An Ontario legislator has formally proposed that the province lower the voting age from to 18 to 16.
Liberal MPP Arthur Potts, who represents the Toronto riding of Beaches—East York, says that if 16-year-olds are trusted to drive cars, coach soccer and pay income tax, “it is time to trust them to vote.”
“I believe we need to get youth more involved in the political process and doing so at age 16 will provide a mix of school structure and family engagement that will help ensure high registration, interest and participation,” Potts says in a news release announcing the tabling of his private member’s bill.
Potts points out that jurisdictions including Austria, Argentina and Brazil have lowered their voting ages to 16, and that Scotland did so with its independence referendum in 2014.
“Most recently, the activism of high school students in the United States following a spate of school shootings has demonstrated that high school youth have the capacity and a willingness to engage in the political process,” the release says.
Potts says the idea was raised by the Young Liberals wing of the party in January.
I believe we need to get youth more involved in the political process and doing so at age 16 will provide a mix of school structure & family engagement that ensures high registration, interest & participation. This Bill is an important 1st step. https://t.co/cKdcf0y2j9 pic.twitter.com/CPXU9SFgV7— Arthur Potts (@apottsmpp) March 5, 2018
Some Queen’s Park observers have pointed out that a private member’s bill such as this one is likely to die without becoming law, because there wouldn’t be enough time to pass it before the election on June 7.
Potts calls the bill “an first important step.”
CTV Toronto asked people on Twitter what they think of the idea. One responded, “Weren’t they just eating laundry detergent?,” an apparent reference to the Tide Pods challenge. Another said, “Of course the old farts … will say no because they have this superiority complex.”
Weren't they just eating laundry detergent?— Kimberly Aggio (@KimberlyAggio) March 5, 2018
#TalkBackTO Absolutely not. Many teenagers won't understand how the issues affect our lives and will only vote based on personality or one specific issue, e.g. marijuana laws. You need to have put in some years dealing with adult issues to understand how laws impact everyone.— Debbie Brooks (@Deb27Debbie) March 5, 2018
The replies saying how two years somehow turns everyone from uneducated into mature well informed voters are ridiculous. Some teens may not be mature enough to vote but i would argue MANY adults are also not mature enough either. We should still all have the right to vote— Baknel (@BaknelJamesMacz) March 5, 2018
No it should not I’m 17 and i think if anything the voting age should be raised to 19 most of my friends and peers have no political idea or are even aware of any issues why give younger citizens that have even less of a clue than i do a vote— c (@carsonlawrance) March 5, 2018
Of course the old farts (anyone 45+ with a social media account) will say no because they have this superiority complex that they're always right #TalkBackTO— Jay M (@Jay876x) March 5, 2018
If the gov’t thinks that at 16 yrs, you can be mature enough to drive a 3,000 lb still object at 100 km/hr without killing people, then perhaps they could be mature enough to vote.— Stu Gatz (@StewartGatz) March 5, 2018