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Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
It's one out of several factors.

The bottom line is, if I will pay tax on repatriated accumulated wealth as well as the property taxes I will pay with money I am bringing back into the country and adding to the economy... how does the argument "not paying taxes" really stand up? I will be paying taxes. I have paid a lot of taxes in previous years. I pay taxes in a foreign country right now (oddly, I can't vote there.) It's really a small part of a bigger argument and people like to focus on that singular issue to wipe out a person's entire eligibility to vote.

Currently I am not using Canada's medical system nor much of the other infrastructure. So I'm not paying for that. Does that make me less Canadian?
 
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praktik

TRIBE Member
Well this discussion got to a bit of a pet peeve of mine: the infection of "taxpayer" mantra in our political discourse.

I actually totally get where you're coming from in your posts Klubmasta and I am now motivated to check out the decision sometime just to see what merit there may have been in the winning side because I can't concieve of that many arguments that would successfully outweigh what Boss Hog has put forward...

..Which doesn't mean someone else hasn't actually put forward such arguments. The decision would seem to suggest someone has! :)

NO one - however - will convince me that paying taxes should play any sort of role in determining someone's right to vote or not vote. It may seem "fair" on the surface, a "skin in the game" argument, so perhaps if this is how you think of it I can shame you off of it by linking this to older, outdated conceptions of democracy that required one own land before they could vote. Why should I consider being a "taxpayer" anything other than a modern extension of this same anti-democratic ideal of needing "skin in the game" in order to vote?

I thought being a citizen of Canada was what was your "skin in the game", and Boss Hog convincingly relayed a number of reasons why he feels he still has "skin in the game" despite not being in Canada for a while and despite not paying taxes. We should also note there are many Canadians that don't pay taxes and live here - and whose vote should count just as much as tax-paying Canadians.

Again, taxpayers don't vote - citizens do!
 
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Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
For the record - I've been in Canada this summer for two months and have dropped a ridiculous amount of cash in this country traveling east to west. I've also paid taxes on all of that. I do this every 2 -3 years with money made abroad. Yet I can't vote.
 

Klubmasta Will

TRIBE Member
Again, taxpayers don't vote - citizens do!

so then answer my hypothetical query above: are you suggesting that someone born in canada (i.e. a canadian citizen) who moved out of canada 50 years ago, has never paid taxes in canada and has no intention of ever moving back to canada, should have the right to vote in canadian elections?

i'm trying to understand where you would draw the line with your "citizens get to vote" position. i know that the above does not describe boss hog.

I can't concieve of that many arguments that would successfully outweigh what Boss Hog has put forward...

that's because boss hog said many things that indicate a strong continuing tie to canada, including the fact that he intends to move back to canada. while i was being facetious when i mentioned this, the fact is that if the CRA were to rule on a similar situation, it would likely consider such an individual to be a resident of canada (for tax and other purposes), and therefore the individual would be entitled to vote. so, a hypothetical person in such a situation WOULD have the right to vote.

if the legislators were attempting to make a fair rule that would apply to the million or so expats, it is not surprising that such rule would result in some unfairness in some situations. the same is true of most of our laws.
 

Jeffsus

TRIBE Member
There has to be some place better. I keep on romanticizing Berlin. I hear it's cheap, they've got subways, and that city exports cool things.

In Berlin,

You can empty out from some club, where your shirt was stolen.

Make your way up Franziskanner Platz, at 4am. I think it's assumed a few creeper Germans will hit on you, given the shirtlessness and drunkenness. Do the Germans have drunk tanks? I wouldn't know, but it's something I'd ask GAP adventure tours.

There are many ruins on the border between what used to be east-west Berlin. The new Reichstag was being built at the time.

Perhaps drunk, perhaps curious, we crawled into a courtyard and, finding nothing, passed out. I guess "drunk" is the more operative word here.

But we awoke to some surprising teenagers, quite active, and sporting knives. They weren't too much interested in my friend and me, but something was going down. We left, in the middle of the night. We shouldn't have been there anyway.

We showed up at our hostel at about 10am, and only had a few hours to make it to the opera.

-jM
A&D
 
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praktik

TRIBE Member
so then answer my hypothetical query above: are you suggesting that someone born in canada (i.e. a canadian citizen) who moved out of canada 50 years ago, has never paid taxes in canada and has no intention of ever moving back to canada, should have the right to vote in canadian elections?

i'm trying to understand where you would draw the line with your "citizens get to vote" position.

I would just not use tax paying at all. Perhaps the number of years needs to be higher than 5, or some number of family members residing in Canada still to guarantee their continued right to vote.

Boss Hog makes clear our current rules are denying the vote to people who should be able to vote, so whatever we relax them to, the paying of taxes should not be among the factors considered. Would prefer a higher number if years outside and begin to count lengthy visits home as "restarting the clock" - as these are evidence of continued strong relations in the country.

Generally speaking? A more permissive approach to voting rules should be our general stance, so I will typically be inclined to side with Boss Hog on matters like this on principle.
 

Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
so then answer my hypothetical query above: are you suggesting that someone born in canada (i.e. a canadian citizen) who moved out of canada 50 years ago, has never paid taxes in canada and has no intention of ever moving back to canada, should have the right to vote in canadian elections?

One would expect these types of expats are among the 1 million that don't actually vote. If they've been away from Canada that long, they probably have no interest in voting anyway. Any who did would be a fairly negligible number.

It's like this "fair elections act" the conservatives cooked up to thwart voter fraud that doesn't actually exist. Yet will disenfranchise a number of legally entitled voters come election day.
 

janiecakes

TRIBE Member
Americans living outside of the country have the right to vote no matter how long they have been abroad providing they pay taxes. The right to vote expires in the United Kingdom after 15 years abroad. To put this into perspective, this is three times longer than what Canada permits even though Canada is part of the Commonwealth.

Australian citizens abroad are allowed to vote so long as they intend to return to Australia within six years. After six years, citizens can renew their status by making an annual declaration of their intention to return “at some point” thereby voting for an indefinite period. In New Zealand, there is a three-year limit but the clock restarts every time citizens visit the country. Moreover, New Zealand extends the right to vote to non-citizen residents from other Commonwealth countries.

The United Kingdom extends similar voting rights to citizens of Commonwealth countries and citizens of the Republic of Ireland. The five-year limit in Canada is an arbitrary number and is unnecessarily onerous. On the surface, it is a year less generous than Australia, but Australians can renew their status by expressing a mere intent to return to the country “at some point” in the future. Canadians, on the other hand, need to resume residency to regain their right to vote abroad.

Reframing the debate over expat voting - Macleans.ca
 

Wiseman

TRIBE Member
wiseman/praktik - to be clear, are you suggesting that someone born in canada (i.e. a canadian citizen) who moved out of canada 50 years ago, has never paid taxes in canada and has no intention of ever moving back to canada, should have the right to vote in canadian elections?

that, to me, does not make sense. once has to draw the line somewhere.

i also don't buy the logic that paying taxes is completely irrelevant. taxes enable our government to exist and operate. while one's tax-paying status should not be completely determinative, i do think it is a factor.

1. Yes. If you have achieved Citizen status you should be able to vote period. No limitations.

2. So should Welfare recipients not be able to vote?
 
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praktik

TRIBE Member
For those worried about harms from relaxing these rules, should be their duty to show how more permissive regimes in other countries have resulted in actual harm to the democratic process of voting.

What Orwellian hellscape is happening in the UK from doing this??
 

Klubmasta Will

TRIBE Member
^ I agree with you all that 5 years may be too short, but, like I said, I also see the logic on the other side, and I don't think 5 years is such an outrageous amount of time that it counts as a horrible injustice.

In Jane's magazine quote above, it says Americans can vote in U.S. elections no matter how long they live abroad "provided they pay [U.S.] taxes."

I have to reiterate the point that I made above, which nobody arguing against the 5 year rule has addressed yet. boss hog said this:

Non-residency is NOT non-citizenship. I still carry a Canadian passport. I am in Canada every few years at the longest stretch. I am more connected to the news and politics than a large portion of Canadians who live in country. My family lives here. I was born here. One day, I will repatriate my accumulated wealth and will be taxed on that, as well as the property I am saving to buy. Political decisions made today affect my life then.

If the above facts were presented to the CRA, the CRA would likely consider Boss Hog to be a resident of Canada, and he would thus be required to pay Canadian taxes and he would be entitled to vote in Canada. Obviously, he would downplay his ties to Canada in order to not be deemed a resident for tax purposes. I would do the same in that situation, as would 99% of others.

It is unfair to criticize the 5 year rule using an example of an expat with such strong ties to Canada, because those same strong ties would, in the eyes of Canadian law, likely result in that individual being deemed a resident for tax and for voting purposes.

If you take away the examples of individuals with strong ties to Canada, then you are left with a group of people without strong ties to Canada who have not lived in Canada for 5 years or more, and it becomes a much harder argument to win.

I don't like arguing this side because, as I said, I agree that 5 years may be too short, and perhaps 7 or 8 years would be more appropriate. That said, I do not think the 5 year rule is an incredible injustice, which was the point of my original comment on this topic.

Praktik - I do not understand why you think tax-paying should play no role whatsoever in determining someone's ties to a country and right to vote. Even Boss Hog agreed that it would be one of many factors to consider.

Wiseman/Praktik - If you guys think that a citizen (born in Canada) who moves away, does not return to Canada for 50 years and who NEVER plans to return to Canada, should still have the right to vote in Canadian elections forever (or until he/she renounces the Canadian citizenship), then we fundamentally disagree on that. I would prefer a system where citizenship is one of many factors to consider.

p.s. Of course welfare recipients should be entitled to vote, as they are residents of Canada. Residency should be a factor that automatically entitles one to vote (but then keep in mind that residency is also the factor that makes one required to pay taxes).
 

janiecakes

TRIBE Member
If the above facts were presented to the CRA, the CRA would likely consider Boss Hog to be a resident of Canada, and he would thus be required to pay Canadian taxes and he would be entitled to vote in Canada. Obviously, he would downplay his ties to Canada in order to not be deemed a resident for tax purposes. I would do the same in that situation, as would 99% of others.

Elections Canada says they have to return to Canada to reside - isn't that different from residency for tax purposes?
 

Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
^ I agree with you all that 5 years may be too short, but, like I said, I also see the logic on the other side, and I don't think 5 years is such an outrageous amount of time that it counts as a horrible injustice.

In Jane's magazine quote above, it says Americans can vote in U.S. elections no matter how long they live abroad "provided they pay [U.S.] taxes."

I have to reiterate the point that I made above, which nobody arguing against the 5 year rule has addressed yet. boss hog said this:



If the above facts were presented to the CRA, the CRA would likely consider Boss Hog to be a resident of Canada, and he would thus be required to pay Canadian taxes and he would be entitled to vote in Canada. Obviously, he would downplay his ties to Canada in order to not be deemed a resident for tax purposes. I would do the same in that situation, as would 99% of others.

It is unfair to criticize the 5 year rule using an example of an expat with such strong ties to Canada, because those same strong ties would, in the eyes of Canadian law, likely result in that individual being deemed a resident for tax and for voting purposes.

I went through the CRA's definitions of non-residency and I fit them all. I didn't have to downplay my tie to Canada or fib in any way. I don't own property. I don't really have any belongings here because I sold everything off before I left. I don't have investments here. I don't have any dependents here. So by their definitions, I am a non-resident and don't have to pay income tax. These are their rules.

I'll say it again - it's baffling and myopic that anyone would fix on the one point of taxation as a legitimacy of voting rights.
 
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praktik

TRIBE Member
I'll say it again - it's baffling and myopic that anyone would fix on the one point of taxation as a legitimacy of voting rights.

Its not all that baffling if you consider we've endured a few decades of taxpayer mantra becoming a part of our political discourse. We've been trained to think this way due to the ideological moment of the 80s and 90s and how that influenced how we conceive of ourselves in a democracy.

I dont see - on a philosophical level - how this is different from requiring one own land before voting - while it's "nicer", since more people pay income taxes than own land, but isn't it the same enhancement of democratic privilege for a more monied class at the expense of a poorer one?

Of course in this use-case the tax paying is only used for the expat community, but I don't see how that obviates the moral and democratic dilemmas you cause when voting is tied to the paying of taxes.

And I'm not surprised this is a rule in the states, that's the source of infection for our "taxpayer" demagoguery. I really like the Australian approach.
 

diablo

TRIBE Member
I think it's reasonable to have some objective criteria for maintaining one's eligibility to vote beyond a nebulous "intent to return".

The whole disenfranchising-the-poor argument is a red herring; obviously, Canadian citizens and residents who don't end up paying tax in a given year because they fall below the income tax cutoff should be (and are) eligible to vote.

However, if someone hasn't set foot in Canada for X number of years and isn't paying any taxes here, I can understand the argument that they don't have any business voting in Canadian elections. As Klubmasta has mentioned, the handful of committed ex-pats that are affected by these rules are likely far outweighed by tax exiles and citizens of convenience (which should both have reasonable efforts made to curtail them).
 

glych t.anomaly

TRIBE Member
Man, Canada is behind the times and archaic in this respect IMO.

We want our citizens to vote. We want good voter turnout so that it is not skewed in favor of one party or another.

Participation is key in this respect. I think incentives to vote should be in place, or on the flip side mandatory voting or you get a fine.

Citizens of Brazil even when abroad, can vote for their choice by going to the consulate in any country they are currently in and electronically cast their vote ( it was so awesome to see my S.O. vote for their election from Canada. )

Why take away a citizen's right that was born in your country to vote ? The smallest % of expats dont come back, or have any real effect, and even if they could vote? why shouldnt they be allowed. Can a person not still know what is good for a country while living somewhere else?

A Majority of people as has been previously stated go abroad to gain exp, knowledge and money.

Many take the money they are making, and have investments, property they rent etc. there is so many variables here, its absurd to think that so few canadian's being away for indeterminate amounts of time are affecting a policy such as this.

For one of the greatest places to live, there sure seems to be an effort to make it not so great as of late ( cough , Stephen Harper is ruining Canada. )

This also makes me think of the law recently passed that Citizens that have immigrated here, pay taxes, can vote, and bring industry, culture and newness to our country can now have that stripped from them if they do something the country deems unacceptable.

What if you leave your country, become a canadian citizen, and in some cases give up your citizenship for your previous country, and now what? You dont get to have a home anywhere.

I honestly do not understand this logic!

we have barely 36 million people in our country! why are we trying to alienate people born and people that have literally uprooted their entire lives to come live in a better place?
 
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DJ Vuvu Zela

TRIBE Member
Why can't it just be the first part "X number of years"?? Why bring taxes into it at all?

i believe the point diablo is making is that someone who hasn't been in Canada in X years would still be able to vote if they have been paying taxes (i.e they are still materially participating in the political system).

so those 2 conditions are not contingent on each other, but rather could be an either or situation. (a reasonable solution)

Someone mentioned that there is no time frame for Americans, but it's all important to note that US citizens must file tax returns regardless of where they live.
 
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diablo

TRIBE Member
i believe the point diablo is making is that someone who hasn't been in Canada in X years would still be able to vote if they have been paying taxes (i.e they are still materially participating in the political system).

so those 2 conditions are not contingent on each other, but rather could be an either or situation. (a reasonable solution)

Someone mentioned that there is no time frame for Americans, but it's all important to note that US citizens must file tax returns regardless of where they live.

That is indeed what I was suggesting.
 

Wiseman

TRIBE Member
The test should for any Canadian Citizen regardless of where they live or pay taxes is whether they want to participate in our democracy or not.
 

Klubmasta Will

TRIBE Member
I went through the CRA's definitions of non-residency and I fit them all. I didn't have to downplay my tie to Canada or fib in any way. I don't own property. I don't really have any belongings here because I sold everything off before I left. I don't have investments here. I don't have any dependents here. So by their definitions, I am a non-resident and don't have to pay income tax. These are their rules.

The determination of residency for income tax purposes is not that simple. You would have to consider, among other things, the definitions of "resident", "non-resident", "ordinarily resident", "deemed resident", "factual resident", "factual non-resident" and the tie-breaker rules. I am not a tax expert, but I have taken tax courses at law school and recall entire chapters being written on residency rules.

The key authority on residency in Canada is the SCC case of Thompson v. MNR which includes the following statements that are used today by the CRA to determine residency:

1. Residence is determined by "a matter of the degree to which a person in mind and fact settles into or maintains or centralizes his ordinary mode of living with its accessories in social relations, interests and conveniences at or in the place in question."

2. Ordinarily resident means “residence in the course of the customary mode of life of the person concerned, and it is contrasted with special or occasional or casual residence. The general mode of life is, therefore, relevant to a question of its application. Ordinary residence can best be appreciated by considering its antithesis, occasional or casual or deviatory residence. The latter would seem clearly to be not only temporary in time and exceptional in circumstances, but also accompanied by a sense of transitoriness and of return."

In other words, if one has left Canada for a temporary period (such as to work so that he/she could afford a home in Canada) and plans to return to Canada in the not-to-distant future to buy a home in Canada, all the while retaining strong social ties to Canada, I think there is a good chance the CRA would deem that person to be a resident for tax purposes.

Obviously, the individual in question would downplay the fact that he/she is returning to Canada ("Nothing is certain. I am keeping my options open.") if questioned by the CRA, which is normal.

I am sure you are not lying to avoid Canadian taxes. I was just commenting (in jest), in response to your explanation of why you should get to vote, which included your statement that you WILL (meaning absolutely 100%) be returning to Canada to buy a home, that such a statement to the CRA would quite possibly result in the CRA saying you should file a Canadian tax return.

By the way, when I was looking up the SCC quotes above, I found this law firm statement advising that the plaintiffs in the Ont.C.A. case that took away your right to vote will be appealing the decision to the SCC. CanadiansVotingAbroad
 
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