The difference a vote can make

I was at the dog park this week speaking with a young 29 year old elector who told me he had absolutely no interest in voting. We chatted for a bit about the importance of getting out to vote but I couldn’t persuade him to participate because to him, one vote wouldn’t make a difference. It got me to thinking – how many local government elections are shaped by one vote – one elector?

I heard a story ages ago from the Mayor of the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality Mayor Gary Foster about his election to council in the 90s where he tied with the last place candidate. Both candidates went before a judge to make a determination and that judge drew names from a hat, and declared him the winner of the election. According to The Candidate’s Guide for Local Government Elections in BC, this is still a current practice and there are two ways to deal with a tie: drawing names from a hat, or doing a runoff ballot.

So going back to the question: does your vote really matter – can one vote really make a difference? I reviewed all the voting data from every local government election in 2018 and found some interesting examples that prove one vote really does make a difference.

Anmore, Burns Lake, Highlands, Keremeos, Lion’s Bay, Lytton, McBride, Midway, New Hazelton, North Saanich, Radium Hot Springs, Silverton, Telkwa, Trail, and Zeballos had councils where every candidate was acclaimed. One could argue that a single person putting forward their nominations papers could have produced an entirely different outcome in the election.

In Belcarra, the last place elected councillor won by just one vote, and in Armstrong, Cumberland, Gold River, Greenwood, Pouce Coupe, Powell River, Sparwood, and Squamish, the last place elected councillor won by just two votes. Those communities where the last place elected councillor won by less than 10 votes: Qualicum, Slocan, Hazelton, Merritt, Sicamous, Creston, Port Alice, Sayward, Logan Lake, Coquitlam, New Denver, and Barriere.

Here’s the full list ending with Nanaimo, which had the biggest spread between the last place elected councillor with a 2564 vote spread.

CommunityVote Difference
Burns Lake0
Lion’s Bay0
New Hazelton0
North Saanich0
Radium Hot Springs0
Gold River2
Pouce Coupe2
Powell River2
Port Alice6
Logan Lake8
New Denver9
Fort St James12
Queen Charlotte15
Port Edward18
Port McNeill19
West Vancouver20
 100 Mile House21
Sun Peaks22
West Kelowna23
Alert Bay25
Hudson’s Hope25
Cache Creek26
Fraser Lake26
Port Hardy27
Canal Flats32
Grand Forks34
Dawson Creek35
North Cowichan36
Fort St John37
Tumbler Ridge53
Port Alberni57
Port Clements65
Campbell River84
Harrison Hot Springs90
Maple Ridge92
Williams Lake97
White Rock99
District North Vancouver101
Salmon Arm101
City of North Vancouver137
Lake Cowichan151
Northern Rockies165
Prince Rupert165
Port Moody171
View Royal187
Bowen Island286
Pitt Meadows374
Oak Bay398
Central Saanich432
Port Coquitlam565
Prince George692
New Westminster1298
Full dataset can be viewed here.

It might not seem like your vote makes a difference but it can and it does. So, this election, we have two more days of advanced voting opportunities and general voting day for you to get out and cast your vote. It very well could be the difference between your candidate getting elected or not.

Where to vote this municipal election

This October, British Columbians across the province will take part in the 2022 General Local Elections. This is a great opportunity to participate in how you want to see our great city run. In the City of Prince George, there are 9 electable positions available on general voting day: 1 mayor and 8 councillors. I encourage every eligible voter to get out and vote – at the advanced polls, on general voting day or through a mail ballot.

Here’s how to vote:

The City of Prince George uses same-day elector registration – this means that you don’t need to register to vote in advance. To vote, show up to a polling station with you two pieces of identification to prove y our place of residence (or property ownership) and identity. Eligible resident electors include the following:

  • Those 18 years of age or older on general voting day;
  • A Canadian citizen;
  • A resident of BC for at least six (6) months immediately before the day of registration;
  • A resident of the municipality on the day of registration (no minimum days required);
  • Not disqualified under the Local Government Act or any other enactment from voting in the election and not otherwise disqualified by law.

Please note that non-resident property electors who own real property in the municipality are eligible to vote in in addition to the points above, if they were the own 30 days before the election; additionally, only persons who are registered owners of the real property, either as joint tenants or tenants in common, are individuals who are not holding the property in trust for a corporation or another trust are eligible to vote.

Here’s where to vote on General Voting Day

Advance Voting Opportunities include:

  • Wednesday, October 5, 2022 – Civic Centre
  • Thursday, October 6, 2022 – Civic Centre
  • Tuesday, October 11, 2022 – UNBC (7-170 Bentley Centre)
  • Wednesday, October 12, 2022 – CN Centre

General Voting Day is Saturday, October 15, 2022 from 8:00am – 8:00pm at the following locations:

  • Blackburn Elementary
  • College Heights Secondary
  • DP Todd Secondary
  • Edgewood Elementary
  • John McInnis Learning Centre
  • Prince George & Conference Civic Centre
  • Shas Ti Kelly Road Secondary
  • Vanway Elementary

Here’s why voting is important

For the last several elections, we’ve seen low voter turnout. Getting out to vote ensures that your voice is heard and represented in the votes around the council table on the things that matter most to you. When you vote, you are choosing who will represent you. So this election, be sure to take the time to ensure your voice is heard as we re-elect our next mayor and council.

Councillor Cori Ramsay seeking re-election in 2022 municipal election

August 31, 2022

Prince George, BC – Today, City of Prince George incumbent Cori Ramsay announced her intentions to seek re-election for the position of councillor in the 2022 municipal election. First elected in 2018, Ramsay has served the community as a strong advocate and collaborative leader for the last four years.

Over the course of the term Ramsay was appointed to the city’s Finance & Audit Committee, Accessibility Committee, and the Select Committee on Poverty Reduction. Additionally, Ramsay also ran for election to the North Central Local Government Association (NCLGA) board and during her time on the board (2019 – Present) became President (2021-2022) of the association representing 39 local governments across northern BC.

Last year, Ramsay was appointed to the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) Board, and currently sits on the Health and Social Development and Indigenous Relations Committees. She intends to run for election to the UBCM board this September at the associations Annual General Meeting (AGM).

Key priorities Ramsay hopes to focus on in the upcoming term include, but are not limited to:

  • Health and social well-being of our community, namely, the complex social issues impacting our community such as homelessness, mental health and addictions. 
  • Strategic and targeted advocacy 
  • Strong economic growth and resiliency
  • Infrastructure reinvestment
  • Art, culture, recreation, parks, trails, transit and green spaces
  • Truth and Reconciliation
  • Climate mitigation and adaptation

On running for re-election, Ramsay says this: “I will continue to work hard for the residents of Prince George. It is so important to have young voices and female representation around the council table and I hope you will vote for strong advocacy and collaborative leadership on October 15th as you head to the polls to cast your ballot.”

Cori Ramsay grew up living in poverty in the lower mainland and moved to Prince George at the age of 15 to come live with her Aunt and Uncle. She went on to study at UNBC, graduating with a English Literature degree in 2010. She complete her graduate diploma in public relations at UVIC in 2022 and currently works as Lead Marketing Analyst for Integris Credit Union.

To learn more about Cori Ramsay, visit


Media Enquiries:

Cori Ramsay

So you want to learn about our housing market?

Over the last six years I have calculated the Living Wage for Prince George in addition to other communities in Northern BC and I’ve learned a great deal about various aspects of the calculation, housing being one of those things. When the city launched their housing needs assessment survey this week I couldn’t be more thrilled. Here’s why…

The data is only as good as the info collected

Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC) is a crown corporation governed by Parliament. They are Canada’s national housing agency and a lot of our national housing data comes from their research. There are a couple things I find concerning with their methodology, the biggest one being accuracy.

Taking one look at our market housing data it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that there is no way a 3 bedroom rental in Prince George costs $950 a month. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a one bedroom for that amount. (Note: $950 represents the median rent for a 3+ bedroom in Prince George; the median is used instead of average in the living wage calculation so that luxury rentals don’t skew the data).

According to CMHC, “the survey is conducted on a sample basis in all urban areas with populations of 10,000 or more, and targets only privately initiated structures with at least three rental units, which have been on the market for at least three months.” Here are the issues I have with the methodology:

  1. “Sample” data never gives you a full picture because it only represents a subset of the thing you’re looking at. Yes, it does allow you to make inferences but this with the other issues below muddies the waters too much for my liking.
  2. The sample data, as far as I can see, doesn’t seem to be defined (at least it’s not listed in the CMHC methodology glossary so not having this readily available makes me question the transparency of the data). Is it a 25%, 50%, or 75% sample set of the market rental housing data?
  3. Only 31 of the 107 communities in British Columbia have populations over 10,000 which means that this data is only representative of 28% of communities in BC so there’s a lot of housing data being excluded.
  4. “Privately initiated structures with at least three rental units” means that the survey is missing out on a lot of rental units, especially in communities that allow secondary suites. It also means that smaller communities who are less likely to have more multifamily housing don’t actually get an accurate read on their housing market.

Independent Research: A Housing Needs Assessment

We know the CMHC Market Rental Housing data isn’t really representative of communities, so how do we fix this? The answer is the Housing Needs Assessment. Communities are now mandated to do a housing needs assessment every five years and this year, the City of Prince George is undertaking this assessment.

So how you can help? Do the survey by September 30th. By collecting data from residents, we can get a more comprehensive snapshot of what our housing market looks like without relying solely on CMHC data samples. Of course, the less people who do the survey, the smaller our own survey sample will be so encourage your neighbours, friends, and family who live in Prince George to do the survey because we want our sample to be as comprehensive as possible.

What can we do with the data once we have it?

According to the Cities Economic Development Manager Melissa Barcellos, “Housing needs reports provide a snapshot of the current community demographics, the housing supply, and anticipated future housing needs. They are a tool for local governments to plan for future housing development.” I couldn’t agree more with this statement. I also think there are a couple other benefits.

Once we have a comprehensive overview of our market housing data, we can advocate better for the type of housing we need in our community. We know there’s a shortage of supportive, affordable, senior, student, and diversified housing stock, but knowing it because we live here and being able to prove it are two different things. Survey’s confirm or disprove hypotheses and I’m certain this survey will prove what we know and help us with our housing advocacy moving forward.

How the data relates to the living wage

When data is collected for the Living Wage, calculators like myself are highly aware that the final living wage figure really is the lowest amount a person can earn without going into debt to just live in their community. It is a bare bones calculation and relying on CMHC for housing data greatly impacts that final living wage figure. Data collected from the housing needs assessment can be used in the Living Wage calculation as an alternative data source (communities that have already completed their assessments are already using this data in living wage calculations) and since the city is required to do a housing needs assessment every five years, we can add the CPI inflationary increases to the housing needs assessment data until the new survey is complete for a more accurate representations of our housing costs.

The why behind the ask

I’m a firm believer of informed decision making and our data – a lot of what we base our decisions off of – is only as good as the information we have. I wrote this blog to help give a more comprehensive overview of the why behind this ask in hopes that more residents will understand the importance of the housing needs assessment and take action by filling out the survey. If you’re not from Prince George, be sure to reach out to your own community and ask them about your housing needs assessment.

If I’ve missed something you think should be included or if you ever want to have a conversation about housing, market research, or even nerd out over census data, please reach out to me. My contact details can be found on the Contact section of my website.

All my best,


In opposition of nuisance bylaws

I like to think of myself as a strategic problem solver and a critical thinker. I read my council agenda packages front to back and do independent research trying to absorb as much as possible in preparation for every meeting to be sure I am making informed decisions on whatever matter comes before me. The City of Prince George Safe Streets Bylaw came before council several times and I’ve been opposed because I’ve read about these bylaws in other communities and they are proven to not work.

So let’s start with what exactly is a Safe Streets Bylaw? It is in effect a nuisance bylaw that prohibits people from sitting, lying, soliciting or physically approaching in a manner that causes an obstruction on a street or roadway. It prohibits soliciting within ten meters of a bank, ATM, bus stop, daycare centre, liquor store, cannabis retailer, restaurant, coffee shop, or convenience store. The bylaw goes on to include solicitation prohibitions for parked vehicles, vehicles at traffic control signals, gas stations, and vehicles on the road.

The solicitation that is allowed under this bylaw is restricted and not allowed after sunset on any given day. The bylaw further disallows open drug use, disposal of drug paraphernalia in a public place, open air burning in a public place, and graffiti where it is visible from a public place. This bylaw attempts to change what Bylaw Services deems to be unacceptable behaviour and fines individuals for non-compliance.

The City of Prince George is not the first community to pass a nuisance bylaw, in fact many other communities have passed some form of nuisance bylaw. Some outright call it a nuisance bylaw, some call it a panhandling bylaw, some even call it a good neighbour bylaw. Here are some examples: Salmon Arm, Campbell River, Maple Ridge, Kamloops, Kelowna, Duncan, New Westminster, Calgary, Mission, Oshwa, Red Deer, Victoria, Enderby, Saskatoon, Swift Current.

This bylaw seems to be saying ‘homeless people should be unseen and unheard.’ Ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away – this is Life 101 – so why is this situation any different? The bylaw is not fair or equitable. It relies on judgement from Bylaw officers and they’re not going to ticket your granny for sitting in front of a coffee shop, so how is it fair that someone who looks different should get a ticket?

This bylaw is intended to change undesirable behaviour. Think about the last time you got a ticket, a fine, a late fee – was your immediate response, hmmm better shape up? I’ve gotten speeding tickets, parking tickets, late fees and every single time my first response was anger and frustration – even if I was in the wrong. I am convinced that this bylaw is going to have the opposite intended affect: we are going to see more destructive behaviour; it’s going to increase crime, vandalism, and the lawlessness that’s occurring. It’s also going to break any trust we have built up making it harder in the long run to make progress on this issue. It’s a band-aid and band-aids don’t actually solve the problem.

We know what we need to make change happen in our community. We need a treatement center for women and youth. We need a sobering center. We need low and no barrier housing and more variety/stock. We need partners like Northern Health, the Province, the Federal Government, RCMP, to come to the table. We need consultation with people with lived experience, Indigenous, BIPOC, LGBTQ+ groups and others to understand the root of the issue better. We need a place for people to go during the day. The pandemic has reduced the number of people being served indoors by our social service agencies; if agencies occupancy numbers don’t increase, the only place for homeless individuals to hang out during the day is on the street.

If we had all the things we needed, perhaps I would consider this type of bylaw. But I believe there are other avenues that we need to exhaust first before implementing a nuisance bylaw.

I tried really hard to stop this bylaw from going through. I moved postponement on the bylaw when we looked at it in June, knowing that should the encampments get dissolved without housing options in place, people would move back to sleeping in doorways, on sidewalks, in parks, and these individuals would be disproportionately affected by the bylaw. I called for a change to the definition of the word Emergency in the Emergency Programs Act. This would give us funds to provide accommodation and food to our homeless population similar to how we can when taking in evacuees from wildfires and other natural disasters. I moved that we ask BC Housing to include ‘No Barrier Housing’ options in their housing strategy. Interesting fact: the word no barrier does not exist on the BC Housing site – not even in their glossary. We need to meet people where they’re at and stop requiring them to meet our list of demands or ticky box barriers in order to receive help.

My commitment to you is that I will continue to work hard for a safe, clean, and inclusive community but the city can’t do this alone. As a city, our mandate really comes down to land use and governance – health care and housing don’t really fall under our jurisdiction but we can advocate for these things. In order to do this though, we need your help. Here’s how you can make a difference:

  1. Write letters to your MLA, your MP, the Minister of Housing, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, Minister of Mental Health and Addiction, and the Premier.
  2. Support rezonings for supportive housing and treatment centers and try to dispel any ‘not in my backyard’ sentiments – it has to go somewhere and if everyone continuously say no to this important social infrastructure being in their neighbourhood, we will never make progress this issue.
  3. Get out and vote for the change you want to see.
  4. Anytime any level of government asks for feedback, be sure to provide comment and encourage others to do the same.
  5. And finally, if you’re invited to some sort of consultation, look around the room and ask yourself this: is everyone who should be here present? If not, big red flag.

I believe that we can solve this complex and challenging issue but we need to do it together. If you have more ideas on how to make a difference in our community, be sure to check out my Contact page and get in touch. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks for your continued support,


On becoming a city councillor

I work in marketing and communication and write blogs, website content, internal and external communications, annual reports, social media posts, editorials, you name it, for work every day. When I first got elected, I had every intention of writing a blog so you could follow along on my elected journey. Well, turns out this is the hardest job I’ve ever had with a steep learning curve and so I’m finally making time to share a relatively brief overview of some learnings over my last three years on council.

The hardest job I’ve ever had

I have to say that this is the hardest job I’ve ever had. There is not really anything that can prepare you for the steep learning curve. Stepping into this role you’re immediately expected to understand policy, governance, the inner workings of a bajillion different bylaws, capital projects, municipal budgets, meeting procedures, and ultimately what it means to be accountable to taxpayers who give you hundreds of millions of dollars to run a city. You typically read anywhere from 300-1000 pages of reports per council meeting and that increases if there’s a closed meeting or if you’re on committees (I’m on Finance & Audit, Poverty Reduction, and Accessibility). I am by no means a fast reader and spend hours upon hours prepping for every meeting. The one saving grace to this steep learning curve is your colleagues, who are all going through this experience together and I am grateful for the mentorship, phone calls, meetings, and conversations that have deepened my knowledge base.

Debating publicly

Besides the learning curve, there’s also understanding how to debate publicly. I grew up in sea cadets and had to sit boards – this is where a panel of four or five high ranking officers interview you and ask you test questions and you have to give verbal answers. I think this prepared me for public speaking because it has never really been something that I had any concern over.

Being good at public speaking and forming arguments in a live debate are two completely different things. I enjoy debate but it’s not something I learned growing up and had to figure out during my time on council. Here are two important lessons I’ve learned: 1) everything you say is recorded and amplified so be sure to say what you mean and be clear, and 2) you will work with your council colleagues for four years so don’t leave the table angry. Everyone around the council table brings a unique perspective and you’re not always going to agree on every issue – but you might agree on some. When you debate issues, you have to remember that everyone is doing what they think is best for the community and at the end of the day, there’s no reason to be angry about that.

The worst days

There are days on this job where people call you names. They misjudge your character, your reasoning, they make assumptions about where you’re coming from, and they even bully you. And it hurts, a lot. You have to have thick skin, an amazing support network, and a good self-care routine in place so you don’t always focus on the negative. Even on the worst days I still love this job. I love governance and policy development; I am a complete finance nerd and enjoy learning more and more about our budget and what each line represents. I have a background in public relations and marketing / communications so I never expected to be learning about things like municipal capital projects, sewer, water, utilities, permissive tax exemptions, formal hearings, quasi judicial hearings – and most of that during a global pandemic. But being on council and continuously learning about the inner workings of our city has become a great source of joy.

Moving the mountain

Change might seem like an easy thing to accomplish on a municipal council, but getting your eight council colleagues to agree with you is not always the easiest task. The biggest change I’ve accomplished on council to date is a push for a reduction to the city managers budget amendment authority (maybe that should be it’s own blog…) and I couldn’t be happier to see those changes supported by my council colleagues. This is policy change that will impact our city for as long as it remains in effect.

My Why

Years ago my work showed this Simon Sinek video on How Great Leaders Inspire Action and ever since then, talking about our ‘Why’ has become common practice. My ‘Why’ for running for council is simple: I love this community and I want to help make a difference.

Onwards and Upwards

Up next for me: I can’t wait until the UBCM Virtual Conference this September when I will be appointed for a one year term position to their board (the Presidents of each area association are appointed to the board and as I currently sit as the President of NCLGA, I will join UBCM in September).

I am very slow to respond to email so if you ever have any questions or want to reach out, please do. The best way to get in touch is to text or call me and you can find my contact details on the contact page of my site.

If you made it this far, thanks for coming along on this journey with me. I have loved every step of it along the way.

All my best,