Toronto Star

Social contract violated


Re Longtime Canadian expats lose vote rights, July 21 The Court of Appeal ruling depriving Canadian expats of their right to vote makes reference to a “social contract.” People impacted by government decisions, they say, are the ones who should participat­e in the making of those decisions. It is hard to disagree with the logic underlying this principle. However, it is applied selectivel­y at best.

Canada’s population includes 2 million non-citizens who, despite paying taxes and obeying the law, have no right to vote. They are just as much a part of our “social contract” as the rest of us.

Can we not take inspiratio­n from the countless countries around the world that allow non-citizen voting in local or regional elections? Or from New Zealand and Uruguay, where permanent residents can vote even at the national level?

Until we do, the federal law upheld by Ontario’s Court of Appeal will be nothing short of arbitrary and out of place. David Taub Bancroft, Vancouver As a Canadian living in New York I was shocked, appalled and frustrated at this ruling. Expats will no longer have the right to vote in our home and native land. We are disenfranc­hised from our civic responsibi­lity and inherent right as citizens.

My citizenshi­p card will never expire, and yet I’m no longer allowed to express my voice as a Canadian citizen?

Our Charter of Rights and Freedoms says, “Every Canadian citizen has the right to vote in elections for Members of Parliament.” My rights, along with those of the 2.8 million Canadians around the world, should not be dismissed.

I’m appalled that in three years I will not be able to vote. I can assure you that come October I will be making my last vote in Canada heard loud and clear. Jenn Beideman, Rochester, N.Y.

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