Saturday, June 14, 2014

Ontario Election: A Good Case for Proportional Representation

Premier Wynne led her Liberal Party to a majority government this week, trouncing the anti-statist (drown the government in a bathtub) frothings of the Conservative Party, and shouldering aside the NDP expectation that governmental power was theirs for the taking, like ripe fruit, without any real effort on their part to justify this to voters.

But yet again the majority one is a mathematical majority, but not a moral one. Premier Wynne’s Liberals would be foolish to interpret their majority of seats as being a sign of a massive mandate from a majority of Ontarian voters.

It is not. That proportion of MLAs elected for the Liberals in excess of the Liberal Party percentage share of the votes cast, do not in any sense have a moral right to their seats. They are there because the electoral system in Ontario is undemocratic, and relatively primitive.

These are the results of seats won versus votes cast:

The 16% differential represents the MLAs who really have not earned the moral right to represent their ridings. They really have a right to represent voters who voted for one of the other parties, rather than the right to claim to speak solely for the Liberal voters.

If Premier Wynne really wants to act in the interests of Ontario voters, she should introduce a form of proportional representation for use in the next election.

Absent that, any claim she makes of having won the right to represent the majority of Ontarians is of dubious moral value.

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