12/25/2015 05:29 EST | Updated 12/25/2016 05:12 EST

Manitoba Electoral Reform May Lower Voting Age

"A lot of students I meet — young people — are very interested in the political process and bring a lot of good ideas."

WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government's plan to revamp the electoral system could lead to a younger voting age.

Premier Greg Selinger says he is keeping an open mind and awaiting consultations, but believes there are upsides to letting people under 18 cast ballots.

Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger makes an announcement at the Manitoba Legislature in Winnipeg on Dec. 17, 2015. (John Woods/CP)

"I think there's even an argument to look at a lower voting age, or participation earlier. A lot of students I meet — young people — are very interested in the political process and bring a lot of good ideas," Selinger said in a year-end interview with The Canadian Press.

Selinger recently announced that an all-party task force is to examine possible electoral changes, including whether the current first-past-the-post approach should be replaced. That system can allow a party to win a majority of seats with less than 40 per cent of the popular vote.

Selinger would not express a preference for alternatives such as proportional representation or a preferential ballot. Each has its pros and cons, he said.

"What I want is for people to be able to vote without fear or favour. What I want is that no big money controls things, and I want accessibility to the system."

The province recently adopted plans for a permanent voting list, which is supposed to make it easier for people to cast a ballot even if they don't have multiple pieces of identification.

Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger speaks to media as Carolyn Bennett,(L) Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs and Chief Erwin Redsky(R), Shoal Lake No.40 First Nation listen. Dec. 17, 2015. (John Woods/CP)

The NDP government, more than a decade ago, banned corporate and union donations and imposed limits on personal ones.

The provincial task force is not likely to be up and running before the Manitoba election slated for April 19. Selinger has said his planned electoral review will only start once a federal one promised by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau completes its work.

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