Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Myth #2 - Small parties will rule the province!

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

10 Lies about MMP

Another Ottawa blogger has compiled the 10 greatest lies promulgated by people who have not looked at MMP in depth.
Above, Germans don traditional dress in the state of Bavaria to exerise their democratic duties. Germany has used MMP since the institution of the Federal Republic and have had as many elections as Ontario in the same amount of time: 16.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Archived radio debate on CBC Ottawa, 9 minutes

Vote for MMP's Peter Black debated a representative of those against MMP on CBC Ottawa on Friday, 10 August 2007.

The debate is archived here.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Challenges to MMP #1: But we'll end up having elections every 2 years if we adopt MMP!

A common misperception is that voting systems like MMP mean governments fall more easily thereby resulting in more elections. Bollocks!

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.

MMP=stable government

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

New Elections Ontario website up for referendum

Elections Ontario has posted its website to educate voters on the highly-anticipated referendum on electoral reform. The site educates voters on the two systems, our present one and the proposed Mixed Member Proportion (MMP). There is an exhaustive list of links to follow as well as an FAQs section. Below is what seems to be the proposed ballot to be used in the referendum.

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 -
  • 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