Today Thu Fri
It is forecast to be Thunderstorm at 11:00 PM EDT on July 30, 2014
Thunderstorm
24°/15°
It is forecast to be Chance of Rain at 11:00 PM EDT on July 31, 2014
Chance of Rain
23°/16°
It is forecast to be Chance of a Thunderstorm at 11:00 PM EDT on August 01, 2014
Chance of a Thunderstorm
25°/17°

60 Comments

news

Representative Democracy

20100426voting.jpg
Illustration by Roxanne Ignatius/Torontoist.


“I represent all the people, not just the ones who voted for me.” It’s a line many politicians are fond of, and with good reason: an elected official’s job is to represent the needs and interests of all his or her constituents, and not just the ones who offer their endorsement on election day.
But what about the people who aren’t in a position to vote at all? Who represents them?
Who Decides? Democracy, Power and the Municipal Franchise in Cities of Immigration,” a day-long conference held at UofT this past Friday, was devoted to examining this question—specifically, to considering the pros, cons, and implications of extending municipal voting rights to non-citizens. With a morning panel devoted to academic research into immigrant voting rights and patterns, both historically and in other parts of the world, and an afternoon roundtable examining the case for extending voting rights in Toronto, the conference offered a comprehensive and remarkably well-balanced examination of all the attendant issues.


Municipal voting rights in Toronto are established not by the city but by the province, via Ontario’s Municipal Elections Act. The act stipulates that in order to be eligible to vote in a municipal election a person must (a) reside in, or own or rent property in, the municipality in question, or be a spouse of a person who does; (b) be a Canadian citizen; and (c) be at least eighteen years of age. (The provisions about owning or renting property, according to one of the day’s speakers, professor Myer Siemiatycki, hearken back to nineteenth century norms which had property rights underwriting representation.) This voting scheme meant that in the 2006 election, 380,135 non-citizen Toronto residents (or 15.4% of the population) were unable to vote. Even more striking is that, because immigrant communities often cluster geographically, some neighbourhoods have more than 30% non-citizen residents, rendering elections in some wards far less participatory than others.
Among those non-citizen residents are several groups, including permanent residents who have not filed for citizenship or have not been here long enough to become eligible for it yet, temporary foreign workers, and non-status residents (who are here without official documentation). Most proposals for extending the vote focus on the first group, permanent residents, as this is the demographic that is already most involved in civic life and has cleared a significant number of hurdles on their path to citizenship.
Among the most interesting points raised against extending voting rights:

  • If everything goes smoothly, the path to citizenship takes three years to five years, and there is a very high naturalization rate among Canadian permanent residents. Several speakers argued that this isn’t a particularly long process, and that it is reasonable to withhold voting rights for that length of time, which immigrants need in order to become acclimatized and acquainted with Canada and with their local political landscape.
  • Separating the vote from citizenship risks devaluing citizenship. Marcus Gee, columnist for the Globe and Mail, argued that voting is one of the privileges inherent to the concept of citizenship, and that it is by becoming a citizen that a person “make[s] the simple statement of belonging to the polity.”

And the arguments in favour:

  • The notion that voting rights are inherent to citizenship is actually mistaken. Just who has the vote has changed a great deal over time, and it is within our purview to revise enfranchisement to match our values.
  • As for what those values are, Maytree chair Alan Broadbent contended that enfranchisement is a tool for attracting and integrating immigrants into our society, and that voting rights encourage new Torontonians to become active in civic life from the outset. “Successful immigration doesn’t happen just by chance,” he said, and we will need to increasingly rely on immigration to maintain and expand our city’s prosperity.
  • I Vote Toronto project leader (and Torontoist contributor) Desmond Cole picked up on this theme, saying that the intention or effect of extending the vote would not be to undermine citizenship but rather to acknowledge that “it is a bit of a blunt object” when it comes to fine-grained municipal issues: “Are we going to really conflate belonging in a community with…national identity?” (He went on to argue: “If you move to Toronto from Yellowknife tomorrow, you are eligible to vote in Toronto tomorrow. Move here from New York City and it’s whenever you’re naturalized. Citizenship isn’t the right litmus test for preparedness to understand and take part in local politics.”)
  • Councillor Janet Davis (Ward 31, Beaches-East York) gave a particularly interesting account of the impact of voting rights on politicians. When a politician knows “that possibly ten percent of the people [they] serve can’t make that judgement [of who should be elected], can’t express their views, there is a fundamental bias in the representation provided by city councillors, potentially.” This can effect campaigns as well: as Davis pointed out, if you have limited resources to communicate, you will target areas with a high proportion of registered voters.

While granting voting rights to non-citizens is counter-intuitive to many, it’s something that is in effect in many cities around the world and has precedent on this continent as well. (According to another speaker, Ron Hayduk, non-citizens voted in local, state, and federal elections in the U.S. from 1776-1926 in forty states. The rights were eventually revoked due to anti-immigrant backlashes.) And there is, arguably, something especially apt about considering such a move in Toronto, with its particularly high levels of immigration. Said Siemiatycki, “Toronto’s official brand is cosmopolitanism and inclusion…yet few cities in the western world are home to more municipally disenfranchised residents: one in seven.”
“We cannot treat the world as a global economic village but define it as a collection of remote islands for the purposes of political participation.” So said American jurist Jamin Raskin, and so repeated many of the conference speakers, following in his footsteps. So too are saying a small but growing number of Torontonians.

Comments

  • http://undefined joeclark

    For “a small but growing number of Torontonians,” read “a delusional antidemocratic fringe.” Arguing that the requirements for voting have changed over time is not a viable claim that today’s requirements are in error. You have to be a citizen to vote, not merely present in this city for a day, to use one cited example.
    Here’s a punchline for you: When a large bloc of immigrant citizens vote, it’s called democracy. When a large bloc of noncitizen immigrants do, it’s called a coup d’état.

  • http://undefined Green Sulfur

    Have you written the prime minister of New Zealand to notify him of the immigrant junta that has taken over his nation?
    Another punchline for you: stop being a xenophobe.

  • http://piorkowski.ca/ qviri

    “Separating the vote from citizenship risks devaluing citizenship.”
    That’s not quite right. Permanent residency de facto devalues citizenship already. In my experience, in practical terms all you get after obtaining citizenship is voting and easier border crossing.
    I agree that citizenship isn’t the right litmus test for municipal elections.

  • http://paul.kishimoto.name Paul Kishimoto

    Thanks for that :)
    Almost makes me wonder what it was that eventually got digested into that particular nugget of crazy.

  • http://undefined LittleMousling

    “If everything goes smoothly, the path to citizenship takes three years to five years”
    Only if the person enters as a permanent resident. I’ll have been in Canada for upwards of seven before I’m a citizen, between student visas, work permits, and the time it takes to become a permanent resident. (Though to be fair, I’ll be able to become a citizen soon after that.)

  • http://undefined Peter K

    There has to be some benefits of being a citizen.
    Let’s cut the crap and be frank. Opening voting to non-citizens is a thinly veiled ploy by the left to try to stack the system in their favour since they believe that immigrants would overwhelmingly support them in elections.
    It’s nothing but a power grab.

  • http://undefined Hamutal Dotan
    • According to one of the conference speakers (David Earnest), the presumption that extending the vote is a project of the left turns out to be mistaken. Around the world it is actually right-leaning governments who are more likely to enfranchise immigrants.
    • Within Canada, immigrants have historically supported the Liberals at a greater rate than the population at large, and the NDP at a lower rate than the population at large. If you want to make generalizations, the immigrant vote tends to be centrist, not left.
    • None of the above actually matters in the slightest. This is a question of justice, not politics, even if the outcome has political ramifications. The only issue that matters is: what is the right litmus test for municipal enfranchisement – what is fair? The motivations of anyone involved in the debate have nothing to do with the merits of their arguments.
  • http://undefined Peter K

    You are correct that Liberals have enjoyed greater support than the NDP from immigrant communities. However, either one represents the left of centre in this country.
    The motivations are political and therefore are VERY important in the debate. Despite your flippant comments, it matters very much.
    “Justice” is a term that gets tossed about freely when social activist types are trying to bully people into silence. It’s a meaningless phrase in this discussion.
    In Canada, you don’t have the right to vote if you are not a citizen. To alter that would be a grave injustice to all Canadians, those born here and those who have chosen to become Canadians.
    If you want to vote, then become a citizen. It’s as simple as that. Until then you have ZERO right to help determine our governance.

  • http://undefined Hamutal Dotan

    I was not being flippant in the slightest. This is a basic principle of logic learned by every first year philosophy student: it does not matter who you are, what your interests are, how smart or dumb you are – none of these things bear in the slightest on the merits of an argument that you make.

  • http://undefined Peter K

    That would be great, if the real world were a philosophy classroom.

  • rek

    Let’s cut the crap and be frank. Opening voting to women is a thinly veiled ploy by the left to try to stack the system in their favour since they believe that women would overwhelmingly support them in elections.
    It’s nothing but a power grab.

  • http://undefined torontothegreat

    “The notion that voting rights are inherent to citizenship is actually mistaken. Just who has the vote has changed a great deal over time, and it is within our purview to revise enfranchisement to match our values.”
    Noble & bold statement, but there is nothing that shows what is “mistaken”. So it’s just a soundbite and not really an argument in favour.
    “If you move to Toronto from Yellowknife tomorrow, you are eligible to vote in Toronto tomorrow. Move here from New York City and it’s whenever you’re naturalized”
    Bad argument. For the most part municipal and provincial elections are the same in Canada, so is culture. Elections in the U.S. are not the same at all, neither is the culture.
    “This can effect campaigns as well: as Davis pointed out, if you have limited resources to communicate, you will target areas with a high proportion of registered voters.”
    How is this relevant at all?

  • http://undefined rek

    If we’re going to overall Canadian/Ontarioan/Torontonian democracy, let’s do away with representatives entirely and adopt a vox populi model of some sort. I don’t need, or want, someone interpreting my will.

  • http://undefined torontothegreat

    New Zealand ain’t Canada. Not in the SLIGHTEST.
    Entire population of New Zealand is akin to that of the GTA. GDP is a DROP in the proverbial bucket compared to Canada’s.
    Outside of, “Well they do it!” there is no comparison of the 2 countries to be made here.

  • http://undefined rek

    I don’t see how either of those things are relevant to the topic at hand.

  • http://undefined Green Sulfur

    torontothegreat, I’m sure you’ll look back on that comment and realize it’s one of the dumbest you’ve submitted. By your logic, if I could find you a communist dictatorship with approximately 30 million people you would embrace Canada becoming communist dictatorship. In reality, New Zealand has a government that runs relatively similarly to that of Canada, both countries work within the general framework of a Westminster-style parliamentary democracy.

  • http://undefined torontothegreat

    No need for strawman arguments here. That is not at all what is being debated. YOU brought up New Zealand, I did not. See how that works? The parliamentary workings also have nothing to do with this at all, but glad you brought it up.
    “New Zealand has a government that runs relatively similarly to that of Canada”
    REALLY?
    Canada = plurality voting system + bicameral system + parliamentary government + constitution
    New Zealand = proportional representation + unicameral system + constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy + no codified constitution
    I won’t even get into the huge differences between unitary authority in Canada vs New Zealand.
    Rek: It’s totally relevant. The dynamics are COMPLETELY different and comparing 2 DYNAMICALLY different countries is linear thinking at best. Higher population + higher GDP = more at stake.
    It reminds of me of the cycling comparison of Amsterdam and Toronto. The crux of the cycling argument is sometimes: “Well they do it in Amsterdam”. And I would say, “well Amsterdam ain’t Toronto”. The dynamics are entirely different (ie, population, land area, weather etc).

  • rek

    “Higher population + higher GDP = more at stake.”
    As you said earlier, New Zealand’s population is comparable to Toronto’s. This article is about extending voting rights to all residents of Toronto. (In fact NZ has roughly twice the population of Toronto-sans-’burbs)
    I’m a bit bothered by the notion that GDP is more important than democracy, and that more democracy should be avoided in case it hurts the economy. (What if removing certain demographics’ voting rights made the economy flourish, would you support that?)

  • http://paul.kishimoto.name Paul Kishimoto

    INFORMATION!
    You’re right, reality is complicated. In fact, it’s sufficiently complicated that Elections Canada refrains from even correlating voter turnout with immigration history.
    In turn, that means that—whatever the nefarious intent of the political left may be—the immigrant population is a black box that won’t produce any expected political outcome. Attempt to skew the vote are thus are out the window as an objection.
    Also, your statement, “In Canada, you don’t have the right to vote if you are not a citizen,” is incomplete. Here is a complete statement: “In Canada you don’t have the right to vote if you are not a citizen or you are under 18 or you are the Chief/Deputy Returning Officer.”
    And here is a mostly complete statement, circa 1915: “In Canada, you don’t have the right to vote if you are not a citizen or you are under 21 or you are the Chief/Deputy Returning Officer or you are a woman or you are First Nations or you are mentally ill or you are a prisoner or you would be absent from Canada on the day of the election.”
    (We could further unpack the meaning of ‘citizen’, which changed considerably over the same period.)
    It’s a collective duty to figure what the definition should be in the future, and why. Your answers seem to be “the same,” and “because.”

  • Peter K

    Wow. What a douchebag.
    If you spent any time you know, researching something, you’d find it’s actually pretty easy to compare polling and census results to extrapolate information. Granted it’s generalized, but you do get a trend at least.
    Nobody is clamouring for a change in who is allowed to vote except for the left and those too goddamn lazy to become citizens.
    The answer is simple. Follow proper procedure. Don’t try to skip the line. Don’t cheat the system. Become a citizen legitimately and you will earn the right to vote.
    This is not something that should be tossed around to anybody who wanders across the border be they European, American, Asian, or what have you.
    Just follow the rules and you’ll be able to vote. If you don’t, well go screw yourself.

  • http://undefined thelemur

    And since we’re talking about citizenship as it applies to municipal politics, it might be interesting to compare Toronto and Auckland, which will be moving towards an amalgamated city-and-region type of unicameral government with an election this October, aside from being comparable to Toronto in other ways (largest and most diverse city in the country and general target of resentment nationwide, problematic transit/transport system, formerly known as the ‘Queen City’, etc.).

  • http://undefined rek

    We aren’t talking about citizenship as it applies to municipal politics, we’re talking about non-citizen residents voting in municipal elections.

  • http://undefined thelemur

    Well, okay, let’s frame it in those terms. If non-citizen residents can’t vote in the city where they reside and whose policies affect them, where can and should they exert their electoral influence?
    I maintain that Toronto and Auckland would be comparable on terms Canada and NZ might not be.

  • http://undefined thelemur

    Canada = plurality voting system + bicameral system + parliamentary government + constitution
    New Zealand = proportional representation + unicameral system + constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy + no codified constitution

    New Zealand had a bicameral system until 1951 and there is some support for the introduction of a Senate-type body. The electoral system has had MMP only since 1996.
    New Zealand and Canada are both parliamentary democracies and constitutional monarchies, the only difference being that Canada is a federal parliamentary democracy, which doesn’t make much sense for a country of NZ’s size.
    They are politically not, or have not always been, as dissimilar as you suggest.

  • http://undefined torontothegreat

    “more democracy should be avoided in case it hurts the economy”
    How is allowing non-citizens to vote more democratic? I would say it’s less democratic from a CITIZEN’S p.o.v. I don’t want my democracy tarnished by people who have a smaller stake in the decisions they are voting on. If anything, it cheapens democracy.
    “What if removing certain demographics’ voting rights made the economy flourish, would you support that?”
    That is absolutely absurd. Don’t twist what I say to redirect the conversation or to fit your argument. It’s clear what I meant (the comparison of New Zealand to Canada). I’m sorry you were unable to comprehend the context.

  • http://undefined torontothegreat

    “more democracy should be avoided in case it hurts the economy”
    How is allowing non-citizens to vote more democratic? I would say it’s less democratic from a CITIZEN’S p.o.v. I don’t want my democracy tarnished and cheapened by people who have a smaller stake in the decisions they are voting on.
    “What if removing certain demographics’ voting rights made the economy flourish, would you support that?”
    That is absolutely absurd. Don’t twist what I say to redirect the conversation or to fit your argument. It’s clear what I meant (the comparison of New Zealand to Canada). I’m sorry you were unable to comprehend the context.

  • http://undefined torontothegreat

    “Canada is a federal parliamentary democracy, which doesn’t make much sense for a country of NZ’s size.”
    Exactly my point. The 2 countries are a poor comparison.

  • http://undefined torontothegreat

    Strange, I meant that as a reply to you Rek.

  • http://undefined thelemur

    But aside from the federal aspect, they are politically comparable; NZ and Ontario perhaps more so, given that voter eligibility in Toronto elections is provincially regulated and this article is specifically about municipal, not national, elections.
    Why should a resident of Toronto who pays taxes and other charges not be entitled to vote?
    Why were resident British subjects (other than Canadian citizens) eligible to vote in provincial elections in Ontario until 1985 (allowing them to continue to vote until they had applied for naturalization by 1988)? Why are they still eligible to vote in Nova Scotia and (in some instances) Saskatchewan? How is that any fairer?

  • http://undefined torontothegreat

    You’re comparing something that was grandfathered in to something being proposed?
    “But aside from the federal aspect, they are politically comparable; NZ and Ontario perhaps more so”
    So aside from the fact that one is totally different and one is a country whereas one is a city, they are TOTALLY comparable?

  • http://undefined thelemur

    You’re comparing something that was grandfathered in to something being proposed?
    Yes, in that if a similar situation was at one time permitted, why could it not be permitted again?
    “But aside from the federal aspect, they are politically comparable; NZ and Ontario perhaps more so”
    So aside from the fact that one is totally different and one is a country whereas one is a city, they are TOTALLY comparable?

    I didn’t say totally comparable. They’re more similar than dissimilar.
    If you want to take the federal aspect out, which seems to be the main thing invalidating a Canada/NZ comparison in your view, then bring the Canadian side of the equation down a level and yes, compare a country to a province (I said Ontario, not Toronto, remember). I realize that still implies a big difference in population and GDP (both absolute and per capita).
    I get the impression that whether we’re talking about federal, provincial or municipal elections (or cycling), nothing is ever going to be comparable enough for you to the Toronto situation.
    So what situation – political, administrative, economic or geographical – could realistically be compared to Toronto’s in terms of the issue of non-citizen residents voting in municipal elections?
    Municipal elections suggests to me that we should be looking at a comparable city where non-citizens are entitled to vote. Any ideas?

  • http://undefined torontothegreat

    “Yes, in that if a similar situation was at one time permitted, why could it not be permitted again?”
    Slavery was permitted at a time too. Maybe it’s time to revisit that? It’s called progress. We’ve “progressed” passed the monarchy control over us.
    “I get the impression that whether we’re talking about federal, provincial or municipal elections (or cycling), nothing is ever going to be comparable enough for you to the Toronto situation.”
    Just because you’re only using New Zealand as a comparison doesn’t mean there is no other comparisons to be made. You and other posters are choosing to focus solely on New Zealand. Sooooo, maybe make a better comparison? I’m not trying to prove that point, you are. The onus is on you to prove it or find another comparison. I’ve merely refuted it and will continue to refute comparisons that are inbalanced and are only being used for the sake of a “cheap shot”, as illustrated by the first user who brought it up.

  • http://undefined thelemur

    We’ve “progressed” passed the monarchy control over us
    Is that why you overlooked the fact that Canada IS a constitutional monarchy?
    The focus has been on New Zealand so far precisely because it is a good example of granting voting rights to resident non-citizens at all administrative levels in a democracy with a similar government structure and tradition that has NOT, despite the panic-mongering expressed here and elsewhere, resulted in non-citizens/immigrants hijacking the democratic process, despite having had thirty-five years in which to implement such a takeover.
    The fact that it’s New Zealand in casu is irrelevant, which is probably why you keep trying to disqualify it on irrelevant specifics, such as minor administrative differences, population size, or GDP (having any particular size or type of economy is not actually a prerequisite for any country to holding free and fair democratic elections, as far as I know).
    If New Zealand were a federal parliamentary democracy with a bicameral system and still had first-past-the-post, had a population the size of Canada’s and were otherwise Canada’s political and economic doppelgänger aside from non-citizen voting you’d probably find some other spurious reason to dismiss the comparison. Maybe because they drive on the left, prefer rugby to hockey, talk a bit funny? A suspicious profusion of flightless birds among their native fauna, perhaps?
    The fact remains that there is no jurisdiction, regardless of size, population, GDP, parliamentary tradition or electoral method where granting voting rights to tax-paying resident non-citizens for the purposes of representation has resulted in bloc voting distorting the electoral process or the composition of the body of elected officials. Whether it’s the UK granting voting rights to resident EU and Commonwealth citizens or Toronto-sized cities in Europe granting voting rights to resident non-nationals.

  • http://undefined torontothegreat

    “Is that why you overlooked the fact that Canada IS a constitutional monarchy?”
    You’re getting something very key here confused. I am not overlooking it, but rather perplexed by you hanging on to it. So let’s nip this in the bud right now shall we?
    Canada = Monarch is the embodiment of the state and thus cannot be head of it
    New Zealand = Elizabeth II, as the Queen of New Zealand, is the country’s head of state
    The EU, is an economic and political union of 27 member countries. So it makes perfect sense for anyone with residence in an EU country to be eligible to vote.

  • http://undefined torontothegreat

    “Toronto-sized cities in Europe granting voting rights to resident non-nationals.”
    Great! Here you go:
    “In order to vote in the 2011 Madrid municipal elections,
    immigrants must have resided in Spain, legally and without interruption, during the five years prior
    to the elections”

  • http://undefined thelemur

    That could work here.

  • http://undefined thelemur

    Canada = Monarch is the embodiment of the state and thus cannot be head of it
    The de facto (uncodified) constitution of the UK considers the sovereign the head of state. The Canadian government, judiciary and constitutional scholars consider the monarch, as Queen of Canada, to be the head of state and the governor-general to be the representative of the head of state.
    New Zealand = Elizabeth II, as the Queen of New Zealand, is the country’s head of state
    And like here, their governor-general is often considered the de facto head of state, but is not the actual head of state.

  • http://undefined torontothegreat

    “Spain’s government signs reciprocity agreements with 15 countries”
    So even then, it’s not a free-for-all voting policy. You also have to live there for 5 years.

  • rek

    “How is allowing non-citizens to vote more democratic? I would say it’s less democratic from a CITIZEN’S p.o.v.”
    It’s more representative of the people living in a given riding, it gets will-eventually-be-citizens involved in the Canadian political landscape early, rather than alienating or discouraging their interest once they are citizens, and if they’re being heard they have more reason to stay.
    “I don’t want my democracy tarnished and cheapened by people who have a smaller stake in the decisions they are voting on.”
    I want my democracy enhanced by enfranchised people who own property and work here, who pay twice as much as citizens for post-secondary education, who fled war-torn shitholes where voting wasn’t an option at all, who start or run businesses that employ citizens, and actually give a damn and want to vote.
    “Don’t twist what I say to redirect the conversation or to fit your argument.”
    I did no such thing. It just follows from what you said about democracy putting GDP at risk. The state of the economy should never factor into who gets to vote.

  • http://piorkowski.ca/ qviri

    “Just follow the rules and you’ll be able to vote.”
    … in three years.
    Following this logic, support for raising voting age to 21? “Just don’t get yourself killed along the way.” Restricting voting to property owners? “Just get a job and work a bit and you’ll be able to vote.”

  • http://piorkowski.ca/ qviri

    “I don’t want my democracy tarnished and cheapened by people who have a smaller stake in the decisions they are voting on.”
    Could you explain in what ways do permanent residents have a smaller stake in the outcome of a municipal election than citizens do?

  • http://piorkowski.ca/ qviri

    Small nitpick, rek: permanent residents pay the same post-secondary tuition as citizens. I’m not sure what the situation is for other non-citizens, but I don’t imagine it being different except for those on an education visa. (They, in turn, usually pay closer to three or four times the amount.)

  • http://undefined mark.

    I love how someone with no respect for other people and their perspectives is telling us about citizenship.

  • Peter K

    Thanks pot. How about respecting the rights of citizens? Oh that doesn’t fit in your world.
    Well some people still think being Canadian is important and something to strive for.

  • Peter K

    Obviously you know nothing about logic otherwise you would be able to conclude that 18 year olds have already waited 18 years for the right to vote. So actually if we wanted to extrapolate maybe those applying for citizenship should have to wait 18 years before they are eligible to vote (I’m not advocating this, just mocking your lack of logic).
    In the end three years is not much to ask for something as valuable as our right to vote.
    Furthermore, people immigrating know the rules and still choose to come here and therefore have accepted the fact that they will not be allowed to vote until they meet the citizenship requirements.
    Getting yourself killed? Get a job and work? What the hell are you talking about?

  • http://undefined torontothegreat

    “I want my democracy enhanced by enfranchised people who own property and work here, who fled war-torn shitholes where voting wasn’t an option at all, who start or run businesses that employ citizens, and actually give a damn and want to vote.”
    Do you have any stats to backup your little rainbow and unicorns argument?
    How many immigrants own businesses and employ citizens?
    How many immigrants have fled war torn countries? (These are refugees btw and usually have less to offer a country they are moving to).
    How many immigrants own property and work here?
    How many immigrants give a damn?
    How many immigrants want to vote?
    If you’re able to prove that 100%, hell even 50% of those you’re defending actually live the “Canadian Dream” as you’re saying, I’ll admit you have a point.
    Bold statements are easy to say, hard to back up.
    What about the citizens that are already doing that? It’s not good enough for you? Does our opinion not matter to our own democracy? The voice of the immigrant is more important then the voice of the citizen?
    Democracy isn’t a piece of software that needs to be “enhanced” with new features all willy nilly at the whim of a small minority. Your words cheapen democracy.

  • http://undefined torontothegreat

    really? wow. okay. I’ll try to dumb it down for you. We are permanently here. Our decisions affect our being and every other citizen in the country. We can’t just get up and leave if things go wrong.

  • http://piorkowski.ca/ qviri

    Saying permanent residents voting in municipal elections is somehow an affront to the rights of citizens kind of reminds me of the claims ‘traditional’ marriage would be destroyed or affected by same-sex marriage I saw being thrown around in California.

  • http://piorkowski.ca/ qviri

    “In the end three years is not much to ask for something as valuable as our right to vote.”
    Maybe we should, hmm, have a vote on this — even citizens only — before stating it as outright truth rather than opinion?
    “Furthermore, people immigrating know the rules and still choose to come here and therefore have accepted the fact that they will not be allowed to vote until they meet the citizenship requirements.”
    Yeah, they do. And yeah, it’s still worth it. But the Chinese were still immigrating when we had the head tax; still we did away with it.

  • http://piorkowski.ca/ qviri

    Thanks. Can you dumb down for me how voting for your ward’s city councillor affects every other citizen in the country?
    Can you dumb down for me how, in the context of municipal elections, a PR getting up and leaving for, say, Ireland, is substantially different than a citizen getting up and leaving for Vancouver?
    Can you dumb down for me in what quantitative ways in the context of municipal elections is a permanent resident, who can’t leave the country for more than six months or risks losing his valued PR status, less “permanently here” than a citizen who could move anywhere in the country or abroad for work, school, or retirement?

  • http://undefined torontothegreat

    Yea your right, the paralles are SCARRRRYYYY :P God where do you people come up with these flaky comparisons?

  • http://undefined torontothegreat

    But in New Zealand the Queen IS the head of state, unlike here. God, at the very least, read wikipedia if you’re going to spout out BS.

  • Peter K

    No, it’s a fact. Three years to get the benefits of being a full Canadian citizen is not much to ask for at all.
    Generations have fought and died for us to enjoy the society we do. It’s sickening that you don’t believe it’s worth your time to follow the rules. Don’t try to cheapen what others have worked hard and honestly to build.
    Since you don’t think Canada is worth the effort you may want to bugger off somewhere else. I hear New Zealand is nice ;)

  • http://undefined thelemur

    I did, before my previous comment, just to check.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monarchy_in_Canada#Head_of_state

    Though it has been argued that the term head of state is a republican one inapplicable in a constitutional monarchy such as Canada, where the monarch is the embodiment of the state and thus cannot be head of it, the sovereign is regarded by official government sources, judges, and constitutional scholars, as the head of state, while the governor general and lieutenant governors are all only representatives of, and thus equally subordinate to, that figure. The governor general, his or her staff, government publications, and some constitutional scholars like Edward McWhinney, have, however, referred to the position of governor general as that of Canada’s head of state, though sometimes qualilfying the assertion with de facto or effective, and since 1927 governors general have been received on state visits abroad as though they were heads of state.
    Officials at Rideau Hall have pointed to the Letters Patent of 1947 as justification for describing the governor general as head of state, but others countered that the document makes no such distinction, either literally or implicitly.

  • http://piorkowski.ca/ qviri

    Aaaand the ‘discussion’ goes personal. Well done.

  • http://undefined torontothegreat

    Maybe this is the wrong discussion for you to partake in?
    “Can you dumb down for me how voting for your ward’s city councillor affects every other citizen in the country?”
    The City of Toronto is the cultural and financial capital of Canada. If you think The City of Toronto has no economoic or social impact on the rest of Canada, than I don’t know how else to “dumb it down for you”.
    It’s also niave for you to think that a decision such as this wouldn’t also be a slippery slope for other municipalities to adopt.
    “Can you dumb down for me how, in the context of municipal elections, a PR getting up and leaving for, say, Ireland, is substantially different than a citizen getting up and leaving for Vancouver?”
    lol. Okay. I’ll give it a go. You seem pretty slow though so not sure I’ll get through to you.
    PR votes on an issues, say… more lax policy on social services for immigrants. Said policy has a huge economic and social impact on the city, provice and of course this goes up to the federal level. Feds bail us out and said PR person pays through property tax in Vancouver. Said PR person in Ireland does not. Get it? Got it? Good!
    “Can you dumb down for me in what quantitative ways in the context of municipal elections is a permanent resident, who can’t leave the country for more than six months or risks losing his valued PR status, less “permanently here” than a citizen who could move anywhere in the country or abroad for work, school, or retirement?”
    You’re comparing moving from province to provice to leaving a country. This is niave of you. I’m actually shaking my head at even having to explain this to you.
    A PR can move at ANY givin time. If I want to study abroad I have to go through the process. The PR has already GONE through the process. They can move here, leave for 5 months. Come back. Leave for another 5 five months. In total they have barely been in the country. Only returning to maintain their status (I have known many people who do this) or to take advantage of government programs available to them. I can’t just “get up and leave” without getting a visa and/or a work permit. If I did, I also would most likely NOT be allowed to vote in the host country.
    “who can’t leave the country for more than six months or risks losing his valued PR status, less “permanently here””
    Do you even know what the word permanent means?

  • http://undefined torontothegreat

    As an aside, I think this could make for an interesting Torontoist vs Torontoist discussion.

  • http://undefined Peter K

    You started it by putting words in my mouth numbnuts.

  • http://www.torontoist.com David Topping

    Thanks for coming out, Peter K, and sorry to say you aren’t welcome back to Torontoist’s comments section until you can abide by our rules and not call other commenters “numbnuts” or “douchebag[s]“ or “humourless prick[s].” (All of those comments are from today!)
    Torontoist is happy to have all kinds of viewpoints represented in our comments, but we won’t hesitate to ban people who ruin things for everyone else.

  • http://undefined mark.

    Thank you, David.