Lower voting age to 16, UBCM votes

Young people passionate and engaged, delegates told

Lowering the voting age to 16 has been endorsed by the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) at its annual conference Sept. 26.

The City of Victoria put forward the motion saying young people have a strong interest in their communities’ futures and should be empowered to participate in the democratic process.

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Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps dismissed the idea that young people are not informed enough to vote.

“One of the arguments not to support this is youth are not informed enough,” Helps said. “I would argue this has to do with all our residents – not to do with age.”

Helps noted that youth around the world have been marching by the millions to protest the response to climate change.

Although she was not mentioned by name, speakers noted that movement has as a leader a 16-year-old – Greta Thunberg – who last week chastised world leaders at the United Nations for their climate inaction.

She said that is indicative of the passionate engagement of youth.

“These are precisely the kinds of features we want in our voters,” Helps said.

But, countered District of Wells Coun. Jordan Rohatynski, when he was 16, he did not understand the seriousness of what he would have been voting for. As well, he said, someone that age could be unduly influenced by their parents.

The UBCM rejected calls in 2011 and 2006 to lower the voting age to 17.

jhainsworth@glaciermedia.ca

@jhainswo

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