Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Reasons for supporting the Ontario MMP proposal

I am definitely in favour of the proposed Mixed Member Proportional system for Ontario, and would love to see it implemented in every province and for federal elections as well.

The proposed MMP system is substantially more democratic than the antiquated first past the post system we currently have.

The citizens of Ontario considered the existing system and opted for the MMP, and for good reason.

The MMP combines, in an elegant manner, representation of geographic units, as well as specific individuals.

The MMP will give 'voteless' citizens a vote, unlike the current system, which has resulted in massive majorities for minority parties. This system debases the value of votes, as shown by the totally distorted results in Alberta.

Parliaments elected using the MMP system will far better reflect the true intentions of the voters, with a much wider spectrum of views gaining representation.

The fact that the MMP system proposed does not lay out rules for the names on the individual list being chosen is not a negative at all. In fact, it allows individual parties to decide on their own criteria, and voters will be better served by this happening. If you feel that the Liberals are not doing enough to ensure that women are represented in Parliament, and their list continues this trend, but the Tories, for example, are, you can cast your vote accordingly. Only those who fear the power of the ordinary voter should be running scared of this wonderful grassroots democratic option.

The opponents of the MMP have to date failed dismally to provide substantive reasons for not supporting the system. You cannot have it both ways: Ontario has a chance to strike a blow for a better democracy; the option of staying with the current first past the post system is a far worse result.

So the Cat calls on all true liberals to vote and work to support the passage of the PPM system in Ontario. Let's not fear the advance of democracy; let us rather step into the vanguard, and help it along!

7 comments :

  1. Exellent job explaining the benefits of MPP, as well as considerately rebutting the claims of those supporting FPTP.

    They should hire you for advertising the pro-MPP movement.

    And this from someone who wasn't sure what I thought until researching it over the past couple of months. Now I think it would be archaic to not find a hybrid system to ensure the smallest minorities (as long as they get 2%) have some hope for representation.

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  2. I live in BC and and a strong supporter of STV there- I do hope we vote Yes for STV in 2009.

    When I first saw the Ontario Proposal, I was very skeptical (hell, I didn't like it that much) because I thought that it didn't go far enough. I'm slowly leaning towards supporting it as while it may not go far enough, its better than FPTP. An ideal MMP proposal in my opinion would be an open-list one (that allow the voters the final say in who gets the list seats) along with 1-2-3 Alternative Vote for the single member ridings (which prevent an MPP from getting elected with less than 50%) of the vote.

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  3. I agree, Joseph. If we can implement MMP in one or two provinces, it will be a major start. We can then tweak it over the years, to make it even more democratic, through further proposals sent to the voters.

    But if we cannot bring in major reforms in Ontario or BC, the two most democratic provinces in Canada, what hope is there for even better systems in the future?

    So let's roll up our figurative sleeves and push the MMP through both provinces.

    The people deserve to have political power restored to them, and to the deadly grip of machine politicians loosened from around their throats.

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  4. Great discussion. You're all right, what we need, in Ontario, in Ottawa and all across Canada, is electoral reform and modern voting systems that aim to make all reasonable voices heard and ensure legitimate majorities govern.

    Watch the electoral reform debate in Ontario. I think you will find that democracy needs Ontario to vote for MMP.

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  5. I went to www.voteformmp.ca and donated to the campaign. We can talk about and that's great, but it will take volunteers and (lots of) money to be to win.

    On another matter, I'm amazed at how the critics of MMP make their claims despite there being no evidence to support them. I never understand how people can do that quietly....never mind in the full glare of the public.

    They risk being exposed as either silly or cynical.....or both. I have not seen ONE real world example to support ANY of their claims.

    *NAME* all the list candidates in New Zealand who are "patronage" appointments.....and, no, a long-time party activist who gets to be a candidate doesn't qualify as that is who candidates ARE under ANY system. You rarely choose newbies who turned up at a party Meeting yesterday...why would you?

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  6. CC,
    Can't find e-mail so here it is - would you like to join Bloggers for MMP? All you need to do is display our logo with hyperlink to our main campaign site - Vote for MMP
    You can email to let us know.
    Thanks for writing about MMP.

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  7. I am going to be one to disagree here as for all its flaws I believe FPTP is still the best system. Our ridings, especially the Northern and rural ones are already large enough as it is and having local representation here is vital to ensuring the voices of these communities are heard. An MP chosen from the party list is far more likely to be a party hack and less likely to vote against their party on a bad bill than one elected by their constituents who knows full well they could lose their seat if they don't represent their constituents. Do you really think Bill Casey, would have voted against the budget that was bad for Nova Scotia, if he were chosen from the list? Fat chance I say.

    Also it increases the chances of fringe parties on the far right and far left of winning seats and possibly even holding the balance of power. One of the advantages of FPTP is any party that is too far to the left or right is unlikely to garner enough support to win any seats. In Europe, Britain may have parties on the radical right and radical left, but none of them have seats in parliament, whereas in most Continental European countries that use MMP, they do have seats. Even with a minimum 5% threshold, it is not too hard for a fringe party to get above that level.

    In addition, it will mean constant minority governments, which I see as a negative not a positive. Sometimes governments have to make tough but necessary decisions and therefore it is better to let them make the unpopular decisions and then have the public judge them 4 years down the road when the results are in. For example, the cuts to balance the budget in the 90s, free trade, GST, Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and Bilingualism all likely would have never come about if we used MMP.

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