At a news conference on Thursday, May 5, 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.
“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.
Although Jagmeet Singh insisted this is not a political and partisan bill. He admits his party will benefit from the change but claims that is not the reason he supports it.
A reporter mentioned Singh’s political strategy a big push in to social media platform tiktok and constantly reaching out to connect with younger voters and attracting people that are too young to vote. “lowering the voting age to 16 may actually benefit you politically so why should you’re saying this is a bipartisan multi-partisan effort why should other political parties sort of side with you here since there seems to be a political strategy to target younger Canadians to bring them into your movement and now you’re also advocating for a lower voting age?” the reporter asked.
“lowering the voting age just increases participation and to do” responded Singh adding “I think everyone who believes in democracy supports”
“We of course want to win elections so that’s always something that we want to do because we want to provide better help to people and better representation. But the question of lowering the voting age really is a fundamental question of how do we strengthen our democracy”
This isn’t the first time lowering the voting age bill has been brought up in.
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.