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September 29th, 2022

The Liberals and Conservatives refuse to give young Canadians a voice

OTTAWA – Yesterday, NDP MP Taylor Bachrach’s proposal to change the voting age to 16 was rejected by the Liberal government and Conservatives. Bachrach’s bill would have given young people a say in the decisions being made about the climate crisis, the lack of affordable housing and the cost of living that has a huge impact on young Canadians and their futures.

“Young Canadians have more at stake than ever before. They’re worried about the worsening climate emergency. They’re anxious about ever being able to afford rent or homes in their communities,” said Bachrach. “Home ownership is at a 20-year low amongst young people and the sky-high cost of living continues to make things worse. The political decisions being made right now impact young Canadians and their futures.”

It’s hypocritical that the Conservatives and Liberal government chose to reject the proposal. The Conservative Party already allows 14-year-olds vote in their leadership races and the Liberals claim to be champions for youth, while directly ignoring recommendations from their own Youth Advisory Council. The Liberal government’s House Leader, Mark Holland, proposed changing the voting age to 16 back in 2005, saying that doing so “represents an incredible opportunity.” Today, he and his government had the chance to give young people that opportunity and they voted against it.

“The Liberals must now explain to young Canadians why they keep consulting them and then ignoring their recommendations,” said Bachrach. “Today was a huge, missed opportunity to include more, diverse perspectives and strengthen our democracy. I’m proud of New Democrats’ work alongside young people across Canada, and I have no doubt that together we will eventually succeed. We will keep pushing to ensure the voices of young Canadians are heard and valued in political conversations.”