Calgary Heritage candidate hopeful from U.S. arrives in Calgary to take on Stephen Harper

Dual-citizen candidate hopeful Nicolas Duchastel de Montrouge says he's trying to bring awareness about a law enforced by the Conservative government that has stripped thousands of expat Canadians of their right to vote.

Nicolas Duchastel de Montrouge trying to raise awareness about expats barred from voting by federal government

An expat who's not allowed to vote in the federal election has decided to run as a candidate instead...and he's chosen Calgary Heritage as his riding...despite never having been to our city. 0:54

An American resident who arrived in Calgary for the first time this week wants to run against Stephen Harper in the upcoming federal election.

Nicolas Duchastel de Montrouge, who also holds Canadian citizenship, arrived in the city for the leaders debate on Thursday.

Nicolas Duchastel de Montrouge wants is running against Stephen Harper in the Calgary Heritage riding as part of a larger campaign to restore the voting rights of Canadians living abroad. (Danielle Nerman/CBC)

He needs 100 signatures from people who live in the riding of Calgary Heritage to get his name on the ballot.

As of Friday morning, Duchastel de Montrouge had just two signatures — one of which he snagged on his flight from Seattle to Calgary from a man he says is a longtime Conservative supporter.

"My goal is non-partisan, I have nothing against Stephen Harper. I really want to get attention to the fact that every single Canadian should have the right to vote, regardless of where they live."

Duchastel de Montrouge, like 1.4 million other Canadian expats, can't vote by mail in the Oct. 19 federal election because of a law which has been around for years, but was only recently enforced by the Harper government.

It states that Canadians who have lived abroad for more than five years can't cast a ballot in any election.

Duchastel de Montrouge has been living in the U,S, for 15 years and, during that time, has voted in several Canadian federal elections.

"This concerns all Canadians because it concerns democracy. Right now, because of some bureaucratic change — remember there was no discussion in the House of Commons ... there was no law voted. Someone just changed it," he said.

"Well, could they change it later so that people who don't make enough money don't get to vote? Or  [people who are] elderly or students? We have to be on guard for that."

Although Duchastel de Montrouge is not allowed to vote in Canada anymore, he can legally run for office as long as he gets those 100 signatures.

He went to the Glenmore Landing shopping mall Friday afternoon to drum up support.

Nicolas Duchastel de Montrouge gathers signatures in the riding of Calgary Heritage Friday afternoon. (Scott Dippel/CBC)


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