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Because They Can't, I Vote Giambrone for Mayor
Mayor Adam
In his mayoral annoucement, Adam Giambrone told Torontonians that he wants to extend the vote to permanent residents; it's shameful that any residents are excluded at all. Everyone who is setting up a life somewhere, working, paying taxes, raising children, should have a vote. Countless workers pay taxes, but have no say in where that money ends up. Too many parents watch their children go to school and have no right to choose a trustee or a politician who promises to protect and improve education. If only citizens are represented by elected officials, it would be interesting to see what percentage of the population is left without a voice. Becoming a Canadian citizen isn't impossible, but not everyone is ready to sacrifice the rights they have back home or adopt beliefs that aren't true to their heart. For many it is an honour to become a full citizen, but for others it isn't a price they are willing to pay for the right to vote. Why do people have to sacrifice so much to be able to take part in the electoral process? Hopefully Giambrone will be elected, and will be able to do something about this archaic system.

Until recently, I wasn't sure what the difference was between a Canadian Citizen and a permanent resident, but when my Irish boyfriend's work visa came up for renewal, I found the website for Citizenship and Immigration, bookmarked it, and spent hours scrolling through the information. There are very few rights that Citizens have that permanent residents aren't granted as well, and it really doesn't take much to upgrade to citizenship. Applicants have to pass a test based on knowledge of Canada and English/French language skills. Quite frankly, I have been out of school for a while now and, although born and raised in this country, I would probably flunk the test. Aside from successful completion of the test and the proper documentation, there is a short ceremony at which prospective citizens have to swear the oath of citizenship .

I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen.

Some language training is understandable- it's hard to get around when you don't know how to ask for directions. Asking that citizens abide by the law and contribute to the Canadian society is also perfectly reasonable. The part of the oath that involves the Queen, her children, and everyone who takes the throne from now on seems to me a touch old-fashioned and I don't believe it's a necessary part of being a Canadian.

Don't we pride ourselves on being a country that welcomes all kinds of cultural beliefs and encourages people to practise and share what they brought with them from their home countries? The idea of a Monarchy, profound respect for royalty is a belief that is found in many societies, but not in all. And the Queen of England is only one of many who hold royal seats of high respect, so why is she the only one who should be acknowledged. We don't have the right to tell people who to worship when it comes to religion, so why do we have the right to make any demands about political views or leadership?

New people to Canada, whether they are born next week or arrive tomorrow, are an integral part of Canada's future. Not having a say should be a thing of the past.

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