TORONTO – An Ontario judge has decided against granting a stay of a ruling that allows long-term expatriate Canadians to vote, saying it’s highly unlikely the expat voters would determine the outcome of the upcoming federal byelections.
In ruling against the federal government’s stay request, Appeal Court Justice Robert Sharpe says elections are rarely decided by a handful of votes as Ottawa argued they could be.
As such, Sharpe said, the prospect of causing “irreparable harm” by allowing those who want to cast a ballot to do so was “fairly remote.”
Ottawa is appealing last month’s court ruling that struck down a Canada Elections Act ban on voting rights for Canadians living abroad for more than five years.
The feds argued on Friday for a stay pending disposition of that appeal.
However, Sharpe says it would be impossible to undo the potential harm to non-resident voters if they are stopped from voting in the June 30th byelections and the appeal goes in their favour.
He says that once the election has passed, “the constitutional right to vote in that election will be lost forever.”
© 2014 The Canadian Press