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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Landed immigrants and the right to vote



Interesting article in the Star's "Your City, My City" column regarding landed immigrants and voting rights. While the article makes it clear that non-citizens make a huge contribution to the city (including paying taxes), they are not recognized in the same way and with the same rights that citizens have.

The author, a landed immigrant since 2004, writes, "In an upcoming election where the same old tired complaints of voter apathy, disconnected wards and the lack of new faces among the political elites are loud and true, I can’t help but wonder if that would be mitigated by allowing the strong and active immigrant population to vote for changes that they deserve in the Toronto that they call home."

I can see his point on one hand - but on the other, "citizenship" with its hard-won commitment to the nation, is a reasonable requirement in my mind to instill voting rights. Yes- it's a long process. You have to spend three out of four years resident in Canada. but if you want to impact the nation, then you need to be part of it. A permanent resident has made one level of commitment to the country. A citizen's commitment is a whole other level.

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