The180·The 180

Should you get to vote if you don't have your citizenship?

The editorial board at one of Canada's biggest newspapers has done a 180, and this week it's asking the mayor of Canada's biggest city to do the same. The Toronto Star says it's time to let non-citizens vote in municipal elections.
In downtown Toronto's Regent Park, voters lined up to cast a vote in the last civic election. (Patrick Morrell/CBC)
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The editorial board at one of Canada's biggest newspapers has done a 180 on civic elections, and this week it's asking the mayor of Canada's biggest city to do the same. 

The Toronto Star says there are more than a quarter of a million Toronto residents who are not Canadian citizens, and they should be allowed to vote for city council. A decade ago, the paper was opposed to such an idea, but now it says the change is necessary to get both those residents, and politicians, more engaged. 

Editorial page editor Andrew Phillips says newcomers often live together in neighbourhoods, which makes it easy for councils to ignore entire chunks of the city, given that there are no voters there. But that would change if those people could vote. 

The paper is calling on Toronto Mayor John Tory to advocate for a changed system, but so far he's against the idea-- he says citizenship and its privileges are valuable. 

What about voting rights at the provincial and federal level? On that, the Star agrees with the mayor. Some rights should be left to Canadian citizens. 

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