Canada Seeks To Block Expanded Expat Voting Rights

By Editorial 05 June, 2014

Canada's Minister for Democratic Reform, Pierre Poilievre, has said that the Government intends to appeal a recent court judgment stating that expats who have been out of the country for more than five years should be allowed to vote.

In a statement, Poilievre argued that non-residents should "have a direct and meaningful connection to Canada and to their ridings in order to vote in federal elections," and said the pre-existing five-year limit is "fair and reasonable."

The limitation was challenged by two Canadian citizens who reside in the United States for work reasons. Justice Michael Penny of the Ontario Superior Court ruled last month that denying non-residents the right to vote is in conflict with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Although the Charter also says that its provisions are subject to "reasonable limits," Penny judged that there is a "lack of substantive evidence of any actual problem resulting from non-resident voting."

Penny observed that the Charter has already been used to strike down voting limitations. It was put before the Court that, as the legislation currently stands, a mass-murderer in prison can vote while many non-resident Canadians cannot. Penny rejected the Attorney General's argument that non-residents do not have to live with the consequences of Parliament's decisions, noting that many continue to have tax obligations in the country.

Tags: Court | Tax | Legislation | Canada | United States | Expats | Welfare | Lifestyle | Lifestyle |


News Archive