A court decision that handed the right to vote to more than one million Canadians who have lived outside the country for more than five years will be appealed, the Conservative government said Monday. In addition, Ottawa said it would seek a stay of the ruling, dashing hopes some expatriates might have had of voting in the byelections scheduled for the end of the month. “Non-residents should have a direct and meaningful connection to Canada and to their ridings in order to vote in federal elections,” Pierre Poilievre, minister of state responsible for democratic reform, said in a statement. “For over two decades, Canada’s policy has limited to five years the length of time someone can be abroad and still vote. That is fair and reasonable.”
The application to put the ruling on hold pending the appeal is expected to be heard on June 20.
Last month, Ontario Superior Court Justice Michael Penny struck down parts of the Canada Elections Act that barred Canadian citizens who have lived abroad for more than five years from voting.
Two Canadians living in the United States had launched the constitutional challenge, arguing the five-year rule was arbitrary and unreasonable.