Sudbury

North Bay calls for municipal voting rights for permanent residents

City council in North Bay wants permanent residents of Canada to be able to vote in the next municipal election.

North Bay Taxpayers' Association warns politicians could too easily manipulate new, 'vulnerable' voters

North Bay has joined a call to expand municipal voting rights beyond Canadian citizens. (Tracy Fuller)

City council in North Bay wants more people than just Canadian citizens to be able to vote in the next municipal election.

Council has voted to join several other cities in calling on the province to extend voting rights to permanent residents.

But, not everyone agrees with the lobbying effort.

Miles Peters, vice-president of the North Bay Taxpayers' Association, urged council on Monday to hold a public forum on the issue, arguing that politicians stand to benefit from more newcomers voting. 

"Simply to curry favour in upcoming municipal elections and/or take control of a very easily influenced and possibly manipulated voting block of vulnerable potential voters," Peters said.

The North Bay and District Multicultural Centre has been lobbying for the change, saying the right to vote in local elections will help newcomers integrate into Canadian society.

Making the change would require the province to amend the Municipal Elections Act.

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