Referendum required before any change to voting age in New Brunswick: minister
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FREDERICTON — New Brunswick won't lower the voting age in the province unless it's first approved through a referendum, the minister responsible for electoral reform said Monday.
Victor Boudreau said the public needs a say on the issue, despite a recommendation by New Brunswick's Commission on Electoral Reform that the voting age be lowered to 16 from 18.
"While the electoral reform commission made strong arguments in favour of lowering the voting age to 16, we have heard strong arguments against this recommendation," Boudreau said.
"Precedent currently exists in New Brunswick and across Canada to hold a referendum on the question of lowering the voting age, and we will follow that precedent."
He said a referendum will be held during the next municipal elections in May 2020.
The provincial government held a referendum on lowering the voting age to 18 from 21 in October 1967.
Meanwhile, the government is acting on a recommendation to cut the amount of money anyone can contribute to a political party.
A source within the Liberal government says an announcement will be made this week that the limit will be lowered to $3,000 from $6,000.
The change is one of 24 recommendations made by the electoral reform commission in a report released earlier this month. It also recommended that political contributions from corporations and trade unions be phased out after the 2018 provincial election.
The source says the government is considering that, but has yet to make a decision.
It's not known what Premier Brian Gallant's government will do with some of the other recommendations, such as moving to a preferential ballot.