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David Young
Lowering The Voting Age to 16

 

David Young

The (third-place) Provincial Liberals in Nova Scotia have proposed legislation to reduce the voting age to 16.

[url=http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Politics/2008/10/31/7264221-cp.html]http://c...

If 16-year olds can drive cars, earn income through employment, and (in some cases) join the military and fight for our country, should they also have the opportunity to mark a piece of paper to decide who their leaders are?

Taxation without representation, some might say!

I would favour lowering the voting age to 16 for municipal elections first. If there is substantial turnout by those ages 16 and 17, then we could look at extending the franchise to them for provincial and federal elections at a future time.

Benoit

quote:


Originally posted by David Young:
[b]The (third-place) Provincial Liberals in Nova Scotia have proposed legislation to reduce the voting age to 16.

[url=http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Politics/2008/10/31/7264221-cp.html]http://c...

If 16-year olds can drive cars, earn income through employment, and (in some cases) join the military and fight for our country, should they also have the opportunity to mark a piece of paper to decide who their leaders are?

Taxation without representation, some might say!

I would favour lowering the voting age to 16 for municipal elections first. If there is substantial turnout by those ages 16 and 17, then we could look at extending the franchise to them for provincial and federal elections at a future time.[/b]


Inside this logic, I would favor increasing the age to join the armed forces and start working at 18. To me, voting is the least important aspect of the electoral process; the most important is developing a will to discuss political matters.

madmax

To be fair, if you are going to lower the voting age, you have to lower the drinking age. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]
I was in the Army at 17 and if I had the right to vote, I would vote for the right to drink.

Dave, You have thought out of the box on this one. I had already shot the idea down in my head, but never thought of testing it on municipal elections. You might be onto something.

What is the purpose, the rationale for lowering the voting age.

[ 06 November 2008: Message edited by: madmax ]

TCD

Why not 14? Why not 12? Generally, we don't let minors vote.

I agree consistency's important - but I don't think driving a car's proof that you're an adult. It means you have basic motor skills.

Across Canada, 16 year olds are minors. You can't buy a house if you're 16. You can't get married if you're 16. You can't buy a beer. Your parents can't kick you out of the house if you're 16. You're held to a different legal standard if you're 16.

So, if we're going to give 16 year-olds the vote then lower the age of majority to 16 and throw them into the world of adulthood. I don't feel comfortable with that idea.

I do think the age of majority should be standardized and then ALL rights of citizenship should be bestowed on a Canadian at that age (ie. being a legal adult at 18 in Ontario but legally prohibited from drinking is BS) and they should have all the protections until that age (being able to sign up for military service while you're legally a minor is crazy)

Wilf Day

[url=http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/Charter/index.html#droits]The Charter of Rights says:[/url]

quote:

3. Every citizen of Canada has the right to vote in an election of members of the House of Commons or of a legislative assembly and to be qualified for membership therein.

1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.


This means the onus of proving 16-year-olds should [b]not[/b] vote is on those claiming this is a reasonable age limit.
[url=http://vote16.ca/en/index.htm]Vote16 was started in December 2004 as an initiative involving members of each of Canada's four political parties [/url]with two principal aims:

1. Lowering the federal voting age to 16
2. Encouraging young people to become more engaged in politics

Current contacts are:
Mark Holland, M.P., Liberal, Ajax-Pickering
Stйphane Bergeron, M.P., Bloc Quйbйcois, Verchиres-Les Patriotes
Nathan Cullen, M.P., NDP, Skeena-Bulkley Valley

quote:

At 16, one can drive a car, drop out of school, or be tried in court as an adult. At 16 one can join the Canadian Forces Reserves, and at 17 one can join the Canadian Forces and die for Canada. That a young person can be sent to war, but not vote for his or her local Member of Parliament is an aberration.

Canadian political parties allow membership and voting rights at age 14. This means that a young person can play a role in choosing the Prime Minister or Party Leader in a party leadership contest, but cannot choose a candidate in a general election.

Many 16 year olds work and pay taxes, yet they have no say in choosing a government that sets taxation levels and chooses how tax dollars are spent.

MPs visiting high schools often find their audiences ask more knowledgeable questions and give more thoughtful opinions than do forums of older people. This refutes the tired argument that 16 year olds lack the knowledge or maturity to vote.

In any case, voting is a right based on citizenship – not on knowledge or capacity. There is no knowledge or means test. A mentally ill or uneducated adult is not denied the right to vote. The idea that voting should be restricted to those possessing particular knowledge is an elitist, undemocratic and dangerous notion.

Eighteen is an awkward age for people to begin exercising voting rights because it is an age of transition. Many 18 year olds are leaving home for the first time, starting university, or beginning new jobs. Moving to a new riding often discourages people from voting because they may not know the candidates, the issues, or how to be registered to vote. At 16, most young people are more settled, living at home with their families, and going to high school. This is a more stable environment in which to first exercise the right to vote.



quote:

Originally posted by TCD:
[b]Your parents can't kick you out of the house if you're 16.[/b]

They most certainly can. And in Ontario the Children's Aid Society cannot help you, since their jurisdiction does not extend to 16-year-olds (unless the child was found by a court to be in need of protection before turning 16.)

The only problem you will have is getting social assistance. They will ask the parents "can the teen return to your home?" When the parents say "yes, if he/she follows our house rules, which he/she has refused to do" you may find a social worker trying to decide if you have been kicked out or not, not that it should really matter.

But the whole thing is a sliding scale.

An order for the adoption of a person who is seven years of age or more shall not be made without the person’s written consent, that is, the child's consent.

Your parent can't change your name without your consent once you are 12. In child protection proceedings a child of twelve has the right to be present in court, is normally given a lawyer, has the right to make court applications, and has the right to receive a copy of any assessment report.

quote:

Originally posted by TCD:
[b]You're held to a different legal standard if you're 16.[/b]

In what way? If you are charged, you're in adult court. You may not be held to some contracts, if that's what you mean.

quote:

Originally posted by TCD:
[b]You can't buy a house if you're 16.[/b]

Not in your own name. Someone has to hold your interest in trust until you are 18. And if a 16-year-old inherits a share in a property that has to be sold before they turn 18, it requires a court order approving it.

quote:

Originally posted by TCD:
[b]You can't get married if you're 16.[/b]

Except with the consent of the custodial parent, which a judge may dispense with summarily.

Benoit

quote:


Originally posted by Wilf Day:
[b]

The Charter of Rights says:

3. Every citizen of Canada has the right to vote in an election of members of the House of Commons or of a legislative assembly and to be qualified for membership therein.
[/b]


Ideally, I would like to give the right to vote to Canadian human fetuses but no way will they ever be able to. Dependency is the main obstacle that is preventing the individual votes of the young to be something meaningful. Fire arms, work, money, fast cars, alcohol are the principal elements that are slowing the maturation of minds in our already very materialistically-entrenched cultural.

TCD

Wilf, the caveats are intersting but you've conceded that 16 year olds can't marry, can't buy a house, and are considered a ward of their parents by government agencies. To answer your question about legal standards [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Youth_Criminal_Justice_Act] people under the age of 18 are subject to the Youth Criminal Justice Act[/url].

I normally have a lot of time for Nathan Cullen but this stuff is pretty inane:

- "At 16, most young people are more settled, living at home with their families, and going to high school." So, living independently of one's parents is deemed to be a problem? By that logic eight year-olds are even more "settled" why not let them vote too?

- "The idea that voting should be restricted to those possessing particular knowledge is an elitist, undemocratic and dangerous notion." Which is good because no one's suggested it. The logic of a voting age is that we presume minors aren't able to vote. Is the age of 18 an arbitrary place to set "adulthood"? Yes. But whatever the age is it will be arbitrary.

- "MPs visiting high schools often find their audiences ask more knowledgeable questions and give more thoughtful opinions than do forums of older people." ... say the same people who will argue in the next sentence that intelligence is not a relevant criterion.

- "Many 16 year olds work and pay taxes, yet they have no say in choosing a government that sets taxation levels and chooses how tax dollars are spent." By that logic people on welfare - who don't work and pay taxes - should lose their right to vote. Right?

- "At 16, one can drive a car, drop out of school, or be tried in court as an adult." In Ontario the dropout age is 18 and Harper's now ready to try 14 year olds as adults.

- "At 16 one can join the Canadian Forces Reserves, and at 17 one can join the Canadian Forces and die for Canada." You know it's kind of sad that someone confronted with these facts concludes that the problem is that 17 year olds can't vote and not the fact that the state is complicit in sending 17 year olds to their possible deaths. Nathan needs to give his head a shake.

[ 06 November 2008: Message edited by: TCD ]

Benoit

quote:


Originally posted by Wilf Day:
[b]

Vote16 was started with the aim of encouraging young people to become more engaged in politics.[/b]


Politics is the real thing; it is not a motivational device. Politicians who think differently can easily be accused of being paternalistic. Arriving at 18 years of age and not being motivated by wielding political power is to me a clear indication that the state has failed to provide a fundamental right to this fresh adult.

[ 06 November 2008: Message edited by: Benoit ]

Fidel

quote:


Originally posted by Benoit:
[b]

Politics is the real thing; it is not a motivational device.[/b]


Old enough to earn McWages, old enough to vote I say.

[ 06 November 2008: Message edited by: Fidel ]

Benoit

quote:


Originally posted by Fidel:
[b]

Old enough to earn McWages, old enough to vote I say.

[ 06 November 2008: Message edited by: Fidel ][/b]


Inside this logic, I would favor increasing the age to start working at 18. Work is essentially a distraction from politics: because the wealthy don't want their places to be taken by the mass, work has been invented.

Fidel

But that would provide another two years for full-time uninterrupted school studies! The feds would have to fund post-secondary ed at pre-1995 levels at the very least.

[ 06 November 2008: Message edited by: Fidel ]

Benoit

quote:


Originally posted by Fidel:
[b]But that would provide another two years for full-time uninterrupted school studies! The feds would have to fund post-secondary ed at pre-1995 levels at the very least.

[ 06 November 2008: Message edited by: Fidel ][/b]


Since Hesiod's WORKS AND DAYS, the Western world has tried to solve political disputes by putting the masses to schools and workplaces. Humanity now sees the result of this solution: for having fear to share the natural resources directly, we have spoiled and polluted nature. The polytheist Hesiod was always using the plural form of work(s); John Calvin has imposed the singular form. Regrouping the various human activities necessary to maintain our metabolism allows Protestantism/capitalism to exploit human energy systematically. The plural form of work(s) only means the tasks necessary to stay alive in this world; the singular form means what a Protestant needs to do to soothe his/her anxiety about his/her individual Salvation in the Afterlife.

Not only are schools and workplaces outdated modern institutions, they were stillborn institutions right at the beginning of modernity. Right from their inceptions, schooling and work were entirely dominated by capital. Surplus work is thus the only concept that is sound. Work that is entirely captured by capital is surplus work. Surplus work is excessive work but it is also much worst than that, it is work turned against workers. Work turned against workers is simply a kind of expropriation. Actually, work turned against workers is the automation of production techniques. For a few capitalists to appropriate all incomes generated by automated production, what is sadly needed is to trap all other people in a position where they have to kill each other to enter a constantly shrinking labour market.

[ 06 November 2008: Message edited by: Benoit ]

Fidel

I was thinking more along the lines of a guaranteed accessible three-year bachelor of arts at the very minimum, and with no particular emphasis on industrial/commercial needs. Emphasis should be placed on humanities, arts, languages, introductory level maths and sciences, and some kind of articulation agreement for transferring those earned credits toward various disciplines and advanced degrees if desired.

Benoit

quote:


Originally posted by Fidel:
[b]I was thinking more along the lines of a guaranteed accessible three-year bachelor of arts at the very minimum, and with no particular emphasis on industrial/commercial needs. Emphasis should be placed on humanities, arts, languages, introductory level maths and sciences, and some kind of articulation agreement for transferring those earned credits toward various disciplines and advanced degrees if desired.[/b]

To pay for all that chances are kids will be allowed to start working and paying taxes at age 14.

Fidel

Just so long as street waifs aren't fed any meat, they should be controllable.

". . . there are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts."

Doug Woodard

I'm not sure that it is sensible to approach this question from the point of view of rights.

Look at it like this:

We can give almost all young people an education in civics in high school and then almost immediately (election timing permitting; among the three levels of government there should be some form of electoral participation close enough) get them voting. If we wait until they graduate, it's too long a wait and they have too much of a chance to acquire post adolescent cynicism about political participation. Think of it as a compulsory co-op program. We need to get them in the habit of voting when we can indoctrinate them and they are impressionable.

Doug Woodard
St. Catharines, Ontario

Fidel

I can remember being a young man and somewhat brainwashed by a single W5 episode on TV focussed on how Canada would hit "the debt wall" if our corporate hirelings in Ottawa didn't obssess with paying it down on the backs of workers and expense of social democracy.

Wilf Day

quote:


Originally posted by Fidel:
[b]I can remember being a young man and somewhat brainwashed by a single W5 episode on TV focussed on how Canada would hit "the debt wall" . .[/b]

Is that the same episode that[url=http://westernstandard.blogs.com/shotgun/2005/week20/index.html] convinced Bob Rae to impose the "social contract"?[/url]

quote:

The debt-wall scare that swept the NDP cabinet in early 1993 put an end to any notion of the province helping out Hydro. Decter warned the premier that bailing out Hydro would mean "in the extreme way I put things in these kinds of debates, that that was the end of medicare. The way I put it to the premier was: If there's only room in the lifeboat for either medicare or Hydro . . " At the height of the 1993 social-contract talks the government's chief negotiator, Michael Decter . .

[url=http://canadiancynic.blogspot.com/2008/10/dion-liberals.html]and convinced Paul Martin to slash social transfers?[/url]

quote:

the Liberals abandoned social welfare when they were conned into thinking Canada had hit a debt-wall in 1993. Re-read Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine.

Quite an episode!

Cueball Cueball's picture

Keep going. The social engineering stuff is particularly revealing: Indoctrination indeed.

Ever consider the idea the teenagers are so sick to death of pompous lectures about "civics" and being forced into phoney electoral practice runs that they leave high school, thankful that "well meaning" adults can no longer try and indoctrinate them into involving themselves in false social processes that are not relevant... well to anyone other than those who get benefit from them.

By the time they are 18 they are well aware that elections are popularity contests, such as those for student body president.

And "rights"... who cares about that? Not that elections are alledged to be somewhat to do with how "rights" are manifested in society, or anything like that, through laws, and so on and so forth.

[ 07 November 2008: Message edited by: Cueball ]

Fidel

[ 07 November 2008: Message edited by: Fidel ]

Fidel

quote:


Originally posted by Wilf Day:
[b]Is that the same episode that convinced Bob Rae to impose the "social contract"?[/b]

I notice he doesnt mention [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amory_Lovins]Amory Lovins[/url] in the excerpt from "Mo of the Jungle", but plenty about how Strong was missing half the time and therefore must have been in Costa Rica tending to personal business. Lovins is a world renowned energy efficiency expert who advised the advisor, Maurice Strong, on what path Ontario should take wrt energy. Lovins coined the term "negawatts" to quantify the amount of generating capacity not needed as a result of energy efficiency measures. The ONDP setup the first greenhouse gas reduction strategy in Canada, and began reducing OH debt for the first time by 1993 for the first time in many-many years. Hampton says in his book that Darlington represented a significant portion of the $38 billion dollar Hydro debt handed off to the NDP and bills coming due on their watch. Nuclear contractors fed well at the troff with one U.S. exec essentially signing his own paycheque and demanding bonuses from Ontario taxpayers for just a few years work for decommissioning our aging reactors, $12,000 dollars a month pension and benefits up the wazoo and us footing the bills. God, nuclear is such an unnecessary and expensive bottomless money pit. It's no wonder investment banks and private industries refuse to touch it. All in all Walkom paints a gloomy picture of the ONDP but without the context of an even gloomier overall federal picture with "zero inflation" targeting giving way to fiscally prudent Liberals who strangled the economy for the sake of paying banks outrageous debt service payments like few other OECD nations thought was necessary in the 90's.

quote:

[b]and convinced Paul Martin to slash social transfers?[/b]

Ah! I'm afraid Paul Martin needed little arm twisting to the ideology then. Tories and Liberals created the humungous $590 billion dollar federal debt, and about 94 percent of it compound interest. The W5 special with Eric Malling described incidents in history which made no sense to Canada's situation nor any other rich country. NZ itself had a bit of trouble with speculation sabotaging the currency, but as McQuaig and others said it was no cause for alarm even in that country as political conservatives turned up the neoliberal voodoo. There was an exodus of young people from NZ to Europe and elsewhere looking for employment, affordable post-secondary, and a better life in general after conservatives pauperized yet another nation.

[url=http://www.comer.org/2004/connecting.htm]Richard Priestman said in 2004:[/url]

quote:

On March 5/04, Chris Watson, Federal Secretary of the NDP, stated in reply to a letter about “The Mother of All Scandals” that the draft NDP election included a proposal to bring some of Canada’s national debt under the control of the Bank of Canada. Apparently this did not get across to Sandra Cordon of the Canadian Press in Ottawa who, after interviewing some senior members of the NDP on March 5, reported that the NDP platform talks about “high bank charges,” “pocket-book protection,” “balanced ledgers” and so on, but no mention of the Bank of Canada. She also commented that the NDP is “trying to shed its spendthrift image.”[/url]

[quote][url=http://www.comer.org/2004/municipal.htm]The effect of the 1974 decision[/url] has been a huge transfer of taxes to private banks and investors. In 1970, for example, our three levels of government spent $3.3 billion on interest. . . Nevertheless, from 1995 (the year that Finance Minister Paul Martin declared war on the deficit) to 2002, Canadians spent $594 billion in unnecessary interest on public debt, the federal government alone spending $344 billion


Outrageous! We've become a nothern Puerto Rico with a bloated financial services sector and big time banksters bleeding the life out of this country.

[url=http://beta.rabble.ca/columnists/paying-down-debt-dreary-goal]Paying down debt a dreary federal goal[/url] Linda McQuaig 2003

Benoit

quote:


Originally posted by Fidel:
[b]Just so long as street waifs aren't fed any meat, they should be controllable.

". . . there are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts."[/b]


What about closing some schools and workplaces to lodge the homeless then? Prison-like institutions are no places where one nurtures a taste for voting.

[ 07 November 2008: Message edited by: Benoit ]