Today, New Democrat MP, Megan Leslie (Halifax), tabled a bill to strike down Section 11(d) of the Canada Elections Act, which states that Canadian citizens that have lived outside of Canada for more than five years cannot vote.
“It is patently undemocratic to restrict someone’s ability to participate in our democracy because they are engaging in the myriad of opportunities available globally,” said Megan Leslie. “Canadians living outside the country still have a vested interest in the decisions of government, taxation, our economy, our justice system and rights.”
Under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Canadian citizens who are 18 years and older have the right to vote as well as “the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada”.
“In contrast to the Conservatives and their attacks on democracy, the NDP is standing up for electors,” added Leslie. “Canadians living abroad are a significant asset to Canada, domestically and internationally. These folks may not hold citizenship somewhere else and yet they are being totally and unreasonably disenfranchised.”
According to Stats Canada, there could be as many as 2.8 million Canadians living abroad. The five year residency rule does not apply to members of the Canadian Armed Forces, RCMP personnel or diplomats.