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The federal government is appealing a lower-court ruling that challenged the Canada Elections Act’s rules barring Canadians who have lived abroad for more than five years for voting.

GRAHAM HUGHES/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Ontario's top court begins grappling on Tuesday with the issue of whether long-term Canadian expats should have the right to vote.

Ottawa is appealing a lower-court ruling that says they do have that right.

In that earlier decision, a judge declared a section of the Canada Elections Act unconstitutional. That section barred those living abroad for more than five years from voting in federal elections.

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Ottawa says the restriction is justified in a free and democratic society. Two expats, however, argue the five-year cut-off is arbitrary and unreasonable.

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