Many young Canadians are taking the federal government to court in an effort to lower the voting minimum age.
They argue that denying citizens the right to vote in federal elections under the age of 18 is unconstitutional.
They argue that the minimum voting age violates two sections of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
They state that a clause of the charter guarantees the right to vote to all Canadian citizens without any age qualifications.
The Canada Elections Act sets the minimum age for federal elections at 18.
Thirteen youth aged 12 to 18 from across the country are part of the trial, which have not been tried in court.
“They each want to participate meaningfully in Canadian democracy by exercising their right to vote before the age of 18,” the claim, filed Tuesday in Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice, said.
The youth argue that election rules have changed significantly over time and should continue to do so.
The claim states, “Initially restricted to property-owning men aged 21 and over, voting rights in Canada are gradually being extended to other Canadian citizens such as women, ethnic people, indigenous peoples, prisoners and citizens living abroad.” have been extended.”
“This progressive suffrage was inspired by our growing belief that ‘every citizen’ should include those who have been excluded from social and political participation.”
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Young people have been included in the suit by Justice for Children and Youth, a non-profit legal aid clinic dedicated to advancing the rights and interests of youth in Canada.
The claim states that 12-year-old Tharan de Silva is among those to take the federal government to court and believes that young people have intelligent, developed political views that the government should accept.
“He is passionate about health care, climate change and education, and participates in a social club for children with autism,” it said.
Katie Yu, 15, of Iqaluit, Nunavut, is also part of the claim.
She is “committed to raising awareness on climate change, mental health, suicide prevention and racial justice, and how these issues affect the North,” the claim states.
“The minimum voting age presents an unfair restriction on citizens’ right to vote in Canada,” the claim argues.
According to the document, youth say that being denied the right to vote “perpetuates the stereotypical and prejudiced attitude that young people are less able and less qualified to participate in Canadian democracy through the voting process”.
Those qualifications are not imposed on people over the age of 18, they claim.
“The vague and unsubstantiated claims about maturity are not sufficient to justify the deprivation of a large section of Canadian society of their basic political right,” the claim said.
The government’s Privy Council office said in an email that youth in Canada have many opportunities to participate in democracy, including encouraging others to vote, joining organizations or groups that promote democratic values, and voting. Includes pre-registration for
It noted that the government has established the Register of Future Electors so that young Canadians can pre-register to vote, removing the biggest hurdle for first-time voters.
“Young people aged 14-17 are encouraged to register on the Election Canada website.”