I support lowering the voting age to 16 in B.C.

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We are in this together

We are at an extraordinary point in time. Students and teachers are being sent into classrooms together during a pandemic. Work is more precarious than ever before. The climate crisis marches on.

The future is bleak for B.C. youth – they are at the mercy of government decisions, but have no voice in our democracy.

It’s time to shift decision-making power. It’s time to lower the voting age to 16 in B.C.

More than anyone, teachers understand the challenges students face. They are on the front lines – witnessing the struggle as young people face an uncertain future, trying their best to offer resources and support. All across B.C., there are up to 30 people sharing a classroom who face the same consequences of government decisions. But only one has the right to vote – and hold our politicians accountable.

Imagine adding 100,000 new voters to the electorate who directly understand the challenges and opportunities teachers, their students and their schools face. Suddenly the issues at the heart of the education system would be front row. Health and safety in the classroom. Class sizes. Curriculum. Funding. School closures. Diversity and inclusion.

Lowering the voting age will actively engage students in their education. It will help them connect their studies with the real world and show them how to take action. Learning about everything from the environment and climate change to social justice and human rights will be broadened by a tangible understanding of policy and government decisions and supplemented with a direct route to make change.

The voting age has already been lowered in 20 countries and the movement is quickly gaining momentum. Lowering the voting age, especially coupled with a curriculum built around learning about elections, politics and government, creates lifelong voters, increasing democratic participation over time.

Youth are already engaged and passionate. They understand the world around them and want to make it a better place.

Let’s give them the tools to make real change.

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