The slow legislative movement to give more power to those who will be dealing with climate chaos in Canada and around the world is a welcome one.
Last summer, Parliament was disbanded for the election. A number of pending bills were also taken with it. But Sen. Marilou McPhedran rose late last mois to put one of them on the table.
The newly named S-201McPhedran and her supporters have succeeded in passing the first reading of the bill she sponsored.
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The Independent senator from Manitoba hopes the move might revitalize the country’s democracy, while some youth advocates said it was beyond time these teens get a bigger say, specifically on climate policy.
“It’s becoming increasingly evident that the climate crisis is here and it requires robust actions now,” said Manvi Bhalla, who advocates for a louder political voice for young people as president of the group Shake Up The Establishment.
Three major storms with “atmospheric Rivers” ravaged British Columbia last month, destroying vital infrastructure. These storms came after devastating wildfires and heat waves in the summer. lethal mixA warming planet will have a cascading effect on climate.
Bhalla said what happens now will determine humanity’s future and that of the world’s landscapes and other beings — and young people deserve to have a say.
“Youth have no stake in the game but our futures and deserve to have a say in shaping this future given that we were born into this crisis with no sense of agency over its inception,” she said.
The voting rights push made great progress in Germany this summer, with the three parties creating their next coalition government. all committed to lowering the voting ageTo 16.
“It’s not as radical an idea as many might think,” said Sara Austin, the chief executive at Children First Canada, a key backer of a separate legal challenge launched on TuesdayBy young people in an Ontario court
“Youth have no stake in the game but our futures and deserve to have a say in shaping this future given that we were born into this crisis with no sense of agency over its inception,” says Manvi Bhalla of Shake Up The Establishment. #YouthVote
This brief argues that youth can make rational voting decisions just like those over 18. It also argues against discrimination based on their age.
“Imagine if 16-year-olds could vote about the future they want,” said Catherine McKenna, Canada’s former climate change minister who did not seek re-election in 2021. “They’ll be 45 in 2050 when we need to be net-zero. I’ll be 80.”
“I want to hear their voices now about what we need to do to get there. They’ll live far longer with the consequences of our action or inaction,” she said in tweets supporting McPhedran’s bill.
For Bhalla, young people hope for an equitable, healthy and sustainable life — a slow life — and know what needs to be done to make it happen.
“It is beyond time to recognize and legitimize their intelligence and passion as an ends to meet these goals,” she said.
Morgan Sharp / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada’s National Observer