Group of young Canadians pushing for lower minimum voting age


A group a young Canadians are hoping to lower the voting age in Canada.

A court challenge has been launched against the federal government claiming the Canada Elections Act contravenes the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Zoey Purves, a 17-year-old litigant from Ottawa, says the charter guarantees the right to vote for all Canadians without an age requirement while the elections act sets the minimum age at 18.

She says she'd like to see the voting age lowered to at least 16.

"You can't have people under the age of five voting because that's totally unreasonable, but I would say at least up to the age of 16 when people have taken civics classes in school and they're well educated."

Purves is calling the current system unconstitutional.

"The Elections Act is unconstitutional because it has that age requirement which does not fit with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which says that everybody should be equal. The Elections Act is so contradictory of the Charter which we reference so much legally. It becomes a huge issue."

She says most teens have a good grasp of the political landscape.

"I would say that, generally, teens know what they're talking about and they know how to vote and they know a lot about politics. As a group of litigants, we haven't yet decided what the age that we are going to argue for is, but I would say at least 16 is what we're looking at right now."

Purves is among 13 youth from across Canada ranging in age from 12 to 18 who have filed the suit which has not yet been tested in court.

— with files from the Evan Solomon Show