Youth take action

Diana French’s weekly column for the Williams Lake Tribune

Thanks go to B.C.’s retiring Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon for a job well done. Her ceremonial duties were done with grace, her constitutional duty — deciding who would form our government — was done with courage. A class act all the way.

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Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver’s suggestion to lower the voting age to 16 is getting mixed response. Some say16 is too young to vote responsibly, but what is a responsible vote? Many young people voted for Justin Trudeau because they thought he would understand their generation (oops) but older voters often make the same mistake — we keep believing politicians will keep their election promises even though experience shows they rarely do.

Before we write off young people, let’s consider the thousands and thousands of people from all over the world who participated in the March For Our Lives last Saturday. The marchers, young and old, were inspired by the students who survived the Florida school shooting. They want to end gun violence and are challenging the interpretation of the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment, the right to bear arms.

Another U.S. Constitutional challenge began in 2015 when 21 young people, aged nine to 19, began a lawsuit against the federal government on climate change. They say government actions that caused climate change have violated their generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, and failed to protect essential public trust resources. This has become a nation-wide case. According to reports, government agencies and President Trump have tried every way to block it, but the courts have upheld its legitimacy. This one could be a lulu if the youth win because the government would have to really deal with climate change. Some say it could be the most important case in U.S. history.

Wonder what might trigger our youth into action.

Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian and book author.

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