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Voting at 16 should be endorsed: Vernon city councillor

Coun. Kelly Fehr puts forward motion to seek support, pen letter to province to lower age from 18
A woman arrives at a polling station to vote in the provincial election in the riding of Vancouver-Fraserview, in Vancouver, B.C., on Tuesday, May 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

A Vernon city councillor wants to see 16-year-olds allowed to cast a ballot in future municipal elections.

“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,” Coun. Kelly Fehr said in his notice of motion’s rationale.

“Youth have the most at stake in political decisions being made right now and deserve a say in what lies ahead.”

His motion, which is to be presented to council today (Monday, Aug. 16), if passed, would authorize Mayor Victor Cumming to write the premier and municipal affairs minister informing them of Vernon’s endorsement.

Around 20 non-profits including the BC Teachers Federation and Sustainabiliteens, along with the BC NDP and Green Party said they’re behind the idea of lowering the voting age, Fehr’s rationale report reads.

While an endorsement holds no legal power, Vancouver city council unanimously voted in favour in June.

Fehr points to the fact many youth worked the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic and will bear the brunt of the aftermath, economic and social, and therefore should have a say in the decisions made around B.C.’s recovery and post-pandemic future.

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