17 December 2010

BC's Political Scene: Voting age hypocrisy

For decades I have supported lowering the voting age to 16 for election of officials to all levels of government. I might even support lowering it to 14.

This week BC Liberal leadership hopeful Mike de Jong was first out of the gate with the proposal to lower the voting age in this province to 16. None of the arguments against the change have borne up, not even under the most halfhearted scrutiny.

The No side's primary objections: that 16-year-olds are immature, lack the skills to think critically and cannot form opinions independent of the influence of others (isn't the latter what political campaigns and mid-term communications strategies are about? - peddling influence?).

I recently suggested that those 18plus-year-olds who are slagging 16-year-olds observe their own chatter in terms of maturity, critical thinking, independent opinion... In other words, pot meet kettle.

I leave it to another to flesh out why lowering the voting age makes sense and to rebut the nonsense arguments of the naysayers. For me the bottom line is this:

The BC NDP allows members as young as 12 years old to vote for the party's leader. The BC Liberal Party permits 14-year-old members to vote for leader. Therefore, anyone against lowering the voting age to 16 who also runs as a candidate on behalf of the NDP or Liberals - for party leader or for a MLA spot - is a hypocrite.

Recommend this post