New Democrats believe that Canadian citizens should have the right vote in federal elections, regardless of where they live. Canadians living abroad should be able to participate and have a say in determining Canada's future in each general election.
New Democrats believe Canadian citizens living abroad contribute to our country whether it is through taxation, through exchanges with their relatives, and while they promote our country internationally. In a global age, where connectedness to home country is now easier, New Democrats believe our electoral law should adapt and reflect current realities.
Canada Elections Act says that once a Canadian citizen has lived outside of Canada for more than 5 years, they ‘lose their’ right to vote in federal elections.
That’s why in February 2014, Megan Leslie, NDP candidate for Halifax, introduced a Private Member’s Bill (C-575), which would strike down the 5-year rule and change the
Canada Elections Act to allow all Canadian citizens to vote in federal elections, regardless of their place of residence.
Earlier this year, a federal court judge ruled the ban on expatriate voting was unconstitutional. The NDP then called on the government not to appeal the decision and to fast track the passage of Megan Leslie’s PMB. Unfortunately, the Conservative government refused to adopt Megan’s Bill and chose to appeal the court decision.
The NDP also fought Bill C-50—another Conservative bill that would make it even tougher for Canadians abroad to vote in elections. New Democrats fought the voter-suppression components of C-50 in both the House of Commons and Parliamentary Committees. Fortunately, Bill C-50 died when Parliament dissolved.
An NDP government will continue to stand up for expatriates’ right to vote and participate in our democracy and would amend the legislation accordingly.