Should Canadian expats be allowed to vote in federal elections?


SLM
No Party Affiliation
#1
Should Canadian expats be allowed to vote in federal elections?

By Andy Radia (external - login to view) | Canada Politics (external - login to view) – 15 hours ago



Whether it's for work or for love, moving to another country is often a coveted adventure for many Canadians.
In fact, according to Statistics Canada, approximately 2.9 million Canadians currently live abroad.
Are those individuals any less 'Canadian' than the rest of us? Should expatriates be allowed to vote in Canadian elections?
It's a question that has come up this month for a couple of reasons.
On Friday, the New Democrats introduced a private members bill which would 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 in general elections.
The law was actually passed in 1993 but wasn't strictly enforced until 2007.
"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," New Democrat MP Megan Leslie said in a press release (external - login to view).
"Canadians living outside the country still have a vested interest in the decisions of government, taxation, our economy, our justice system and rights.
"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."
In their press release, the New Democrats note that five year residency rule "does not apply to members of the Canadian Armed Forces, RCMP personnel or diplomats."

The issue is also being taken up in the courts.
According to the Toronto Star, last week an Ontario judge heard a challenge from two individuals who were banned from voting in 2011 because of the rule.
The duo's lawyer (external - login to view) argues that, under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Canadian citizens who are 18 years and older have the right to vote. But the Canadian government sees things differently.
"The federal government has argued the current law helps strike a balance between the democratic rights of Canadians while ensuring sufficient ties exist between a citizen and Canada," notes the Star report.
Other countries, including the United States, don't have these types of restrictions.
In fact, according to a website titled 'Let Canadians Vote, (external - login to view)' a lot of other countries are more proactive in engaging their expats.
"There are countries with emigrant populations much larger than Canada's that allow overseas citizens to vote without restrictions, such as Italy, Poland, and Mexico. So do Belgium, the Netherlands, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Portugal, Estonia, Japan, and New Zealand," notes the website.
"France, Estonia, and the Netherlands have gone so far as to set up voting over the Internet, to make it as easy as possible."
So what do you think? If a Canadian citizen has been working or living abroad for more than five years, should they be allowed to vote?


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I don't see why not. Odds are that many of them are still filing a Canadian tax return which is more than can be said for inmates, who do have the right to vote. Thoughts?
 
El Barto
#2
no...................
 
petros
#3
Quote: Originally Posted by El BartoView Post

no...................

Not even Alex Trebek or Wayne Gretzky?
 
Liberalman
#4
As long as one did not give up their Canadian status like Conrad Black they have a legal right to vote
 
El Barto
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

Not even Alex Trebek or Wayne Gretzky?

No...
 
SLM
No Party Affiliation
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by El BartoView Post

no...................

Care to expand on why?

We give inmates the right to vote.

We have Canadian citizens, many of whom maintain ties to Canada and are therefore required by Canadian law to file a tax return and pay taxes. They shouldn't have any say in how their tax dollars are implemented?
 
DaSleeper
+1
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by El BartoView Post

no...................

Ditto....
Same should apply to those in jail.
 
petros
+3
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by SLMView Post

We have Canadian citizens, many of whom maintain ties to Canada and are therefore required by Canadian law to file a tax return and pay taxes. They shouldn't have any say in how their tax dollars are implemented?

Some are working for Canadian companies that bring big bucks home.

In really sh*tty places I might add.

If your working for PetroCan in Libya you deserve a vote.
 
El Barto
+2
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by SLMView Post

Care to expand on why?

We give inmates the right to vote.

We have Canadian citizens, many of whom maintain ties to Canada and are therefore required by Canadian law to file a tax return and pay taxes. They shouldn't have any say in how their tax dollars are implemented?

If they have no residence here then no. The way you vote here is for a county or riding, if you have no residence then you can not vote for a riding.


If it was up to me , inmates would lose their rights to vote.
 
captain morgan
Bloc Québécois
+5
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by SLMView Post

Care to expand on why?

We give inmates the right to vote.

We have Canadian citizens, many of whom maintain ties to Canada and are therefore required by Canadian law to file a tax return and pay taxes. They shouldn't have any say in how their tax dollars are implemented?


If they are paying tax into the system, they should have a say relative to how gvt operates
 
El Barto
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by captain morganView Post

If they are paying tax into the system, they should have a say relative to how gvt operates

If they are paying taxes then the must have a residence.
 
petros
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by El BartoView Post

If they are paying taxes then the must have a residence.

Not necessarily.
 
SLM
No Party Affiliation
+1
#13
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

Some are working for Canadian companies that bring big bucks home.

Big bucks and big tax dollars.

Quote: Originally Posted by El BartoView Post

If they have no residence here then no. The way you vote here is for a county or riding, if you have no residence then you can not vote for a riding.

I don't see why we have such different requirements for filing a tax return and the ability to vote for a government that essentially makes changes to tax laws, amongst others. That strikes me as tremendously unfair.


Quote:

If it was up to me , inmates would lose their rights to vote.

I don't disagree with that, I'd make the same choice if I was given one.

Quote: Originally Posted by captain morganView Post

If they are paying tax into the system, they should have a say relative to how gvt operates

Absolutely, anything less is a double standard. Canadian enough to benefit the government but not Canadian enough to benefit themselves.
 
DaSleeper
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by captain morganView Post

If they are paying tax into the system, they should have a say relative to how gvt operates

If they sever tax residency....they shouldn't be allowed to vote, even if they are still considered Citizens...


Tax basics for Canadian expats < Tax | Expatica France (external - login to view)
 
SLM
No Party Affiliation
+2
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by El BartoView Post

If they are paying taxes then the must have a residence.

No actually you don't. If you keep a bank account open, maintain your driver's license, store your apartment furniture in a storage unit for a a few years while working overseas, that can be enough to qualify you as a "deemed resident" in the eyes of CRA.
 
El Barto
#16
Quote: Originally Posted by SLMView Post

No actually you don't. If you keep a bank account open, maintain your driver's license, store your apartment furniture in a storage unit for a a few years while working overseas, that can be enough to qualify you as a "deemed resident" in the eyes of CRA.

There is an address on drivers license
 
petros
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by SLMView Post

No actually you don't. If you keep a bank account open, maintain your driver's license, store your apartment furniture in a storage unit for a a few years while working overseas, that can be enough to qualify you as a "deemed resident" in the eyes of CRA.

Working away on a visa which can run indefinite retains Canadian Citizenship.

Saudi Aramco built a city in Saudi Arabia for non-Muzzies so families don't have to be broken up.

www.aramco.jobs/LivingInSaudi...Lifestyle.aspx (external - login to view)
 
captain morgan
Bloc Québécois
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by DaSleeperView Post

If they sever tax residency....they shouldn't be allowed to vote, even if they are still considered Citizens...


Tax basics for Canadian expats < Tax | Expatica France (external - login to view)


I can get behind that, although from what I know, taking the necessary steps to cut the cord completely is a very detailed process.
 
SLM
No Party Affiliation
+1
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by DaSleeperView Post

If they sever tax residency....they shouldn't be allowed to vote, even if they are still considered Citizens...


Tax basics for Canadian expats < Tax | Expatica France (external - login to view)


Absolutely. But those that haven't or couldn't sever tax residency? Many people don't want to completely sever all ties.
 
petros
#20
Which riding would someone vote in is the question? The one on their Birth Certificate or port of entry if an immigrant?
 
SLM
No Party Affiliation
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

Which riding would someone vote in is the question? The one on their Birth Certificate or port of entry if an immigrant?

Don't know, but that's just a matter of making a clear determining rule and applying it.

I'm pretty sure expats can vote in UK elections.
 
petros
#22
Quote: Originally Posted by SLMView Post

Don't know, but that's just a matter of making a clear determining rule and applying it.

I'm pretty sure expats can vote in UK elections.

Depends if your a landed or on visas.
 
SLM
No Party Affiliation
+2
#23
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

Depends if your a landed or on visas.

There's always going to be qualifiers, I don't take issue with that as long as it's fair and reasonable.

I still think anyone who's considered enough of a resident that they're required to file and pay taxes in Canada, should be able to vote, provided they maintain citizenship of course.
 
petros
#24
I agree.
 
Machjo
#25
Question: Do we base the right to vote on citizenship or residency? If on citizenship, then all citizens ought to have the right to vote. if on residency, then all residents ought to have the right to vote. Take your pick.
 
lone wolf
Free Thinker
#26
Quote: Originally Posted by El BartoView Post

If they have no residence here then no. The way you vote here is for a county or riding, if you have no residence then you can not vote for a riding.


If it was up to me , inmates would lose their rights to vote.

How about the homeless?
 
gerryh
#27
Quote: Originally Posted by MachjoView Post

Question: Do we base the right to vote on citizenship or residency? If on citizenship, then all citizens ought to have the right to vote. if on residency, then all residents ought to have the right to vote. Take your pick.


We base it on citizenship and residency don't like that, then screw off.


No right to vote after 5 Yeats. IMO, it should be one year, not five.
 
DaSleeper
#28
Has Mulcair ever voted in France?
 
IdRatherBeSkiing
+2
#29
I don't see any issue with them voting. But which riding do they vote for? Perhaps they should be grouped in one riding and have their own MP. Can't see them having many common issues with somebody from their last place of residence.

On the other hand, if they are living abroad they are probably not paying taxes here. So why should they vote for a tax increase to cover the cost of getting their butts out of a jam the minute they get themselves in some sort of revolution or something which they expect the Canadian government to come bail them out.

Not a hot button issue for me either way. I expect they may vote NDP which is why Mulcair is interested in them.
 
Sal
No Party Affiliation
#30
Can someone explain to me why they feel prisoners should not have the right to vote?

Thanks.
 

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