Canadian Croatians –Asserting Their Voting Rights

Folklore Ansambl “Hrvatsko Kolo” in Mississauga, Ontario
had the honour to be blessed by Archbishop Petar Rajić
in March 2019
Photo: Facebook

The Canadian paralegal specialising in International Relations (who has also worked at The Hague International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia/ICTY), also a citizen of Croatia living in Canada, Ana Katalinic, B.A., has during the past day published her letter to her Member of Parliament of Canada seeking urgent clarification as to why Croatian citizens living in Canada have been prohibited from voting on the 4th and 5th of July 2020 at the Croatian Embassy in Ottawa and Consulate in Mississauga as part of the Croatian General Elections for Croatian Parliament.

The news or notice published 5th June 2020 on the Croatian Embassy website, notifying Croatian citizens living in Canada  “that in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic and the corresponding measures implemented by Canadian authorities, due to public health reasons the Canadian government has informed that it is unable to issue permission for establishing polling stations for the upcoming Croatian parliamentary elections at the Croatian Embassy in Ottawa or the Consulate General in Mississauga…”, has stirred a great deal of disappointment and anger within the Canadian-Croatian community. This particularly so because it is a fact that Croatian elections in the diaspora are usually an orderly affair where a limited number of voters are usually permitted to enter the polling booth within Embassy or Consular premises while the others wait outside. Perfectly compliant with any general population measures at times of crisis such as Covid-19.

Croatian Embassy in Ottawa website
Photo: Screenshot

 

I DO TRUST THAT MANY CANADIAN-CROATIANS holding the Croatian citizenship will during this coming week write to their Canadian Member of Parliament, to the Prime Minister, to the Opposition MP’s etc seeking an explanation of why they cannot exercise their voting rights for Croatian elections and perhaps succeed in the polling booths being open for voting on 4th and 5th July!

Ana Katalinic wrote on 7 June 2020 a public post and here it is:

Friends have been asking what I wrote to my MP regarding the barrier for dual Canadian/Croatian citizens to vote in the upcoming Croatian elections. Respectfully, here it is.

* * *

I hope this letter finds you well. I am writing to you with an urgent request for clarification.

Members of Croatia’s diaspora with dual citizenship have the opportunity on July 5th to participate in Croatia’s parliamentary elections and cast their vote. For many of us, I cannot emphasize the importance of exercising this democratic right.

These voters in Canada normally either go to the Croatian Consulate in Mississauga or the Croatian Embassy in Ottawa, some travelling great distances to exercise this privilege and right.

We learn now, from the Croatian Embassy, that Canadian federal authorities won’t allow polling stations to be set up on July 5 at these locations due to COVID restrictions.

I am bewildered that, in this time of ambiguous COVID fear, Canadians are allowed to participate in various public protests and demonstrations, shop in big box stores, yet are denied a democratic right to cast a ballot in an organized manner at an Embassy or Consulate.

A solution can be found. The problem is, no one has tried.

With the highest respect, I would be grateful if you would investigate these questions: Is the Canadian government denying us access to the Consulate or Embassy to cast our ballots on the basis of an administrative procedure? What does that rule state exactly? Was this a rule put in place at the height of the COVID crisis? Is this decision now made by the Embassy itself? Why can’t we find an alternate solution?

I hope you will reply soonest. Thank you and please accept my best regards …”

If other Canadian-Croatians write such a letter to their Canadian MP, or similar one – urgently – then there is a real possibility of Canadian Government permitting their citizens who also have Croatian citizenship to exercise their citizenship rights by allowing Croatian diplomatic-consular missions to open polling booths on the relevant days.

So, get to it dear Croatians in Canada! Write that letter today, tomorrow – urgently! Ina Vukic

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Thank-you for the information.Will send a letter to my MP right away

    Like

  2. Good morning, Ina ! 🙂
    Thank you for the information !!! 🙂 🙂 🙂
    Alioșa ! 🙂

    Like

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