Voters in the UK are on the eve of a historic referendum. Tomorrow, British voters will decide whether stay in the European Union, or pull out.
The vote has implications around the world. And British citizens living abroad, including here on Vancouver Island, could play a deciding role.
Yorkshire native Vanessa Pattison has lived in Victoria for six years. She says she made sure to get her “stay” vote in the mail well ahead of the June 23rd deadline for ex-pat voters, and know hopes it gets counted.
“Because there are so many ex-pats, our votes do count provided they got there on time … No pressure Canada Post!,” she laughed.
More than 5 million British citizens live outside the country, nearly 10 per cent of the UK’s population. Not all of them are eligible to vote, with rules specifying they must have been registered to vote at home within the last 15 years.
But with polls showing British voters split down the middle, tomorrow’s results are expected to be close, and some are suggesting ex-pat ballots could be a deciding factor.
And the vote isn’t simply a spectator sport for Canadians, according to University of Victoria trade and tariff law expert Martha O’Brien. She says a “leave” vote would have major implications for Canadian companies like Bombardier aerospace, doing business in Britain
“They would have to make big decisions about whether to move their investment to the continent,” she said. “It will be very disruptive and for business, there’s almost always a regulatory compliance rule, a tax compliance rule, that costs money.”