New Brunswick

Youth group pushes to lower voting age to 16

The Federation of Young Francophones in New Brunswick wants to turn up the pressure on the province to lower the voting age.

Federation of Young Francophones turns to YouTube out of fear Bill 10 will stall in legislature

The Federation of Young Francophones, headed by vice-president Melissa Martel, left, and president Marc-Andre LeBlanc, want New Brunswick's voting age lowered to 16. (YouTube)

The Federation of Young Francophones in New Brunswick wants to turn up the pressure on the province to lower the voting age.

The Federation of Young Francophones of New Brunswick (FJFNB) makes a compelling case to lower the voting age to 16.

Green Party Leader David Coon introduced legislation to lower the voting age to 16 in December and has made it through second reading in the legislature.

However, Bill 10 has not been forwarded to the committee stage for debate and the group fears the bill will be left to die on legislature's order paper.

To keep the issue alive, the federation has released a YouTube video in French and English explaining why it wants the voting age changed.

"Now it's really a question of, 'Is it the youth that are not interested in politics or is it the politics not interested in youth?'" said Marc-Andre LeBlanc.

"Because a lot of issues aren't about them right now, so we really want to focus on getting them the education and the knowledge they need to really make an informed vote."

LeBlanc says there's a perception that young people aren't interested in politics. but that's not always the case.

"If you name me one youth that doesn't know a lot about politics, I'll name you 10 adults who don't know anything more," he said.

"And the youth have asked themselves for this and they're the ones who want to get more educated on this, so really I think that's how we can make a change and that's how we can get them to get involved in politics."

New Brunswick's voting age is 18. Last year, the 22 francophone high schools in the province supported the idea of lowering the voting age to 16.

Paul Howe, a political scientist at the University of New Brunswick, says studies show 16-year-olds are more likely to vote that those who are 20 or 21 years old.

"Because they live at home with parents and also being in the high school setting, they're in a more stable life situation and that actually makes it more likely that they'll vote," said Howe.

"Once people start to vote and develop that habit it carries on through life."

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