More than one million Canadians living abroad are now eligible to cast ballots in the next federal election after a court struck down a law stripping them of their voting rights. While mass murderers have the right to vote, long-term expats “who care deeply about Canada” do not have the right, Ontario Superior Court Justice Michael Penny said in his decision. Penny found part of the Canada Elections Act, which bars expatriates who have lived abroad for more than five years from voting, is unconstitutional. “The (government) essentially argues that allowing non-residents to vote is unfair to resident Canadians because resident Canadians live here and are, on a day-to-day basis, subject to Canada’s laws and live with the consequences of Parliament’s decisions.”
Penny wrote. “I do not find this argument persuasive.” For one thing, Penny ruled, expats may well be subject to Canadian tax and other laws.
The government, the judge found, had decided some citizens are “not worthy” to vote despite their constitutional right to do so. “This is not the lawmakers’ decision to make — the Charter makes this decision for us,” Penny wrote.
Citizenship, he noted, is a fundamental requirement for voting, not residency. The judge rejected the government’s request to put his decision on hold for 12 months.
Full Article: Long-term expat Canadians win voting rights.