Ontario’s referendum

On Wednesday, October 10, (in addition to the provincial election) Ontarians are being asked to vote on the following question:

Which electoral system should Ontario use to elect members to the provincial legislature?

The existing electoral system (First-Past-the-Post)?

The alternative electoral system proposed by the Citizens’ Assembly (Mixed Member Proportional)?

Click here for more info on these two electoral methods.

Does anyone have any thoughts on the two options proposed by this referendum? Or on which candidates have presented the most arts-friendly and/or forward-thinking platform?

3 thoughts on “Ontario’s referendum

  1. Dudes,

    I have been itching to go off about this:

    Proportional Representation is superior by far to the first past the post system (our current one). Here’s why:

    The current system does not reflect the values and priorities of the citizens who choose to vote in our democracy. For example, the Green Party (whom I don’t even personally support) is currently polling at 11%. 1 in ten people believe that this party best represents the ideas and policies their government should enact. How many seats will they win in the election?

    0. none. nil. zip.

    None of these people will have their voices heard in any way in the legislature when it is reconvened. They may as well have not voted at all.

    There is also the opposite effect taking place with more established parties: The Liberals will likely win tomorrow’s election with 38-42% of the vote. Yet they will receive approximately 60% of the seats, giving them a carte blanche to do whatever they desire for the next four years without consulting anyone….Even though the MAJORITY of people who live in Ontario DID NOT VOTE for them. How is this democracy? It drives me crazy…

    An additional benefit of PR is that it eliminates the quandary posed by strategic voting: I guarantee you that in the next federal election a whole slew of people will believe that the Green or New Democratic Party best represents their values and ideals. These people will then go to the polls and vote Liberal. They will do so not because they want to, but because they are scared shitless (and rightly so) of a Stephen Harper majority government. If we had proportional representation at the federal level this whole situation would be moot. A conservative majority would require 50% of the country to vote conservative….

    What are the arguments against PR?

    1 Instability: Italy which uses PR and has a chronically unstable government is often cited. These critics neglect to mention that so do Germany, Australia and New Zealand, all paragons of stable democratic governance. It is a question of political culture not structure.

    2 More politicians. PR requires 30 or so extra seats to be added. Is this a waste of money? Not if the MPPS from some parties were to reverse the $40,000 raise they gave themselves last year…

    3 Confusing system. What could be more confusing that what we have now? In PR it’s very simple, how much of the vote you get is how many of the seats you get. I don’t even understand this straw whatevertheheck i just made myself answer to.

    To conclude. First past the post is an antiquated and elitist system that serves to insulate vested interests from the will of the people and should be abolished retroactively. Practicably all of Europe has figured this out. Are we neanderthals or a dynamic and forward thinking society?

  2. I couldn’t agree more with Mike’s inciteful comments. We need to get out tommorow and vote Yes for real democratic change! In an otherwise dull and dissapointing election campaign this referendum offers voters a real chance to make a huge differnce with their vote.

    Even if it fails to meet the incredibly high bar the government has set for it to pass, a substantial showing for Yes will likely give it political legs in the future.

    B.C had a similar referendum a few years back. With a similar lack of media coverage or party support it lost by only 3 percentage points. 57% of people voted yes. There is now a strong movement to have it on the next ballot.

    Mike has laid out important reasons for voting Yes. Don’t let cynicism or apathy disenfranchise you!

    Get out and Vote!


  3. Well said gentlemen!

    I am looking forward to casting my vote for Mixed Member Proportional Representation.

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