Saturday, April 21, 2012

Open Letter to Elections Alberta

Dear Mr. Fjeldheim,

I had the privilege today of voting in the Alberta Elections at an advanced poll in Edmonton-Whitemud. I was very pleased to hear that the voter turnout in the advanced polls had already eclipsed the results from last year, and I am impressed as always with the quantity and experience of volunteers that worked at the poll.

I was disappointed, though, when I saw the following sign at the polling station that laid out the conditions for voter eligibility:

Though the quality of the photo is poor, the instructions are listed in six languages. I recognized English, German, and Spanish, but I was unfamiliar with the other three (though I believe one to be mandarin). Notably absent from the poster was French.

According to the 2006 Census of Canada, the most common mother tongues in Alberta are as follows:
  • English: 80%
  • Various Chinese Languages: 3.0%
  • German: 2.6%
  • French: 1.9%
  • Punjabi: 1.1%
  • Tagalog: 0.92%
  • Ukrainian: 0.91%
  • Spanish: 0.90%
 Though I understand that at some point the number of languages included on informational posters must be limited for practicality, I must admit that I am confused and upset that French, which is both the fourth most common language in Alberta, and more importantly an official language of Canada, is not included on informational posters present at voting sites. As far as I can tell the inclusion or exclusion of languages from this poster appears to be arbitrary for languages other than the three most common.

I hope that you address these concerns in future elections.

Thank you very much, and I wish you a smooth election day on Monday.

Michael Ross
April 21, 2012