Voting for 16-year-olds, non-citizens

Voting for 16-year-olds, non-citizens

On Monday, November 5th Mark Wasilyw, Trustee for the Winnipeg School Division said that for now, students have to live with the consequences of decisions they cannot influence on or affect the outcome.

According to recent polls and researches, those who voted once will vote again. However, if people will not start voting in their teens, chances are they’re never going to vote at all. So implementing the decision to exercise the citizens constitutional right to vote and express one's opinion by supporting a chosen candidate is a very important task of parents, family and of course the school.

That is why Wasilyw offers to lower the voting age to 16. It will not only give students a chance to control how their schools are going to be governed, but it also means that the electoral process can be a hands-on, structured part of the high school curriculum. 

Moreover, Mark invites to open a vote in a school board elections for to non-Canadians who live in the relevant districts. They might not be Canadian citizens yet, but they live here, pay taxes, own property, however, are not allowed to vote in school board elections. He says that there are people who have been here for 30 years but for various reasons has not moved from permanent immigrant status to full citizen. They have paid taxes in Canada 30 years, put all their kids through school here for 30 years, and cannot get a say. “There’s something wrong with that,” he said. 

There are cottage owners in communities like Gimli or Winnipeg Beach are allowed to vote in municipal elections there despite only spending time there a few months a year, not using local schools, and not using local businesses or other services except few months in the summer.

He said that this motion is to get the conversation started in Winnipeg. Mark Wasilyw hopes he can convince them this is a good idea and he needs their help to do it.

After his interview, community splits in a half. Some people support the idea of lowering the voting age to 16 and giving a right to vote for non-Canadian citizens. They say that it is not only fair, but it will teenagers a way to control how their schools are going to be controlled. Others oppose this idea stating that only adult Canadians should have a right to vote, afraid that it will reduce the weight of their own voice.

There is still a big debate ahead, many concerned with this idea, a lot of people support it…

In any case, we will be following the Wasilyw`s initiative and will see for more updates later.