The government has introduced legislation to tighten the rules for Canadians who want to cast a ballot while living outside the country. Under the proposed new rules, anyone who wants to vote in a Canadian federal election while living abroad will have to provide proof of citizenship, as well as their most recent Canadian address, in order to receive a ballot. The new requirements will not apply to those serving in the Canadian Armed Forces. The chief electoral officer will also be authorized to cross-reference current voting list with citizenship and immigration data to purge non-Canadians from the voting list. A government-issued backgrounder accompanying the bill notes that in Canada, voters “cannot pick and choose their riding,” but are required to cast a ballot in the riding in which they live. “By contrast, Canadians living abroad do not have to prove any past residence in the riding in which they vote,” it notes.
“It is unfair to allow a person who has never lived in a community to vote on who will represent that community.”
The bill was introduced by Minister of State for Democratic Reform Pierre Poilievre Wednesday afternoon.
In a written statement, he said the new rules “will help ensure that only citizens vote, that their votes only count in their home ridings and that they show ID to prove both.”
The bill also seems to be a response to a recent Federal Court ruling that upheld the right of Canadians abroad to vote in federal elections even after being out of the country for five years.