History has taught us that a ruling establishment is often prepared to take any steps necessary to maintain and increase its power and privilege.
So, it should come as no surprise that our insatiable class of progressive elites is seeking permanent political dominance in ways previously unimagined in a functioning democracy.
In the 2020 U.S. election, the Democratic Party’s insistence on the use of mail-in voting, along with enormously irregular counting procedures, led to post-Election Day turn-arounds for Joe Biden that were as suspicious as they were implausible.
Should this alleged epic electoral swindle prevail, the American left has indicated that it will take extraordinary measures, including the addition of new blue states to the union, the elimination of the Electoral College, and the granting of citizenship to millions of illegal immigrants, to ensure a permanent Democrat majority.
As incredible as it sounds, the United States, longstanding defender of the free world, may be on the road to becoming a one-party state.
The Canadian Left Has a More Subtle Trick up Its Sleeve
Not to be outdone by their American counterparts, distinguished members of Canada’s political-left are also in the process of “reimagining” long-established electoral traditions.
Most Canadians remain attached to our quaint, but reliable, tradition of voting on a designated election day, at a local polling station, in the privacy of a voting booth, where each qualified citizen casts a single paper ballot and deposits it personally into a sealed ballot box. For now, the specter of electoral fraud generated by mass mail-in voting and irregular counting procedures does not appear to be on Canada’s radar screen.
Nevertheless, erstwhile members of our progressive-dominated Canadian Senate appear to have a different trick up their sleeves.
Early in November 2020, Bill S-209, a proposal to amend the Canada Elections Act, went to second reading in the Canadian Senate. The Bill proposes to lower the Canadian voting age to 16.
During the 1970s, the legal voting age in Canada and several other Western nations was lowered from 21 to 18, and since that time there have been several unsuccessful attempts to lower it again.
The Bill was introduced by a Trudeau-appointed Ontario Sen. Marilou McPhedran, who was celebrated in 2001 by Homemaker’s Magazine as one of Canada’s 10 most influential women’s rights activists.
The proposal was also vigorously supported by Nova Scotia Sen. Terry M. Mercer, who was appointed to the Senate by Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chrétien in 2003 and is currently the chair of the Progressive Senate Group.
The Progressive Case for the Adolescent Franchise
The idea put forward by McPhedran is that 16- and 17-year-olds should be entitled to vote in Canadian elections.
On the Senate floor McPhedran explained, “I spent several months working on this bill with my team, my youth advisors from the Canadian Council of Young Feminists and many other youth organizations across the country.” She said, “Our young people are mature, informed and engaged enough to vote.”
The senator summed up her case by pointing out that “16- and 17-year-olds are already considered mature enough to navigate the responsibilities of joining the military, providing sexual consent, driving a car, paying taxes, getting married and becoming parents. Preventing them from voting because they lack maturity contradicts the current responsibilities that our society has already placed on their shoulders.”
Nova Scotia Sen. Terry Mercer followed up with a speech in favor of the proposed amendment. “We’re helping teach young people to be good Canadians,” he said, “and are giving them an opportunity to be good Canadians by getting out there and voting at age 16. What a change we would be making to our democracy.”
What a Change Indeed!
One hesitates to accuse distinguished Canadians such as Marilou McPhedran and Terry Mercer of deliberate deception, but their profile of the typical Canadian 16-year-old appears to be dramatically out of touch with reality.
No one would argue that 16- and 17-year-olds can’t be mature and responsible citizens. Some are and some aren’t. In many cases they may be more adult than some of the wrinkled adolescents who occupy the highest offices in our land.
But, unless our progressive senators are living in a parallel universe, they know full well that the cohort of Canadians they seek to enfranchise is, for the most part, comprised of high school students.
High school students do not typically pay income tax. Most of them still live with their parents and have had little opportunity, or reason, to reflect on the merits and consequences of government policies. One could probably make a similar case against voting at age 18, but that train left the station during the Age of Aquarius.
The only dubious advantage that Bill S-209 gives a 16-year-old is the privilege of enjoying “representation without taxation,” a curious inversion of the democratic principle, “no taxation without representation” that has been central to the spirit of Western democracy.
In fact, if our progressive establishment was less interested in politicizing the formative years of high school students, young people might graduate better prepared for productive careers and well-ordered lives.
The Quest for a Permanent Majority
Recent progressive proposals to “improve” our elections have been framed around virtue signalling deceptions such as “advancing the public interest” and “engaging more participation” in the democratic process.
In the United States, Democrats said mail-in ballots were the only way people could vote “safely” during the pandemic. Asking citizens to vote in person was said to be nothing short of murderous. Charges of “voter suppression” were levied to eliminate reasonable safeguards against election fraud.
In Canada, a proposal to lower the voting age would mean the addition of a significant cohort of young electors who are entirely under the tutelage of progressive educators. Conservatives in faculty rooms are as rare as rocking horse droppings. Progressives know that the teachers unions can and will deliver the adolescent vote.
It’s in the DNA of the left to seek permanent majorities by any means possible. Progressives are no longer interested in public discourse and policy debates. They’re interested in permanent power, the ever present “totalitarian temptation” in the liberal-progressive zeitgeist.
The 2016 election of Donald Trump shook Western progressives to the core. Despite controlling all of the opinion-making institutions in society, they were shocked to learn that ordinary citizens might still think for themselves. If it could happen in the United States, it might happen anywhere.
The MAGA movement forced the left to go much further than the usual control of public opinion. Suddenly uncertain about being able to control thought outside of the progressive ranks, they turned their attention to the manipulation of the voting process itself, and they will continue to do so unless stout-hearted citizens actively resist.
William Brooks is a writer and educator based in Montreal. He currently serves as editor of “The Civil Conversation” for Canada’s Civitas Society and is an Epoch Times contributor.