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Ottawa should engage more with the four million Canadians living abroad: senator

OTTAWA — A senator is calling on Ottawa to see Canadian citizens living abroad as more than just people to evacuate in times of crisis.

B.C. Sen. Yuen Pau Woo argues Canadians who live abroad have ties that Canada could use to boost its diplomatic, cultural and economic heft around the world.

He commissioned a study by a McGill University professor, which found the more than four million Canadians living abroad are particularly concentrated in the United States, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.

The study notes that Canadians living abroad often pay taxes but are excluded from certain benefits of citizenship, such as health-care access and the ability to vote in provincial elections.

Woo says Ottawa should create a strategy for how to support Canadian expats and make the most of their connections and skills.

Countries like France have parliamentarians that represent citizens living abroad, while Canadians vote for the MP in the federal riding where they last lived.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 22, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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