Electoral reform must include racialized communities
Since the day Justin Trudeau promised to replace the first-past-the-post voting system, there has been a lot of talk about electoral reform in this country.
Most of that discussion has been about how people participate in the democratic process.
But for Avvy Go, if the government truly wants to reform elections, it must examine who gets to participate in Canada's democracy.
Today, tens of thousands permanent residents are denied the right to vote because of our strict naturalization law.. That's not to mention the 200,000 or so immigrants with precarious status who have lived and worked in Canada without ever being given a chance to regularize their status.- Avvy Go
She notes that historically, Canada has made voting impossible for racialized communities.
In 1885, for example, Go says the government stripped Chinese Canadians of the right to vote because according to John A. Macdonald, they had "no British instincts or British feelings or aspirations."
And while the legal barriers aren't as obvious now, Go argues they are still significant and troublesome.
She argues electoral reform is an opportunity to engage Canadians in a discussion of democracy.
We can begin by having a dialogue with each other on not only the technical aspect of voting, but the kind of society we want to live in.- Avvy Go