Donald Sutherland urges Canadian voters to kick Harper out, endorses Mulcair
“We’re destroying ourselves… Change the government.”
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.”
Around the Web:
- I Am A Canadian Citizen – And I Have A Right To Vote – Globe and Mail
- Expat Canadian who can’t vote aims to challenge Harper in Calgary – CBC News
- Long-term Canadian expats lose right to vote, appeal court rules – Toronto Star
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[This article had been edited]