moved for leave to introduce Bill C-295, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act (residence of electors).
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to be given this opportunity to introduce this particular bill.
Currently, section 11(d) of the Canada Elections Act prohibits Canadian citizens from voting in federal elections once they have resided outside of Canada for more than five years.
My bill would strike down this part of the act. It is unfair and undemocratic to take away the voting rights of 1.4 million ex-pats, simply because they are engaging in opportunities abroad.
Although this restriction may have had sound policy reasons in the past, today's age of instant information transmission makes this policy archaic. Canadians overseas still have a vested interest in the Canadian government, and how laws impact their families and communities that remain in Canada. The five-year limitation simply does not conform to the 21st century demands of globalization.
Under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Canadian citizens who are 18 years and older have the right to vote and the right to enter, remain in, and leave Canada. Indeed, nowhere is it mentioned—