The City of Vancouver has officially endorsed a campaign to lower the municipal election voting age to 16.
The campaign has been endorsed by 20 non-profits, unions, the BC Teachers Federation, BCGEU, and Sustainabiliteens. As well, both the BC NDP and the BC Green Party have voiced their support for the idea and several countries including Austria, Argentina, and Scotland, have already lowered the voting age to 16. Now, after a June 22 council meeting the Vancouver city council is among them.
It passes! Vancouver Council unanimously endorses the @vote16bc campaign to lower the voting age to 16 across BC.#ElectoralReform #Vote16 @Vote16Canada @FairVoteVan @UnlockCanada @OneCityVan #VanPoli #BCPoli https://t.co/vt8QP0LAcN pic.twitter.com/UbFW8taThg— Christine Boyle (@christineeboyle) June 24, 2021
The decision comes following a motion submitted by Councillor Christine Boyle which lists several reasons for the age change.
“Youth have a strong interest in the future of local communities, and decisions made at a local level stand to have a significant impact on whether they continue to be able to call that community home,” Boyle’s motion reads. “Youth have the most at stake in political decisions being made right now, and deserve a say in what lies ahead.”
The motion goes on to say that empowering young people to participate in democratic processes fosters ongoing and active civic participation. That participation fosters a “trickle-up” effect, where parents and other adults in their lives are more likely to vote when youth do.
Also, many youth have been on the front lines during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and will bear the brunt of economic, social and environmental aftermath.
“As fully participating members of society, they deserve to have a say in the decisions made around BC's recovery and forever-changed post-pandemic future,” the motion reads.
While the passing of the motion carries no real power in law, it does mean council has requested that Vancouver’s mayor Kennedy Stweart write a letter to the Premier and the
Minister of Municipal Affairs informing them of the endorsement.