Saturday, October 13, 2007
As the poll at right suggests, blame on the failure of the MMP side has settled on several areas. I'd like to add to the options at right and say that in my opinion we don't have a referendum culture here in Ontario. Let's face it, if you're not used to voting in a referendum then you're not going to be looking for info about it.
Some have indicated that Elections Ontario's campaign was not effective enough. I don't know what more they could have done. The issue has been around since the last election (2003) when McGuinty said he'd set up an assembly to look at electoral reform. Then we had the Citizens' Assembly touring the province to study the matter. Then we had the campaign here in Ottawa. How could people not know there was a referendum???
MMP was too hard to understand
First, anything is more complicated than our current system. A system that asks us to mark two Xs instead of one is of course twice as more complicated... but seriously, it appears complicated only if you get into the details. Basically the question is if you want a proportional system then vote for MMP, if you don't then vote for FPTP.
MMP and MPP
I heard from one person that the Vote for MMP signs were really saying Vote for MPP. In other words, some thought it was a sign reminding people to vote for their MPP (Member of Provincial Parliament). If it had been called the Proportional System then maybe it would have done better.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
What was needed
To review, the result of the referendum would have been binding if the chosen electoral system (FPTP or MMP) was selected in :
Parkdale-High Park: 54.5%
Beaches - East York: 50.1%
52% of eligible Ontario voters turned out to vote. Of those, 42% voted Liberal which gave them 66% of the seats and 100% of the power.
37 % voted for MMP, and the press call it a resounding defeat. 42% vote for Mr. McGuinty, and the press call it a resounding victory. That’s FPTP for you!
The 58% of Ontarians who voted for opposition parties received only 33 per cent of the seats, significantly weakening the checks and balances needed for accountable and effective government.
Had the mixed member proportional (MMP) system proposed in the referendum been used in this election, with similar voting patterns the resulting Legislature would have been very different, and more in line with voters' choices:
The Liberals' 42% would have earned approximately 59 seats, rather than 71.
The Progressive Conservatives would have had about 39 seats, rather than 26.
As in 2003, the Tories would have gained more under MMP than any other party and been much better able to provide numerically-effective opposition to the Government
The NDP would have had about 21 seats rather than 10.
The Green Party, whose 352,000 voters are today totally unrepresented in the Legislature, would have earned about 10 seats.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
1. Too little choice
Many voters live in ridings dominated by one party where they cannot elect someone from the party they actually prefer.
2. Most votes elect no one
In a typical Ontario election, more than two million voters cast votes that elect no one.
3. Distorted election results and phony majorities
A party winning only 40 per cent of the votes often captures 60 per cent of the seats. Ontario is usually governed by a party the majority voted against.
Ten Reasons to Vote for Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) in the Referendum
1. More choice for voters: one ballot, two votes
With MMP, you cast a vote for your local candidate AND another vote for your preferred political party.
2. More power to voters: everyone matters
Even if you don’t elect someone in your riding, your party vote will still help elect at-large candidates. Every party will compete for your vote no matter where you live.
3. More options for voters
Voters will be able to consider the larger established parties, as usual, but also a number of smaller, newer, innovative parties.
4. Fairer results in elections
Parties will get only the seats and power they deserve – no more, no less.
5. Stronger representation
With both riding representatives and at-large representatives, voters will be able to call on more than one elected official in their region for assistance.
6. More diverse representation
Parties will learn that they attract more votes by nominating a diverse list of at-large candidates – including a good balance of women and men, and visible minorities.
7. More accountability to voters
Every voter helps elect someone, which strengthens accountability, and majority governments can only be formed by those representing the majority.
8. Better government and less concentration of power
Parties will be forced to negotiate and compromise, usually by forming coalition governments, which tempers the power of the premier and party leaders.
9. Citizens’ Assembly recommended MMP
MMP is recommended by the independent Ontario Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform, a body of 103 randomly chosen voters who studied and deliberated for eight months on the best voting system for Ontario.
10. Old guard doesn’t like it
The MMP system empowers voters and gives us more choice, fairer results and stronger representation – not what the old boys club wants, but what all Ontarians deserve.
Monday, October 8, 2007
MMP gives us the freedom to elect a party that we want to see form government yet choose a local candidate that we feel would reflect our interests better.
90 of the 129 seats proposed under MMP are elected by our current First-past-the-post system, that's a full 70% of the legislature. The remaining seats, 39 would be filled by list members, that's only 30%... a very modest yet important change.
The Toronto Star has published an article supporting MMP.
MMP gives us two important components in an election system: having local representation plus a chance to vote for the party we want to lead the province.
Add your reason why you're supporting MMP!
Saturday, October 6, 2007
Monday, October 1, 2007
That is essentially what the question is you have to answer. I've talked to several people who want a PR system but don't like MMP.... Come on, if you want a PR system, even though it doesn't meet your own personal standards of what a PR system should be then you should still vote for it.
The question in the poll at right is the real question you will be asked on 10 October. But it should be the one above.
If you want PR then Vote for MMP!
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Currently, leaders' debates consist of leaders who have representation at Queen's Park. Supposing this remains the same, how would the debate change after four years of an MMP-elected Parliament? I think it would change in a couple of ways:
1. First, although tonight's debate was somewhat civil and easier to follow that other debates of late, traditionally these debates have been nasty, noisy, and generally uncivil. I believe that under MMP the leaders would see an advantage in being more civil and gentlemanly with each other because they realise they have to co-operate with each other after the election. Tory wouldn't rail against McGuinty because he would know that in a minority situation he would want McGuinty to pass some of his policies. Hampton would be slow to paint Tory in too bad a light since he may need his help on several bills in the subsequent Parliament.
2. Green Party leader Frank de Jong would be added to the equation if his party obtained the necessary 3% threshold and elected MPPs. How would the debate change with him in the fray? I think we would have definitely heard about the MMP referendum at least once or twice. None of the other leaders brought up the referendum in the debate but I somehow suspect de Jong would have seeing that it is of capital importance to the future of democracy in Ontario as well as for the future of the Greens. De Jong held his own parallel debate here.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Rick Anderson, Preston Manning's right-hand man during the Reform Party years, has been a long-time supporter of MMP (he was at the Ottawa chapter's opening in the Spring).
The Reform Party would have greatly benefited from MMP in its various elections gaining seats in Ontario and elsewhere.
Monday, September 17, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
A common myth about MMP is that it will lead to small parties holding the legislature hostage with unreasonable political power as their ransom. This has simply never been the case with MMP.
In all cases of a coalition government with MMP, there has never been a case where a small party has hijacked the legislature and been so uncooperative that they've threatened the life of the Parliament. Rather, small parties know that there is no use in trying to be uncooperative since defeating the government in hopes of winning a majority is near impossible under MMP.
Also, it is in a smaller party's best interest to cooperate since it is only thanks to their larger coalition partner that they have the opportunity to implement some of their policies. The larger coalition partner would also be hesitant in giving their junior partner too much power.
Which small parties could there be in Ontario under MMP?
It's difficult to answer this question looking at election results under our current system (First past the post). However, if we take the results of the last election (2003) we see that there in fact wouldn't have been so-called small parties; only the Liberals, Tories, and New Democrats would have been in the legislature. The Green Party won 2.8% of the vote in 2003 thereby falling short of the 3% threshold needed to elect MPPs to Queen's Park.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
Germany (and the former West Germany) have had just as many elections as Ontario has in the same time period (since the late 1948 there's been 16 in Germany and 16 in Ontario). Germany has had MMP since 1948 and Ontario has had our First past the post system for the same period (and longer). Germany is often used as an example because their electoral system is very close to the MMP system proposed to Ontario.
Others may point to Israel as an example where governments fall apart. However, Israel has a pure proportional representation system (PR) such that the entire country is basically one riding and people only vote for parties. The example of Israel itself is somewhat extreme since political tensions there are unique in the world.
New Zealand switched to MMP for their 1996 election and have had stable elections (every three years is their custom).
In short, switching to MMP results in stable governments. Perhaps the most import change is that governments who under our current system would be in a hurry to call an election if they are riding high in the polls would not under MMP since they would most likely not receive a majority government. Likewise, the opposition party who finds itself at around 36% in the polls would be less cautious in defeating the government since there's no guarantee that they'll win a majority government either.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Remember to vote in favour of MMP on October 10th!
Elections Ontario (neither for nor against MMP) has also done the following:
- registered a profile and group on Facebook for people to get access to more information and discuss the referendum - http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=4103057895
- set-up a public, toll-free information telephone line, 1-888-ONTVOTE (1-888-668-8683)
- set-up an easy-to-share widget for individuals to use and share (available later this month)
- designed traditional advertising including province-wide radio, television and print outlets, as well as direct-to-voter information via direct mail
- engaged over 100 dedicated Resource Officers who can deliver community information sessions throughout the province
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Click here to see some video and audio on the subject.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Above is a sample ballot for MMP (Mixed-Member Proportional vote). This particular one is used in New Zealand.
The column on the left is where you select your choice of party (only parties are listed there). These votes will be used to determine proportionality and to select the list candidates. The list candidates will be published before the election. The column on the right is identical to the ballot we have in our current system (that's why you see candidate names there).
One criticism levelled at MMP is that it is difficult to understand. Well, I guess anything is going to be more challenging than putting one X beside someone's name which is what we currently do. This is of course much more complicated . . . we have to mark two Xs . . . Can you handle the enormous and crushing pressure?
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
- only votes for winning candidates count towards electing an MPP
- our current system routinely gives majority control of the legislature to parties with a minority of supproters
- dissolves exaggerated differences between rural and urban Ontario (parties wouldn't always have "safe" regions where they can take every riding)
Some quick facts:
- the Greens, New Democrats, and PCs were the most disadvantaged here in the city (in that order)
- Under MMP our city would have been represented by (approximately): 3 Liberals, 3 PCs, and 1 New Democrat
- Percentage of the votes per party in the city: Liberal: 45%, PC: 40%, NDP: 10%
Let's vote in favour of a system that shows our true colours!
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Our cousins down under adopted MMP 11 years ago, ditching first-past-the-post. He shares how MMP works in reality. Here is an exerpt from his article:
"I live in the Otaki riding, north of Wellington, on the west coast of the North Island. Otaki is a mainly rural riding. The largest towns are Levin and the north end of Paraparaumu. The local MP is Darren Hughes of the Labour Party. Local Labourites selected him as their candidate. He has offices in the main streets of Levin and Paraparaumu.
Not far away in both towns are the riding offices of Nathan Guy. He is a list MP for the National Party. He came second to Hughes in the local race, but was high enough on the list that he was also elected by his party's vote nationally.
So the voters of Otaki have two MPs, one from each major party, competing head to head to serve them.
But wait, there's more. Sue Kedgley, a list MP from the Green Party, also serves the Otaki electorate as well as the other nine ridings of the Wellington region. Her ads are in the weekly give-aways inviting Otaki voters to talk to her on issues of concern.
Why do they do this? Because under MMP, every vote counts everywhere. The politicians can't ignore anyone. The whole idea of winning an election by pandering to swing voters in a few marginals becomes obsolete."
Withers goes on to point out:
- most democracies in the world use a form of proportional representation,
- MMP provides governments that are just as stable as under our present system,
- minority governments don't sign their own death warrants in hopes of getting a majority because it's not guaranteed they'll get it.
This is a golden opportunity to get rid of our phony "majority governments" and provide true democracy to Ontario.
To volunteer with Vote for MMP-Ottawa please contact me.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
For example, say I'm a supporter of the Apple Party but they have no chance of winning in my riding because it is a stronghold of the Banana Party. Yet the only party which has a chance of beating the Banana Party candidate is the Coconut Party. Under FPTP I would be encouraged to vote for the Coconut Party candidate and abandon my prefered choice. All of this would change under MMP.
On my first vote I could feel comfortable voting for my favoured Apple Party if I so desired. But where I could have real satisfaction is on the second vote where my party vote, or list vote, would give a voice to the party I want to see in government. So MMP would address these two distortions and bring a true reflection not only of a party's support but go a long way in capturing the public's true political will by eliminating the need to vote strategically.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Long-time Eastern Ontario PC MPP Bob Runciman (Leeds-Grenville) is skeptical of MMP. An article in the Brockville Record & Times cited Runciman as questionning some of the proposed system's merits.
"There are some real shortcomings with what they are talking about now - more politicians and a significant number of them being appointed by the backroom people in the various political parties," he said.
In actuality, 39 MPPs would be elected from the lists. The remaining 90 in the current riding-based system. The individual parties must state, before the election, how they have formulated their lists. In other words, who would vote for a party if the leader's best golfing buddies were on it? The lists are a way for the parties to sell themselves to the voters by way of putting dynamic individuals on the lists, be it in regards to their sex, regional location, or other politically marketable quality.
Furthermore, it is in and of itself a very large break with our current tradition of nominating MPPs. Party members are convened to nominate a candidate or sometimes the candidate is even selected directly by the leader. If a party leader still wishes to do that then that's fine, they simply have to tell the electorate that.
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
- George Smitherman, Deputy Premier and Minsiter for Health and Long-Term Care and,
- Michael Bryant, Attorney General
Gerretsen joins Kingston Senator Hugh Segal in supporting the change as well showing not just Liberals and New Democrats are supporting the change.
Gerretsen also represents a "later" generation supporting the Mixed-Member Proportional vote. He said in the above article that,
"Nobody is ever 100-per-cent right and nobody is every 100-per-cent wrong," he said. "Governing is the art of compromise. There's nothing wrong with having the governing party take into account smaller parties."
The new system will have a threshold limit of 3% of votes province-wide necessary before a party can be represented at Queen's Park.
Monday, July 2, 2007
-Ontarians will vote in a referendum on the same day as the next provincial election (October 10, 2007) on whether or not to adopt or reject a new voting system
-to learn more on MMP please go to the Citizens' Assembly home page, here
-if you would like to learn more or to volunteer please email me