Pre-election buzz may feel strong in Canada, with officials announcing solid early-voter numbers. But for the estimated 1.4 million Canadian expats living abroad, the prospect of a change in government back home feels less intense. You don’t feel it very much in suburban Atlanta, where Toronto-born Marty Seed co-owns a pub that shows Blue Jays games for baseball-loving Canucks. Not too much in Phoenix, either, where Bob Keats, a Conservative-leaning tax adviser from Calgary, says he’ll have to catch the polling results via Twitter. And certainly not in the United Arab Emirates, where Montreal-born Aziz Mulay-Shah lectures as a politics and democracy professor at the Canadian University in Dubai.
“I’m definitely not feeling jitters,” Mulay-Shah said. “But you’re not getting the feeling from the street where you can gauge sentiment, or tell what the mood is like from walking around your riding or into a café or something.”
Most of the Canadians Mulay-Shah has spoken with in the Emirates will not be voting by special overseas ballot, perhaps understandably so.
While many are wrapped up in their own lives in the UAE, other longtime expats won’t be able to vote in this election, owing to federal voting restrictions dating back to 1993 that denied ex-pats the vote if they have lived outside Canada for more than five years.