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Canadian News May 3, 2022 3:20 PM EST

NDP leader says 16-year-olds should be able to vote because of climate change

"Young people should have a say on how that is dealt with, and how those questions are responded to. We strongly support this bill," said Singh.

NDP leader says 16-year-olds should be able to vote because of climate change
Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal, QC

New Democrat leader Jagmeet Singh says he supports his party member's bill that would see the voting age lowered to 16, arguing that 16-year-olds in Canada will face the most challenges with the housing crisis and climate change, and thus should have the right to vote.

"Our member of Parliament Taylor Bachrach put out a party member's bill on lowering the voting age, something we think is fundamentally important, and we believe it will be a step to strengthen democracy to encourage more participation, and we've seen great evidence that that's what happens," said Singh on Tuesday.

"Young people at the age of 16 participate in society, they work, they pay their taxes, they're able to drive, they're able to get married, and they should be able to vote, and one of the strongest arguments for why we believe this is so important is because young people are more than ever going to be impacted disproportionately by the decisions we make today," he continued.

"Some of those decisions include the climate crisis which will most directly impact young people, so they should have a say in what happens.

"Secondly, the housing crisis, which is one of the biggest crises which as a society we're up against, is also going to disproportionately impact young people...

"Young people should have a say on how that is dealt with, and how those questions are responded to. We strongly support this bill," said Singh.

Lowering the voting age is not a new idea. In March of last year, Green Party MP and former leader Elizabeth May took to the floor of the House of Commons to call for the voting age in Canada to be lowered to 16.

"Certainly we see a crisis in the youngest demographic in this country not voting, clear empirical evidence such as that that we reviewed when we had a special committee on electoral reform pointed in the direction that people who start voting stick with their voting habits," May continued.

"Voting at 16 is a key way of refreshing, restarting, and rebooting our democracy," she said.

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