After 15 years abroad British citizens lose the right to vote. According to a recent article in the British newspaper the Telegraph, this is about to change, albeit too late for British expats to vote on whether Britain should stay in the European Union or not. A BBC article describes a global trend towards greater inclusion of expatriates in their democratic processes. As well as the UK, both France and the US are working harder to include their diaspora in the election of their governments. South Africa recently changed its rules to allow its expatriates to vote.
Despite this trend one country is moving in the opposite direction. Canada recently excluded many of its expatriates from voting when the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld a Conservative government ruling barring Canadian citizens who live outside Canada for more than 5 years from voting in federal elections.
Canada joins a shrinking list of countries that exclude their expatriates from voting. Examples include Ireland, Zimbabwe, El Salvador and Nepal.
No appeal can be heard by Canada’s courts before October so many Canadian expatriates will have to passively sit on the sideline during the coming federal election on 19 October 2015. Many are unhappy.
Is it fair to ban expats from voting? (BBC – in English)
Expat vote ban lifted, but not in time for EU referendum (Telegraph – in English)
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