Three photos

Three photos

Above: (1) Japanese Canadians – and Buddhists – were once among various groups legally excluded from the right to vote.
(2) and (3) By the 1963 federal general election, all Canadians could vote regardless of their race or religion.

1963 – The Universal Right to Vote
Racial and religious discrimination was permitted by electoral legislation until 1960. Notable examples over the years include the effective denial of voting rights to Canadians of Japanese, Chinese or East Indian origins, to Mennonites, to Doukhobors and even to Catholics. This was partly related to pre-Confederation prejudice, and to anti-alien sentiment that was rampant in the war-torn first half of this century.

The 1963 general election was the first in which the right to vote was truly universal. Racial discrimination was removed from electoral legislation partially in 1948 and completely in 1960. Religious discrimination was eradicated from the law in 1955. Constitutional law has protected electoral rights since the adoption of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982.

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