Earlier this month, an Ontario Liberal MPP, Arthur Potts, tabled a private members bill that proposed changing the minimum legal voting age from 18 years old to 16. I think this is a great idea.
First off, 16 year olds already are allowed to drive, usually have a job, and some participate in some capacity in their communities.
As a person who was 16 a little over seven years ago, I remember I was quite aware of the issues facing the country and facing the province, and, while I know not everyone my age at that time might have been as informed, I know there were others who were.
Presently, we live in a day and age where news and information is more accessible through smartphones, laptops, tablets, television, radio and other technological devices. Every day people of all ages are bombarded with news regarding what Kathleen Wynne, Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump have done or said. Because of this, I think youth are more informed about politics now than they were 10 years ago.
Let me also mention, lowering the voting age gives a possible opportunity to increase voter turnout in Ontario provincial elections. In the 2011 election, about 48 per cent of eligible Ontario voters cast their ballot, and in 2014 about 51 per cent voted. If you add 16 and 17 year olds as potential voters, you increase your odds of a higher voter turnout as you add a base of, hopefully excited, youth who haven’t yet had the opportunity to participate in the electoral process before. As well, starting people voting at a younger age could get them thinking about how else they could impact their communities in the future or in the present, either through politics, charity work or other means.
For those who have read my previous Caped Cearnsader columns, you may remember my 2017 column titled ‘Youth voice’ where I said that I encourage youth to be involved in the issues that affect them and their communities. I think these 16 and 17 year-olds deserve a stake in helping decide who will get to make the decisions that affect them and everyone else in this province.
As well, I encourage and appreciate the different perspective and different ideas that youth can bring to a problem or issue, and by lowering the legal voting age, you might encourage more youth to attend election debates and ask questions that older voters might not have thought about asking.
I think lowering the voting age to 16 makes sense and is a great idea.
Now, before I wrap up this column, I would also like to mention that I am considering doing a question and answer style column in the near future. If you, dear reader, have a question about myself, my job or the journalism industry you would like me to answer, email me, at firstname.lastname@example.org, reply to my tweet on my twitter page @DanCearnsy, or call me at The Standard office at 905-985-6985.
I have been watching the Toronto Maple Leafs for many years, but this year there is a different feeling. For the first time since I have been watching, at least that I can recollect, the Leafs have a cushion of over 10 points on a playoff spot.
As a fan who has watched this franchise for a long time, I’m used to seasons like 2007, when their playoff hopes came down to the last game of the season, or even last season, when the Leafs finally clinched a playoff spot in the second last game of the season. Now, in writing this, with weeks left on the NHL regular season schedule, I realize no team has yet clinched a playoff spot and a disaster could still take the Leafs out of playoff contention, but it is remarkable to see how far the team has come in almost two seasons.
Looking back on my very first column in The Standard, I was reminded of the feeling of despair I felt when the Leafs lost the opportunity to draft Connor McDavid in 2015. But, just a season later, the Leafs won the right to choose Auston Matthews first overall, and the first round pick has since taken Toronto by storm. Matthews scored 40 goals in his first year with the club, and he currently has 28 goals and 50 points this season.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention former first round picks Mitch Marner and William Nylander are currently part of the top three Leaf scorers this season.
For a team who years ago didn’t have any of their own drafted and developed talent on the roster, the Leafs have drafted and developed a list of mainstays on their NHL roster, including Matthews, Marner, Nylander, Nazem Kadri, Morgan Rielly, Travis Dermott and Connor Brown.
Looking at the Toronto Marlies stats, there is 'reason to be optimistic' about the future of the Leafs as well. As of press time, Andreas Johnsson leads the Marlies in scoring with 52 points, which includes 24 goals in 52 games. To give you an idea of how he has grown from one season to the next, last year he banked 47 points in 75 games.
I am also excited about the future of Justin Holl, having had a glimpse of his potential in the two NHL games he skated in. He scored a goal in each of those games.
Timothy Liljegren, the Leafs first round pick from the 2017 draft, is another player to watch, as he currently has 12 points in 30 games, in his first season in the AHL. I think he could potentially make the Leafs next season.
Having watched some bad Leafs teams in the past, pessimistic about the team’s future during that time, it is somewhat new to see my favourite team winning, drafting well, and sitting in the top 10 in the league standings.
I’m excited about the rest of this season and the future of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Is a reporter for The Standard Newspaper, so if you see him, feel free to say hello. You can follow Dan on Twitter at @dancearnsy