moved for leave to introduce Bill C-575, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act (residence of electors).
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce this bill. The bill would strike down section 11(d) of the Canada Elections Act, which states that Canadian citizens who have lived outside of Canada for more than five years do not qualify as electors in Canada. It is patently undemocratic to restrict people's ability to participate in our democracy because they are engaging in the myriad opportunities that are available globally. Canadians living outside the country still have a vested interest in the decisions of government, taxation, our economy, our justice system, and rights. While there might have been sound policy reasons to create this restriction in the past, in this day and age of airplanes, Internet, social media, and instantaneous information transmission, those reasons are long outdated.
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. Canadians living abroad are a significant asset to Canada domestically and internationally. These Canadians may not hold citizenship somewhere else, yet they are being totally and unreasonably disenfranchised. I hope the House looks favourably on the bill. I look forward to its passage.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)