Canadian expat voting case going to Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of Canada has agreed to hear the case for voting rights that currently are denied to 1.4 million Canadians living abroad for more than five years.

The hearing is expected to take place early next year.

Expats said that the legal battle was a see-saw situation since 1993.

“For a while, we could reset the five-year clock by returning on vacation,” said Joan Ritchie Dewar, a Canadian expat in Costa Rica, in an August statement announcing the bid to the Supreme Court. “That ended in 2011.  In 2012 a lawsuit was filed by Canadians currently living and working in the U.S.A.  In 2014 they won, and now in 2015 it has been overruled, creating a backlash amongst expat Canadians around the world.”

Their country’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that all Canadian citizens have the right to vote, without qualification as to their place of residence or for how long, the disenfranchised Canadians are quick to point out.

Two Canadian citizens currently living and working in the United States challenged the overseas voting rule in 2012 in Ontario Superior Court. A favorable decision there resulted in the vote being restored in 2014.

That ruling was overturned last July by the Ontario Court of Appeal and this created a backlash among Canadians living and working around the world.

They include aid workers, teachers, journalists, business people, entertainers, creators, innovators, and professional athletes, who are disenfranchised, Mrs. Dewar said.

The appeal to the Supreme Court is designed to affirm the rights and principles of Canadian democracy to its citizens living abroad, she added in a statement Thursday. Many of the estimated 10,000 Canadians residing in Costa Rica will be affected, she said.

Some178 persons raised $14,629 in seven months through a GoFundMe campaign.

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