Should Canadian citizenship be mandatory to sit on committee in Mississauga?

March 9, 2018
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Mississauga council is asking for public input on whether Canadian citizenship is required to become a citizen member of a local government committee.

With the upcoming 2018 municipal election, city council is reviewing its policy regarding which members of the public can sit on committees of council. The current rule states Canadian citizenship is required before a resident can apply to sit on a local committee.

"We should be removing that as an eligibility requirement," said Coun. Pat Saito, chair of the city's governance committee, where the recommendation was initially made on Feb. 12.

"We felt anyone who is living in the City of Mississauga, whether they are Canadian citizens or not, should be able to participate in municipal government committees," she said.

Of the 12 municipalities surveyed by the city, Mississauga was one of only three cities that required Canadian citizenship, along with Brampton and Kingston.

The policy change requires council consent to be made official. Coun. Nando Iannicca said before the green light is given, residents should be given an opportunity to voice their concerns.

"I think the broader community may have some stronger thoughts on this," he said, adding it has come up in the past and residents, at the time, had serious concerns.

One of the concerns was that those who did not wish to become an official Canadian citizen should not be part of the local government's decision-making process.

"I think it's a fundamental right," argued Coun. Carolyn Parrish. "If you move to Canada and you are a landed immigrant and you're working and living in the community, you should get to sit on one of our committees.”

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