in 2014 I moved to China. I have been working there since. I am getting married in China, and we will be staying there until it is time to retire. Recently the courts in Canada have given me, and then taken away my long term ability to vote as a Canadian citizen living abroad. I was inspired by Donald Sutherland’s recent statement (article) regarding the decision.
The argument is, “It will be an unfair imposition to the Canadians dealing with Canadian policies on a daily basis to have Canadians living abroad have a say in Canada’s politics.” I am choosing to live abroad, this is true. However, I am effected by Canada’s policies as well. What Canada does on the world stage effects me. As a Canadian citizen, I am left to answer for what my government does. It affects visas in foreign countries, as well as dealing with authorities. When Canada makes an ass of itself, I am made to be an ass as well.
People vote with their own interests in mind. Business owners will likely vote for the candidate who promises lower taxes on businesses, or relaxed regulations. Families will likely vote in favour of the family friendly policy candidates. The elderly will look for the senior friendly policies, and so forth. Expats are the same, expats will vote in favour of friendly, and embracing foreign policies. This is our niche, just as other voters have a niche. We are not looking to destroy Canada with the vote, we are looking for our voice to be heard on the issues which matter to us. There isn’t a voter in Canada who would vote against the issues which effect them.
Someday I will move back to Canada with my wife from China. Then, I will be able to resume voting for the party with the smallest ass at the helm. However, until then, I have one vote left. It is for the election on October 19, 2015. While I have yet to decide the recipient of my vote, I can say this for certain, my vote will be cast against Stephen Harper. My last act for 25 years as a voting Canadian citizen is to try to help remove the Harper government. God speed to us all who will vote in that way.
Since writing this I have had a brilliant idea. We need an Expat MP. Instead of having all the expats vote for MPs in seperate ridings, have expats vote for the representation, standing for their interests with the Canadian government. One seat, for 1 million expats. 1 seat out of 338 seats. It is about .33% of the power, for 2ish% of Canadian citizens (with estimate of 1 million Canadians living abroad). Seems fair(er), compared to the current system.