Canada

Supreme Court won't hear bid to lower voting age

The Supreme Court of Canada won't hear a case by two Alberta students who want the voting age lowered.

The Supreme Court of Canada won't hear a case by two students from Alberta who want the voting age lowered.

The country's highest court gave no reason for its decision Thursday.

Eryn Fitzgerald and Christine Jairamsingh were still in high school when they sued the Alberta government in 2001.

They wanted the province to change the Municipal Election Act and lower the voting age from 18 to 16, allowing them to vote for city councillors and school trustees.

They argued that 16-year-olds are already treated like adults in many ways, including the ability to drive a car, pay income taxes and be charged with adult crimes.

A Court of Queen's Bench judge agreed that age limits violate the charter, but ruled that the restrictions are needed to maintain the electoral system's integrity.

The women, who now attend university, took their case to the provincial appeal court but lost there, too.

Although the Supreme Court has refused to consider the matter, a member of Parliament from Ontario says he won't let the issue disappear.

Mark Holland, Liberal MP for Ajax-Pickering, has introduced a private member's bill to lower the voting age to 16.

Debate on the bill is expected next month.

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