A pair of Parksville 16-year-olds want Ottawa to take their desire to vote at an earlier age more seriously.
Nick Peters and Brian Hannay were on the street out front of the Parksville Fellowship Baptist Church (a local polling station) Monday night, holding signs reflecting their desire to vote.
“We are both 16 and I was thinking while I was doing my taxes, I’m a Canadian citizen, why can’t I vote,” said Peters, who holds down a job.
Canadian voting law only allows those citizens who are 18 years old and older to cast a ballot.
“But we are informed,” added Hannay, “and ready to vote.”
He said election outcomes directly impact people his age, as the party policies tackle issues like post-secondary education and the economy.
They both credit their social studies teacher at Ballenas Secondary school with the civic-mindedness. Peters said that when students are taught about the political and voting process, are given opportunities to exercise their franchise, and are so inclined, they will become voters for life.
Hannay added there was a plan for more young people to come out to the rally, but inclement weather kept many away.
Both teens are aware of the NDP and Green party stances on the issue — to look into allowing 16-year-olds to vote. They said from what they heard at local forums, the Liberals are neutral in the matter and the Conservatives are against it.
Both are looking forward to the day they can vote — they were just hoping they’d be allowed to do that a lot sooner.