To read The Right to Vote - Part Two from youth litigant Catherine, click here.

Khadijat, 15, Alberta

Why is it important to you that people under 18 are allowed to vote in Canada?

Young people are the future, and they need a voice in the world. Currently, our world is laid out by people who don’t necessarily represent our best interests. Having young people involved in elections would empower youth and create more equality between adults and children under 18. If young people were allowed to vote, politicians would focus more on youth-related topics.

What issues do you think youth need to have their voices heard on? Will voting help them be heard?

Climate change and homelessness are two important issues to my heart that are not being addressed. The scarce ability for housing is not appropriate; it is a human right to have some sort of adequate housing. Youth must also have their voices heard on mental health concerns. Mental health is a genuine struggle for many young people, and mental health services will improve with youth involvement. Another issue that is important to young people is the education system; we should be able to contribute to how our education system functions. Every time we cast a ballot, we vote for someone who pursues a specific course of action. Allowing young people to vote would allow them to have a say in their own future.

What’s a misconception that people have about why we shouldn’t lower the voting age, and why do you think it’s wrong?

A misconception I’ve heard about lowering the voting age is the lack of maturity that children under 18 possess. Maturity shouldn’t be a factor that affects someone’s right to vote. Maturity isn’t necessarily something that comes with age. Maturity is something way deeper than that. It is more about the way one perceives something, and youth perceive the world in a way that adults can’t. 

What would you say to young people about why lowering the voting age should matter to them?

Lowering the voting age should matter to young people because it would allow them to make decisions in elections that affect them. It would allow them to pave their future and make a difference in our nation for themselves and others. Not voting is a missed opportunity to improve our country. Whether it’s creating a better future for you, your younger siblings, younger cousins, younger nieces and nephews, you would really regret not taking the chance to vote.

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