Donald Sutherland urges Canadian voters to kick Harper out, endorses Mulcair

“We’re destroying ourselves… Change the government.”

by: Obert Madondo  | Sep 17, 2015

Canadian actor Donald Sutherland is urging voters to kick Prime Minister Stephen Harper out of office during the October 19 federal election. (Photo: Frantogian via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0)

Canadian actor Donald Sutherland is urging voters to kick Prime Minister Stephen Harper out of office during the October 19 federal election. (Photo: Frantogian via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0)

Veteran Canadian actor Donald Sutherland is urging voters to kick Stephen Harper out of office during the 2015 federal election, scheduled for October 19.

Speaking during the red carpet premiere of his film “Forsaken” at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on Wednesday, Sutherland suggested that voters should hand the keys to 24 Sussex Drive to NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair.

“Put in Mulcair… or if you can’t put in Mulcair put in Trudeau’s son, Justin,” the actor said, according to Huffington Post.

The 80-year old Sutherland is one of about 1.4 million Canadians who have been disenfranchised after the Conservatives revoked the voting rights of citizens who have lived outside Canada for longer than five years. Though he spends most of his time in the United States, Sutherland was born in Saint John, New Brunswick. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada, and recipient of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award and a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame.

A CBC reporter asked Sutherland who he would vote for if he had the opportunity to vote during the 2015 federal election.

“Tom Mulcair. He is a man with the kind of heart I’d follow,” Sutherland responded, adding: “We’re destroying ourselves. We should be making piece. We should be offering hope and help. We should be taking in refugees. We’re people who make peace… Change the government.”

Section 3 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees all citizens the right to vote.

Two Canadian citizens now based in the United States brought a Charter challenge against the expat voting ban to the Superior Court in 2014. The court ruled the ban unconstitutional.

But the Harper government appealed the ruling and the Ontario Court of Appeal struck down the lower court’s ruling. Chief Justice George Strathy claimed that allowing expats to vote would “erode the social contract and undermine the legitimacy of the laws.”

Sutherland responded to the ruling with a personal piece titled, “I Am A Canadian Citizen – And I Have A Right To Vote”, published by the Globe and Mail in July.

In the Golden Globe Award winner’s own words:

The Governor-General gave me the Governor-General’s Award a while back. I am on your Walk of Fame in Toronto. My sense of humour is Canadian. But I can’t vote.

Did you know that? If you don’t live here all the time you can’t vote. Americans who live abroad can vote. They can vote because they’re citizens! Citizens! But I can’t. Because why? Because I’m not a citizen? Because what happens to Canada doesn’t matter to me? Ask any journalist that’s ever interviewed me what nationality I proudly proclaim to have. Ask them. They’ll tell you. I am a Canadian. But I’m an expatriate and the Harper government won’t let expatriates participate in Canadian elections.

During the “Forsaken” party, “Sutherland brandished an orange NDP pin that read ‘Harper’s Last Day‘,” reports Toronto Life.

On Tuesday, the actor joined more than 100 progressive celebrities, trade union leaders, environmentalists and aboriginal activists who endorsed the Leap Manifesto, a declaration calling for an immediate transition from fossil fuel dependency to a “Canada based on caring for the earth and one another.”

Other signatories include Neil Young, Maude Barlow, Rachel McAdams, Leonard Cohen, Ellen Page, Alanis Morissette, Michael Ondaatje, and Naomi Klein, a Canadian journalist, activist and author of the bestselling of book “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate.”

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[This article had been edited]

Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based progressive blogger, and the founder and editor of The Canadian Progressive. Follow me on Twitter: @Obiemad

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Obert Madondo

Publisher and editor
Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based independent journalist and progressive political blogger. He's the publisher and editor of The Canadian Progressive.
  • Rick Chablis

    Good for you, Mr. Sutherland! I’m an expat living in the U.S., too. I’m proud to call you a fellow Canadian. Well spoken, sir.

  • Rick Chablis

    Good for you Mr. Sutherland. I’m an expat living in the U.S., too, and I’m proud to call you a fellow Canadian! Well spoken, sir.

  • OneforJoe

    What about Wynne sneaking the Ontario death tax through in the summer. That is a joke of a Liberal Cash Grab again. Not to mention selling Hydro One even though the people of Ontario don’t want the sale. E health, Ornge, Failed Gas Plants to the tune of Billions and that is just Ontario Jus think how the NDP or Liberals can destroy the entire country. Wake up people

  • Bridget

    This Election is a very important. Fellow Canadians it is not only your right but it is your duty to vote. Please don’t take it lightly do your job and research the candidates. Make sure you are confident in who you choose to represent your Country. Look at their past, what they stand for and where they are going to direct our Country in the future. Let’s not be pushovers, let us be responsible adults who are going to take the initiative to move our Country in the best possible direction it can be. Please Canadians do your job.

  • Ellie

    That’s why people who make their living pretending to be someone else shouldn’t run ANYTHING. Stick to doing what your director tells you to Don!

  • Remember Donald Sutherland from Indian town saint john,NB.saying, (I’m going to be a movie star some day) 1968.

  • matthew

    Peace*

  • wayne fenton

    Could it be that he is the former son in law of Tommy Douglas , father of our current Health Care System and first leader of the New Democratic Party, Order of Canada ,just a thought we all know how petty and vindictive Harper is ( I forgot sneaky ).

    • Gregory Turnbull

      I am a Liberal but I welcome Donald Sutherland’s remarks. Too bad Harper disenfranchised over a millionaire ex-pats , their opinions are valuable as they have the advantage of a perspective created by distance. Sutherland’s remarks are pithy and well considered his support for the NDP obviously a deep one, Tommy Douglas was a great Canadian who did so much for this country. Good for him. Not feeling to see that successful Canadians still care.

  • Tina ray

    Actually, Mr. Sutherland was born in Saint John, New Brunswick, not St. John’s Newfoundland. I would think knowing Candian geography at an least elementary level would be a prerequisite of writing on this site.

    • The Canadian Progressive

      Donald Sutherland was indeed born in Saint John, New Brunswick. But an elementary knowledge of geography has got nothing to do with it. In the fast-paced business of political journalism, especially during an landmark election season, and in journalism in general, mistakes are common. Visit The New York Times, Globe and Mail or Toronto Star and you’ll likely encounter one factual correction or two. Still, your comment is appreciated. Mistake noted and corrected. Thanks.

      • NO, say the facts right and use the right ‘peace’. It does matter and you should be editing it instead of defending it.

  • Bob

    St. John’s is in New Brunswick. St Johns is in Newfoundland and Labrador. Authors credibility is missing.

    • Donald Sutherland was indeed born in Saint John, New Brunswick. But it’s strange that, as seems to be your conclusion, the mistake would altogether gut the “authors credibility”. The point is: In the fast-paced business of political journalism, especially during an landmark election season, and in journalism in general, mistakes are common. Visit The New York Times, Globe and Mail or Toronto Star and you’ll likely encounter one factual correction or two. Still, your comment is appreciated. Mistake noted and corrected. Thanks.

    • Tina Ray

      Lol…okay. I live in Saint John, NB. The name ‘Saint’ is NEVER abbreviated as it correctly is with the ST. John’s Newfoundland. Trust me. Google it. (however I think we are now straying from the main top of this thread.)

  • Steve Mills

    Donald Sutherland was born in New Brunswick.

    • Donald Sutherland was indeed born in New Brunswick. Mistake noted and corrected. Thanks.

    • OneforJoe

      Sadly he wants to vote NDP but he is not living here to feel the pain they will inflict.

  • First he said he was anti-austerity i.e. not Mulcar, and then said vote for my son’s grandfather’s party i.e. Mulcair. Lame.

  • I don’t like Harper but the opinion of any actor is next to worthless on any subject.

    • He’s a fellow Canadian whose right to vote has been taken away.
      Now, that has to at least bother you a little

    • Sutherland is speaking as one of the 1.4 million Canadians disenfranchised by the dictatorship-style expat vote rule. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees all citizens the right to vote. And when you consider the fact that, in some ridings, the Conservatives won with a few dozen votes in 2011, you can’t help feeling that Harper is stealing this election already. Every person who has a voice should speak out.

    • I am more impressed by Donald Sutherland, whose work I have seen, than by somebody I’ve never heard of. Also, not all actors are alike or of equal worth as human beings.

    • bobbi willetts

      “Actor” is just a career choice. It doesn’t mean that you take your brain out and therefore have no cogent thoughts anymore. An actor can keep up with politics and global issues just as well as a teacher can or a secretary, or mechanic or anybody else. It is narrow minded to dismiss people based on their profession.

    • Marilli

      how on earth can you believe what you think about actors values. actors are as valiant as any other career person. in this whole world there are good or evil people. however, unless one personally knows a person, one has no right to make such assumptions as you make.