote for a party more likely to deal with that, because that seems to be the biggest issue. If we don't sort that, everything else is irrelevant.”