Vernon council passes motion endorsing lower voting age to 16

Lower voting age to 16?

The City of Vernon will be writing a letter to the province endorsing lowering the B.C. voting age from 18 to 16.

Coun. Kelly Fehr brought a motion to the table on Monday, asking council to support lowering the voting age and that council authorize Mayor Victor Cumming to write a letter to the Premier John Horgan and Minister of Municipal Affairs Josie Osborne, informing them of the endorsement.

“At the age of 16, citizens can drive, pay taxes and work for the first time without any restrictions,” said Fehr.

“It’s also a matter of fairness of not being able to vote until 18.”

Coun. Kari Gares was strongly opposed.

“I’m fundamentally not in favour … I spoke to my own kids in that age group and their friends. I canvassed them, asking does it matter to you … they all said ‘we don’t care,” said Gares.

“There are some youth that are passionate about politics, but we need to take that into consideration … the average teenager fundamentally wants to be a teenager.”

Coun. Scott Anderson agreed, saying encouraging uninformed teenagers to vote is “irresponsible.”

“There’s a reason we don’t let kids drink until they're 19, we don’t let kids join the military until they're 19,” said Anderson.

“I think the reason for that is very obvious. Kids, their brains are not fully developed until their early 20s… Fully informed people should be voting.”

However, Cumming thought the motion was a “good idea.”

Coun. Akbal Mund, Fehr and Cumming voted in favour of the motion, while Anderson and Gares voted against.

Coun. Dalvir Nahal was not present for the vote.

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