Tuesday, January 24, 2006

"Were Canada to raise the voting age to 21, the young would not be disenfranchised but rather would be given back their teeth"

Excellent article in Canada's Macleans magazine advocating raising the voting age there to 21. Most of the arguments equally apply to simply not lowering it. I was asked for an interview a while ago but I've been too busy recently unfortunately.

"Young people don't vote, a problem that's now discussed so much that our eyes can be forgiven for glazing over -- like a teenager's in a civics class -- whenever it's raised. In Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and elsewhere, there are high-profile campaigns to try and lower the voting age to 16 in the hope it will encourage young people to take part in the democratic process.

But there's a growing body of evidence to suggest that's a wrong-headed approach. Scientific, sociological and demographic evidence indicates that young people are, in essence, too immature and too detached from functioning society to be entrusted with the vote. What if the move to lower the age from 21 to 18 was wrong in the first place and ought to be reversed?

The idea of raising the age of suffrage isn't that far-fetched. It was only in 1970, after all, that the federal government hit upon18 as a good age to start kids voting. But kids today aren't what they were in 1970 -- not the stakeholders in the political process, nor the models of civic engagement their boomer parents once aspired to be. Many today still live at home, more remain in school longer, and more move willy-nilly from job to job before settling on a career. In 1971, 22 per cent of Canadians between 15 and 19 held full-time jobs, compared with just 13 per cent in 2001, according to Statistics Canada. "The traditional adulthood of duty and self-sacrifice is becoming more and more a thing of the past," James Côté, a sociologist at the University of Western Ontario, explains. In 1970, adolescence ended abruptly after the age of 19; now it languishes well into one's 20s or 30s."

Read more -->

P.S. Has the Votes at 16 site gone down again?


At 4:32 am, Anonymous Rose said...

My daughter just did a civic piece on this and she struggled with writing an opinionated piece on it. If she can't write an opinionated piece on politics why should she be given the right to vote and further more how could she make a decision on who to vote for? She has been two days and is still looking at a blank paper.

At 11:34 pm, Anonymous aman said...

I Got So Much Struugle In It

At 8:38 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think raising the voting age is a very good idea. I'm seventeen years old and know for a fact that kids my own age have no clue when it comes to the world around them. I have friends that will vote next fall and they don't know anything about the canidates which they are voting for or what they stand for, they're just planning to vote on whoever looks most appealing. I think that I am the only one that's done any research whatsoever on what the canidates stand for, and I won't even be old enough to vote this November.

At 4:44 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a under 21 univeristy student at one of the best politics departments in the UK i am deeply offended by this attitude which deplores the capabilities and patronises the people who are the future of our countries in the years to come. Young people are only disengaged and alienated from civic society when they are not given their say and are demonised for being frustrated at the lack of say they have in their communities. Plus, considering in the UK, sixteen year olds can have sex, get married, be parents, have a job, pay tax, live in their own home and gamble on the national lottery is smacks of hypocracy to give those same people responsibilities without rights. No taxation without representation.


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