With polls showing neither the Liberal nor the Conservative parties being able to secure a firm majority in the coming election, we might be poised for a historic breakthrough in the way we run our elections in Canada.
|Andrea Horwath - lacking insight and courage?|
One poll of polls shows a possible minority government, with the NDP holding a critical number of seats and so being able to determine which of the LPC and CPC will become the next government of our largest province:
Based on a weighted aggregation of the latest polls, ThreeHundredEight.com’s seat projection model puts the Progressive Conservatives and Liberals on track to win 44 seats apiece, with the New Democrats taking the remaining 19 seats in the 107-seat Legislature. With even numbers in the caucuses of both Dalton McGuinty and Tim Hudak, the NDP would be in a position to decide which man becomes Ontario’s next premier.
The NDP has for a long time favoured electoral reform in Canada through proportional representation.
With the polls showing the Ontario NDP in the position to determine who becomes the next government of Ontario, that party has a once in a lifetime chance to propel Canada forwards by demanding – as the price of its cooperation – that the Ontario system be replaced by a proportional representation system.
And the Ontario NDP can insist on this whether they support the Liberal Party or the Conservative Party.
If the NDP did insist on modernizing our democracy by using proportional represenation, this could be the most significant change in our archaic system of elections since the passage of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
However, it seems that the NDP leader might lack the courage to insist on PR as a price for supporting either a Tory or Liberal government:
And in response to a question from a voter on the street, Ms. Horwath said she'd like to see the province take another shot at proportional representation, which was defeated in a referendum in 2007."If we were to form a government, we would start having that conversation again," she told Gail O'Gorman. "The last conversation, it was scaremongering, and nobody understands it."
Ms. Horwath clarified in a scrum later on that while her party supports proportional representation, initiating another referendum isn't top of mind.
"We very were disappointed with the way things went the last time around," she said. "But. ... it's not top of the agenda."
If Horwath fails to use this opportunity to make a dramatic and overdue change in our elections laws happen, she will join Nick Clegg of the UK Liberal Democrats as a failed leader of a minority party. Cleg had the chance to change the UK system of election to one using PR, but settled for far less while giving the Tories the chance to rule for 5 years. As a result, Clegg will face his party being obliterated at the next election, with no chance of significant electoral change for another generation in the UK.
One wonders if Horwath has the political smarts to understand that she stands on the brink of being able to secure lasting change in the way we elect our representatives to our provincial and federal governments.
Or is she too small a person to seize the opportunity?