The federal voting age has—for the fourth time in five years—emerged as a point of interest, as a private bill to lower the age from 19 to 16 has been reintroduced in Parliament.
According to Senator Marilou McPhedran, lowering the voting age would bring about a "high functioning Canada."
“We already know that young people are leaders of today and tomorrow,” said McPhedran, who sponsors the Act To Amend The Canada Elections Act. “My generation is leaving a lot on their young shoulders.”
“Lowering the federal voting age is one key step towards a more just, sustainable and high-functioning Canada for the long haul ahead,” said McPhedran. “I’m not the first parliamentarian to try for this transformational change, but this is the first time such a bill has started in the Senate.”
Formerly, bills from NDP and Green MPs have gained little traction, says Blacklock's Reporter.
New Democrat MP Don Davies made the argument that those who work and pay taxes should have the right to represent themselves with a vote.
“Young voters often work and pay taxes and yet they have no representation as to how those tax dollars are spent,” said Davies. “Voter promotion could be organized through our public education system and start off the process of engaged citizens early on in their lives. Examples of countries that do extend suffrage to 16-year-olds include Austria, Brazil, Scotland, Argentina and Ecuador.”
The push to allow 16-year-olds to vote was supported by former governor general Adrienne Clarkson, who pointed to Greta Thunberg as an example of someone whose vision should allow them to vote.