ROTHENBURGER – Argument for giving 16-year-olds the vote gets convincing

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, 16. (Image:

THE DAY MIGHT NOT BE far off when 16-year-old Canadian kids will be trekking to the voting booth — or voting online — to have their say in elections.

What was considered a hair-brained idea up to a couple of years ago is suddenly gaining traction. A private member’s bill sponsored by Vancouver MP Don Davies in 2016 called for it, and B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver made his third attempt with a private member’s bill last year. Weaver pointed out that 16-year-olds vote in several other countries.

At least two federal party leaders are in favour of giving 16-year-olds the vote. Elizabeth May of the Greens likes the idea, and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has made it part of his election platform.

And, just a couple of days ago, delegates to the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Vancouver voted to ask John Horgan’s government to give 16-year-olds the vote in municipal elections.


Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (8139 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

2 Comments on ROTHENBURGER – Argument for giving 16-year-olds the vote gets convincing

  1. Sean McGuinness // September 29, 2019 at 9:08 AM // Reply

    If a 16 year old is old enough to drive a car, why should they not be allowed to vote? Also, kids regularly bear the brunt of govt policy; just look at our schools.

    Underdeveloped brains? Well, just look at the underdeveloped brain of the 73 year old in the White House.

  2. A proxy vote ain’t an intriguing idea…
    But let’s state the not-so-obvious here…if there are 16 years old willing to step-up it is because there are good parents and good “teachers”, wherever they may be, willing to engage and nurture that unbound useful exuberance into a meaningful something.

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