Over the last week, the Toronto City Council voted to allow landed immigrants to vote in municipal elections. The vote was by a margin of one. The decision still must go to the Provincial Parliament for approval.
We have landed immigrant status. When this clears the necessary hurdles, Jennifer and I will be able to vote.
I have mixed feelings. I am, as you know, a citizen of the United States. One of the issues motivating the birth of the nation was 'taxation without representation.' The British taxed the colonies without allowing any representation in Parliament.
Jennifer and I pay taxes. In theory, we should have some say in how those taxes are spent. This might hold even more so here in Toronto. We pay property taxes. To prevent us from contributing to municipal decisions is hardly democratic.
On the other hand, voting is a perk of citizenship. There is more than just a financial question. Citizenship also states that a person has made a decision and taken the steps to affirm a stand and a stake in the long-term destiny and vision of a country. We have not affirmed that stand and that stake.
At the end of the day, I believe that the right of the vote is a right of citizenship. It is not a right of permanent residence. There is no citizenship of only a city.
If the Provincial Parliament chooses to approve Toronto's decision, I will likely vote. It still seems to me though that this is not a decision that should have been made.