Long-term expats denied the right to vote in federal elections expressed delight Thursday after the Supreme Court of Canada said it would take on their case. At issue is part of the Canada Elections Act that disenfranchises citizens who have lived abroad for longer than five years. “The time has come to restore expats’ right to vote from abroad,” said Jamie Duong, one of the plaintiffs in the case. Duong and Gillian Frank, both of whom live in the United States, challenged the constitutionality of the legislation, enforced only under the previous Conservative government of Stephen Harper.
They initially won before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in 2014, but the government appealed and the province’s top court overturned the ruling in a split decision last July, prompting the plaintiffs to turn to Supreme Court.
During the election campaign last fall, the Liberals under Justin Trudeau indicated they would take another look at the ban, citing a goal of encouraging more voting rather than less.
Frank said he hoped the government would not oppose their Supreme Court appeal by defending the legislation.