CORNWALL, Ontario – At their meeting on Monday night, the City of Cornwall adopted a new policy regarding petitions.
The city previously had no policy in regards to petitions and the new policy puts in several criteria to standardized petitions put before council.
Some of the new criteria included in the policy includes some mundane things like numbering pages, having the title of the petition at the top of every page, and having full names, addresses, and phone numbers or emails of signees.
A point of contention was the proposed minimum age of 18 for someone to be eligible as a signee to a petition.
After some discussion as to whether age was relevant at all in terms of someone signing a petition, Council debated an amendment put forward by Councillor Carilyne Hébert and seconded by Councillor Justin Towndale of changing the minimum age to 14-years-old.
“Going down to 13 or 14 takes away from the serious of this policy,” argued Councillor Glen Grant.
“I don’t think this affects the seriousness of this at all,” countered Councillor Justin Towndale. “I think this will promote engagement”
Councillor Eric Bergeron stated that he felt that the age of 18 was what was most appropriate.
“To me 18 is the voting age, that’s who we represent as councillors,” he said.
Mayor Bernadette Clement commented that prior to the pandemic, she enjoyed hosting students who would come to city hall to learn about municipal government, and always found them to be very engaged.
“I think that democracy does begin before 18,” she said. “I’m okay with 14, I would have been okay with no age limit . . . but 14 is alright with me.”