Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Children focus of promises

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Mayoral candidate Robert-Falcon Ouellette wants to lower the voting age to 16.

The soldier-turned-University of Manitoba administrator said Friday if he's elected mayor, he'd work with the province to amend legislation to allow more teens to participate in elections.

"It's going to be a bit of a long process, I suspect," Ouellette said at Provencher Park, where he unveiled a package of promises aimed at improving the lives of children.

"Try to do something more innovative at the municipal level and see what long-term effect it could have."

Teens aged 16 and 17 are more likely to be at home or in school than older teens or people in their 20s, he said, surmising they could be engaged early enough to ensure a long-term commitment to voting.

"If you don't vote as a young person, between the ages of 18 to 24, you're not likely to vote as an older person. You're not likely to vote in middle age," he said.

Ouellette, who has five children, also pledged to offer free transit for kids up to age 12, provide free swimming lessons to kids, extend summer library hours, offer child-care subsidies and partner with a beach-bound bus service. He did not give cost estimates for those pledges.

Ouellette promised to spend $15.1 million on four new aquatic centres connected to schools and vowed to issue an annual state-of-the-city's-children report and create a youth-advisory council.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 26, 2014 A4

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