Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Disenfranchising property owners contributes to corrupt city politics

   Occasionally a strange idea takes hold and gets political support. For example in 1985 the PQ passed Bill 29 which banned Jews and Muslims and other non-Protestants from voting in PSBGM board elections. Similarly only Catholics were to be allowed to vote in Catholic School Board elections. Those boards are history, of course, as the boards are based on language now.
   Here's another: on June 29, 1999 Mayor Bourque heard from a committee that recommended fines for people who allowed their dogs to pee on private property. The urine was to be classified as pollution, according to Councillor Sylvain Lachance, who headed the committee. That one did not go through, I don't believe.
   And In July 1970 for the first time in Montreal, Canadian citizens over 18 were allowed to vote in city elections. Previously only landowners and leaseholders could vote. So that meant one vote per household and usually the women did not have the lease under their name, so not many were allowed to vote. So everything changed after that. The 1970 election saw a massive Drapeau majority, largely thanks to the fact that the opposition FRAP refused to denounce the FLQ terrorists at the time of the October Crisis, but once 1974 came around, the city started getting women into power, Therese Daviau being the first. So overall it was good but it also had one fatal flaw.
   From what I could tell, the move disenfranchised non-resident property owners. So let's say you own a triplex that you rent out, you pay taxes on that property but you don't get a vote to what goes on in that neighbourhood. This is of course, taxation without representation. A property owner, whether he actually lives in his property or not, is highly-motivated to make his neighbourhood better and rebuffing them a say in the vote seems bizarre. I would also submit that it contributes to the graft in city politics, as banning property owners from the voting booth removes their legitimate political access to the politicians, as they are left voteless. It's time to re-institute the right to vote to owners of property who don't actually live in their building.


Sam Boskey said...

You're flat-out wrong in your past paragraph. Non-resident property owners do have the right to vote. There is a separate election role drawn up. They are informed of their right to vote. They generally do so at the office of the local returning officer. The candidates receive a list of these eligible voters along with that of the residents. In practice, at least in my experience, few of them vote, since many live far away. Thought some live nearby. When I represented a region of about 600 eligible voters, there were about 100 non-resident property-owners.

emdx said...

Well, no.

Citizenship is something that belongs to human beings.

Not buildings.

In a democracy, only citizens vote. And you vote where you live.

If someone doesn’t live somewhere, why should he have a say in the politics there?

Likewise, I do not pay municipal taxes (Well, not directly). So, by that logic, I should not vote?

No way José!

Kristian said...

@Sam. Wow. I hadn't the slightest idea. All of these years I've never had the slightest idea that I could vote in these places. Many thanks. I will get that info.

Anonymous said...

Sam Boskey is correct. The only thing I do not remember is if they can only vote once in Quebec for Municipal and School board elections. For example, you own a proerty in Longueil, one in Montreal and you live in Laval. Are you allowed to vote 3 times or do you have to pick where you vote?

Jimmy Z