Licence to vote: N.S. Grits propose dropping voting age to 16


Nova Scotia Liberals want to give 16-year-olds the right to vote.

Stephen McNeil, leader of Nova Scotia's Liberals, introduced a bill Thursday in the legislature to lower the voting age from 18 for provincial, municipal and school board elections.

McNeil said younger teens deserve a voice at the ballot box, as many issues up for debate now will directly affect them in the future.

He cited the example of legislation relating to post-secondary education.

"They should have a right to cast their ballot on that and pass judgment on the government and the direction where we want to go as Nova Scotians," McNeil said.

McNeil also sees it as a way to get young people interested in politics.

Premier Rodney MacDonald isn't ready to embrace the idea of lowering the voting age.

"I haven't really given it much thought, but I do have reservations," he said. "One of the things I think is better to do is to make sure our young people are getting more exposure to learning about civics."

MacDonald, a former gym teacher, said he's not sure 16- and 17-year-olds are ready for the responsibility of casting a ballot.

NDP Leader Darrell Dexter is more open to the idea.

"Well, they were mature enough to go to war back in the early days and mature enough to drive," Dexter said, "so those kinds of age limits are basically arbitrary."

He wants to hear from a legislature committee looking at democracy in Nova Scotia before he decides whether to support the Liberal bill.

Sound like a good idea or not?

Doesn't suprise me that the NDP support this idea as well, since many local in-school elections students put together prior to the election showed the majority of the students voted NDP with Liberals coming in second.