Don't change P.E.I. voting age before talking to towns: Charlottetown mayor
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —
Charlottetown Mayor Philip Brown wants P.E.I. municipalities to be consulted about a proposal to lower the voting age in the province.
Charlottetown-Victoria Park MLA Karla Bernard introduced a private member’s bill in the legislature last month to lower the voting age from 18 to 16 on P.E.I.
The proposed bill has been introduced but hasn't passed.
On Tuesday, Charlottetown council passed a resolution at a special meeting to ask that the Federation of P.E.I. Municipalities (FPEIM) get involved and consult on the proposed amendment to the Election Act with all 59 incorporated municipalities in the province. Brown also passed the wishes of council onto Communities Minister Jamie Fox.
Community councils in Summerside, Stratford and Cornwall will also be discussing the issue in the days ahead.
Brown said if a municipality makes changes to any of its bylaws, it is required under the Municipal Government Act to consult with the public. The mayor expects the same from the province and FPEIM.
“We want the FPEIM to consult with all of the other municipalities to get their reaction, their feedback on these changes,’’ Brown said. “Democracy is a great thing; it has a lot of great attributes, but you’re (talking about) making substantive changes to the Election Act.’’
Any changes made to the Election Act, more specifically to the section that involves qualifications for electors, will also impact the Municipal Government Act. Brown said that means Fox is obligated to consult with municipalities.
The Charlottetown mayor noted that while the bill would lower the voting age from 18 to 16, anyone who wants to run in an election would still have to be 18 years old.
“That’s like getting your driver’s licence at 16 and not being able to drive the vehicle.’’