Lowering the federal voting age

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What do you think the Canadian parliament would look like if 16- and 17-year-olds could vote in federal elections?

18 thoughts on “Lowering the federal voting age

  1. I believe it’d look the same as it does today.

    Voter apathy is high and would be doubly so with the 16-17 year old crowd.

    The only ones who would bother to vote would be highly partisan, and would probably follow the same regional trends as the non-minor vote.

  2. Such action would only increase the number of uneducated and maybe somewhat naive voters.

    Politicians are always looking for the crowd that they can most easily sway over with cheap soundbites.

    Older voters would be more discering, wise and educated.

  3. Well, I have to disagree to a point. I find many adults in their 20s, 30s and beyond as very uneducated about politics and the issues important to us. I don’t see that a 16 or 17 year old would be specifically uneducated. I supported and campaigned for a mayoral candidate when I was 16, and I certainly wasn’t naive about the issues. I made it a point to be educated about them.

    Ok, I know more than one “older person” who is NOT discerning, wise or educated, but just follows the status quo. Using age as a determinant is rather biased.

  4. ok….

    so I wonder, was Jesus at 12 unable to make educated comments and unable to educate the “wiser, discerning older generation”? And Joseph Smith was 14 when he first started the whole process of the restoration, and let’s see, Mormon was 15 when he was given command of the army…

    I am by no means saying all youth are totally educated on every issue, but they are capable of becoming so. And like I said, age isn’t a good determinant for wisdom or discernment. If so, neither Stephen Harper or George Bush would currently be in power.

  5. I’ll point out for the sake of discussion that Jesus, Joseph Smith and Mormon all came from cultures that expected children to grow up much faster than we do today.

  6. No one said anything about 8, Roland, no need to be sarcastic, but it seems like you assume all teenagers are uninformed, unintelligent immature what have you.

    And no, 8 is not the age of responsibility, only accountability.


    Yes, this is true, but what does it stay about us if we don’t teach our children from a young age, about important issues. Not everything of course, but what they can learn to make informed decisions? All I am saying is give the youth some credit. 21 is certainly not a magical age of maturity. And I don’t see it as making them grow up early, but of learning about important issues and being able to have an opinion about them.

  7. Thank you JM.

    Are young people capable and willing enough to make responsible decisions? If so then you should be okay to lower the drinking age down from 21 to whatever age you all agree on here.

  8. I take it you have never been a teenager, Roland, nor have any children that age. Otherwise you might have a little more faith in their common sense (at least some of the time).

    Drinking? I think the age should be raised, as very few people seem to drink responsibly at all, otherwise why do people get killed by drunk drivers? And the age of drunk drivers isn’t limited to the teen years. Getting drunk is not responsible no matter how you look at it, no matter what age you are. Whether it be 16 or whether it be 40. Besides that, alcoholism is a disease, voting is not.

    And you seem to be ignoring what I am saying. I didn’t say the voting age should be lowered (nor did Kim, he was asking a question) my contention was with your across the board assumption that all youth are uninformed and uneducated. And having been a youth with some opinions (some that evolved over time and some that have only been reinforced with age) that were responsible, I have an issue with what you said, which you still haven’t properly addressed, only becoming sarcastic and answering statements that weren’t even made.

  9. The double edged sword of accountability…

    It’s difficult when we have come out and drawn a line in the sand by saying that at the age of eight, a person is accountable unless there are additional circumstances where the person does not have the capacity to be accountable.

    On one hand we are saying that on someone’s eighth birthday they are capable of, and we trust them with determining their eternal outcome. However, we don’t trust them to decide if alcohol is something that they should consume… which according to our beliefs will affect their eternal status. It’s a bit of a double standard.

    Doctrinally we preach that they are ready at eight when experience tells us that they aren’t really fully accountable, rather they are beginning to become accountable.

  10. JM

    I think 8 is a starting age, not necessarily for everything. For example, our daughter is 8, but she certainly isn’t the age for staying on her own while we are out or babysitting her younger siblings for extended periods of time without supervision. I believe the age of 8 means they can begin to understand their testimonies, the Gospel principles in a more defined way, and to begin to make their own decisions for choices they make, as they are able. Probably about as clear as mud, sorry. It’s too hot to think straight.

  11. No, I agree completely. But you understand that our doctrine teaches that eight is the age of accountability. Not the age where we begin to be accountable.

    All I’m saying is that I can see where such a clear cut doctrine can cause some people to take a step back and approach with caution.

  12. I don’t know about any where else, but here in the lower mainland, elementary school students learn about the political system. They learn about the ins and outs of it. They have to bring in flyers and mail outs from different parties (this is when an upcoming election is in the near forecast) to discuss the pros and cons of all members that are running for whatever office they are running for whether it be federal, provincial or municipal.

    They have mock up elections with students forming electors and voters. They hold actual debates with the student bodies asking questions that are important to them. I went to one a couple of years ago and was amazed at how informative these grade 6 and 7’s were. Environmental issues were at the top of their list followed by education and health care. The students that were “running” for office had to go class to class and give talks to the teachers and other students on why they were running for office.

    The school brought in actual adults that were running for office to speak to them in assembly. Voting was done as an option for the students that were voting for the other students and the results were always high.

    We as a general adult population have grown lax and uncaring when it comes to what is important to us. We have seemed to believe why bother voting nobody listens to us. But it is this exact thing that end up getting the idiots in the seats of power. My philosophy is if you don’t vote you don’t have a right to complain about what the government is doing.

    As for lowering the age of voting to 16 or 17. I agree with it with the understanding that the youth would fully understand what it was they were voting for. On the other hand I think the driving age should be raised to at least 20. If you get caught drinking and driving regardless of how old you are, it should be an automatic suspension of liscence forever. If you are stupid enough to do that crime you should be stupid enough to accept the time.

  13. “On the other hand I think the driving age should be raised to at least 20.”

    As long as we’re on the topic of age limits that’ll never change, but should be, I’d like to propose that the age of legal breeding be moved to 20 as well.

    Oh, and the mandatory revocation of the driver’s license at 60 sounds like a good idea too. I could be convinced to extend a de-graduated license of some sort to seniors until they reach 70, but a annual recertification would be a must-have.

  14. Oh, and the mandatory revocation of the driver’s license at 60 sounds like a good idea too. I could be convinced to extend a de-graduated license of some sort to seniors until they reach 70, but a annual recertification would be a must-have.

    As long as the same terms apply to anyone under 25 since the two age groups are responsible for roughly the same number of collisions each.

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