Re: Re: Minor DisagreementNovember 3 2002 at 6:05 AM
|ShadowHM (Login ShadowHM)|
from IP address 184.108.40.206
Response to Re: Minor Disagreement
I live in a city where about 1 in 3 people were born in other countries. By contrast, the national average for 'foreign-born' is around 1 in 5. The majority of those become citizens, but I can't ignore the fact that residents make up a substantial number of my country's population. Preventing them from voting could cause problems and can imagine an under-representation of my city's voters being one of them.
I still believe that one should have a 'stake' in the country one votes in. I don't know how onerous it is to become a New Zealand citizen.
You can apply for Canadian citizenship if you:
are at least 18 years of age;
have been a legal permanent resident in Canada for three out of the previous four years;
can communicate in English or French; and
have knowledge of Canada, including the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
To me that is not too high a bar to set before one earns the right to a say in one's adopted country. In fact, I would argue that it is more than fair to ask for a three year waiting period to figure out the issues before one gets to cast a vote.
I know Canada is not quite as extreme in terms of immigrant numbers, yet I also recall you describing your city as one of the most cosmopolitan in Canada (or was it "the world"?). Consequently your viewpoint on who can vote came as a surprise, because I had envisaged your local situation as being similar to mine.
I have searched in vain for the periodical that listed the number of countries with representation in my city of at least 5000 residents. (Every single issue on the shelf but that one.) But IIRC, the number was at least 150 countries. Yes, that makes Toronto very cosmopolitan. But perhaps you are confusing municipal planning concerns - like for municipal services available - with voting rights? Just because someone does not vote yet does not mean that government services are unavailable.
Idealism is nice when it works, but sometimes we must bow to practicality.
Practicality to me suggests that earning that right to vote makes a voter more interested in making their votes count for something.
Pete's contention that all of us should earn that right (via some version of the citizenship general knowledge test that immigrants must face) has a great deal of merit, IMO.
Personally I have no problem with residents voting, although I'd hope that they understand what they're voting for when they do. They tend to avoid voting anyway if they don't fully understand what the parties are about, so the entire exercises becomes self-policing to an extent.
The same could be said of most citizens who have the right to vote, no?
- Different horses for different courses - WarBlade on Nov 3, 10:15 AM