An Ontario judge was urged Monday to consider whether the historical reasoning for a law which strips some expatriates of their voting rights makes sense in today’s world. The request came from a lawyer for two Canadians who are challenging the rule which affects citizens living abroad for more than five years. “The most critical thing is to look at whether these provisions are constitutional now, considering the current context of globalization and the way people travel around the world and are able to stay connected,” said Shaun O’Brien. “Lots of things existed in voting legislation that we no longer accept…The fact that historically the nature of our system requires residence doesn’t meant that residence is required now.” At the heart of the case being heard in Ontario Superior Court this week are the experiences of Gillian Frank and Jamie Duong. Both men moved to the U.S. for higher education and stayed on as their studies led to jobs, but both plan to move back home as soon as they find appropriate employment in their fields.
Canada: Law that strips certain Canadian expats of voting rights to be debated in court | The Globe and Mail
Two Canadians who are challenging a law that strips voting rights from expatriates who have lived abroad for more than five years expect their case to be heard in court this week. Gillian Frank and Jamie Duong, who live in the U.S., were shocked to learn of the five-year rule when they tried to cast their ballots in the 2011 federal election. In an effort to combat what they see as an affront on their citizenship, the pair launched a legal challenge against the federal government nearly two years ago, arguing the rule in the Canada Elections Act is arbitrary, unreasonable and should be struck down as unconstitutional. “Having a say in the government, having my full citizenship reinstated is absolutely vital to me,” Frank told The Canadian Press in an interview ahead of the three-day hearing, which begins Monday in Ontario Superior Court. “I believe the Canadian government continues to affect me and it will affect me when I return home one day.” Frank, a history professor at Princeton University in New Jersey, moved to the U.S. in 2001 to get his PhD and stayed on as his studies led to a job.