â€œIt is patently undemocratic to restrict someoneâ€™s ability to participate in our democracy because they are engaging in the myriad of opportunities available globally,â€� said Megan Leslie. â€œCanadians living outside the country still have a vested interest in the decisions of government, taxation, our economy, our justice system and rights.â€�
Under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Canadian citizens who are 18 years and older have the right to vote as well as â€œthe right to enter, remain in and leave Canadaâ€�.
â€œIn contrast to the Conservatives and their attacks on democracy, the NDP is standing up for electors,â€� added Leslie. â€œCanadians living abroad are a significant asset to Canada, domestically and internationally. These folks may not hold citizenship somewhere else and yet they are being totally and unreasonably disenfranchised.â€�
According to Stats Canada, there could be as many as 2.8 million Canadians living abroad. The five year residency rule does not apply to members of the Canadian Armed Forces, RCMP personnel or diplomats.