Canada's NDP

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May 3rd, 2022

New Democrats want young Canadians to have a voice on the issues that matter

OTTAWA – Today, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and NDP MP Taylor Bachrach proposed changing the voting age to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote.

From the climate crisis to the skyrocketing cost of housing, young Canadians are increasingly concerned about how political decisions made today will impact them in the future.

New Democrats are proposing to change Canada's federal voting age so young people will have a stronger say in choosing their government and addressing the issues that affect them.

“Young Canadians are concerned about the federal government’s decisions on the climate crisis, and they’re worried they’ll never be able to afford a home in the communities where they live,” said Singh. “The Liberals say the right things, but whether it’s allowing housing prices to soar out of reach or continuing to support fossil fuel projects that are driving up emissions, they keep selling out young Canadians’ futures. New Democrats want 16 and 17-year-olds to be able to vote so that they can have some input into the decisions that are impacting their lives now and for years to come.”

Young people already have responsibilities without representation in Parliament. By age 16, many young Canadians are already working and paying taxes on their income, driving, and even joining the military. Yet, they have no voice in Parliament or ability to influence the decision makers whose choices affect their lives.

A total of 13 countries have already changed the voting age to below 18 for national or local elections and a group of young people from across Canada have launched a court challenge to argue that the age limitations in the Canada Elections Act violate their Charter rights.

"New Democrats believe that when we bring more voices into politics, better decisions get made," said Bachrach. "I've been inspired and impressed by the young people I've had a chance to interact with during my time in politics. This bill presents a chance to strengthen Canada's democracy and bring young people into the conversation in a meaningful way."

Research in countries that have lowered the voting age has found that lowering the voting age increases election turnout among young people. Studies have also found that 16 and 17-year-olds are more interested in politics and have more trust in civic institutions.