Tag Archives: MMP

The 50% factor – Only half of Ontario’s voters bothered to even vote!

The Green Party seemed to bleed votes from the NDP and the Progressive Conservatives tonight, not the Liberals. Provincial and Federal parties across the county will take note. Voters seem to be hearing the “green mantra”. However, unfortunately this did not translate into any seats. The Green Party actually took 8-9% of the vote in Ontario. In many ridings they placed 3rd and in one 2nd. The Liberals ended up with a majority; however they only had 42-43% (this may change +/-) provincial support, with the Conservatives taking 31-32% (this may change +/-). In many ridings the count was extremely close. Albeit this was a big win for the Liberals. MMP lost, in a disaster! There was just not enough information, which begs to question the wisdom of the proposal in the first place. Or was it a plan to say that “we tried”? It seems to have been sabotaged or on death row from the onset. Just too complicated for a quick decision. Now, if only 50% of Ontario voters decided to kill MMP, than what does this say? Our current system we have works well for a 2 party system, such as the United States, but with multiple parties our system still needs to somehow improve. But I guess since the other 1/2 of the province did not show up then it means they don’t give a damn about it either, or anything else! However, the biggest story tomorrow, which I hope the media will resound tomorrow, is only approximately 50% of the province, or electorate, actually bothered to come out and vote tonight. 50%, that’s all! The other 50% decided to stay home and play with their XBOX 360, new iPod or attempt to figure out why they could not get their latest sitcom on TV. This is a sad day for democracy and even the need for an electorate. What half of the province said today is “I do not care, so do not bother me”. With the defeat of MMP, this can only get worse. How can a government have a mandate with only 50% of the vote? It boggles the mind, but I guess WWI and WWII, and what people fought for long ago is no longer on the minds of individuals in this province. We are truly now a society that only cares about the “me” factor. Although the Liberals have a larger majority, they will have to think long and hard. The voter turn out is going to get worse because somehow we are not engaging the electorate. Every party will need to take a hard look in the mirror. Now that MMP is dead, what will happen in 4 years? Based on the results tonight I believe that the Liberals will govern as they always have to ensure that the win next time round. The assumption is now that since no one cares any government can go ahead and do as they wish. But is that a democracy? Or is our democracy the fact that people can choose not to vote? Maybe people just do not think there vote matters anymore or they just don’t care?

The GTA Patriot
Toronto, Ontario

So far a Liberal majority has been declared by most of the GTA media tonight

One of the most interesting things about the Liberals is that they have held on to most, if not all, of the seats they had previously. Unfortunately, it seems that the ‘faith-based funding’ issue was truly the “Pandora’s Box” issue in Ontario. Regardless of all of the other issues on the table Ontarians have chosen to stick with what they currently have. Ontarians are simply not ready to deal with the funding issue in education at this time. Ontarians are also quite comfortable; however it will be interesting to see how the Liberals govern for the next 4 years. It also seems that John Tory may have actually lost his own seat in Don Valley West (not all of the votes are in yet). I still believe he is the best leader for the PC Party at this time (no one waiting in the wings to replace him); however I am not sure how he will be able to hold leadership of the party. With the Liberals clearly as the winner, who was the loser? Well, in my estimation it is MMP. This may change, however based on the numbers at the moment it is unlikely. At the present moment it looks like MMP will not pass. People simply did not have enough information about MMP to make an informed decision. Albeit, to no fault of their own. MMP was left off of the radar until the final few days of the election. Green Party support has risen, however in order for them ever to see a seat in the House of Commons a lot of ground work will need to be done. The lesson learned in this election is to stay away from controversial issues, no matter how much it may be the right thing to do. Ontarians will only tackle the issue when they are actually ready to. Congratulations to all of candidates during this election and best of luck in the legislature to all of the winners.

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a “The GTA Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario

Pros and cons of MMP

Mixed member proportional representation is a voting system used to elect representatives to numerous legislatures around the world. MMP is similar to other forms of proportional representation (PR) in that the overall total of party members in the elected body is intended to mirror the overall proportion of votes received.

Q: What is MMP?

A: MMP or mixed-member proportional representation is a political system used in places like New Zealand and Germany, where voters cast a two-part ballot, selecting both a preferred local candidate and a political party.

In Ontario’s version, voters would choose “local” MPPs in the traditional way in 90 newly created, larger ridings instead of the existing 107 constituencies. With their vote for the party of their choice on the second part of the ballot, they would also select an additional 39 MPPs from lists of candidates compiled by the parties.

These “list” MPPs would be elected based on their parties’ popular vote, to top up a party’s tally of “local” MPPs and more accurately reflect results across the province. The Legislature would be expanded to 129 MPPs to accommodate the changes.

Q: What are the advantages of MMP?

A: Smaller parties like the Greens, the Family Coalition and the Freedom Party would have a chance at winning seats in the Legislature even if they cannot win a riding outright. Any party that wins at least 3 per cent of the popular vote would be awarded four “list” seats. It would mean the end of majority governments when a party has won less than half the vote and prevent scenarios like former NDP premier Bob Rae’s landslide victory in 1990 with 37.6 per cent of the vote.

Q: What are the disadvantages of MMP?

A: Critics charge the 39 “list” MPPs would not be directly elected and the parties could use the lists as a sort of Senate to reward party apparatchiks, financial donors or others. As well, it would likely spell the end of decisive, majority governments since no party has won 50 per cent or more of the popular vote since 1937.

Q: What is “first past the post”?

A: “First-past-the-post,” or FPTP, is the current method of electing MPPs and is how Canadians have traditionally chosen federal and provincial representatives. It is a winner-take-all system, where the candidate with the most votes wins a riding. The political party that wins the most electoral districts forms the government.

Q: What are the advantages of FPTP?

A: Simplicity and familiarity. The system is in use in countries around the world, including Britain and the United States, and has served Ontario and Canada for generations.

Q: What are the disadvantages of FPTP?

A: The winner-take-all nature of it means that the majority’s voting intent may not be honoured. In recent history, most Ontario voters did not want Dalton McGuinty, Mike Harris or Bob Rae as premier, yet all three were elected with majority governments. It also means the ballots of dissenting voters in ridings won by the Liberals, Tories or New Democrats are meaningless province-wide. In theory, a party could win all 107 seats by winning every riding with a little over one-third of the vote.

Q: Who selected MMP as the alternative to FPTP?

A: The new system was proposed by the Ontario Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform, a group of 104 people – 103 randomly selected to represent every riding, plus George Thomson, a former judge and senior civil servant, who chaired the panel. The panel prepared a report for the government after holding public hearings.

Q: How do I vote in the referendum?

A: There will be a separate referendum ballot that can be cast when you submit your election ballot. Both ballots will go in the same box.

Q: What does it take for the referendum to pass?

A: The proposal must be approved by a “super majority” of 60 per cent of the votes cast across Ontario and by at least 50 per cent of the voters in 64 of the 107 ridings.

Q: If passed, when would the new system take effect?

A: It would be in place for the next provincial election scheduled for 2011. However, if there is a minority government after Oct. 10, the next election could come as early as 2008.

read more | digg story

Change Ontario’s voting system now!

At a recent all candidates meeting an incumbent MPP, during their speech, said “this is a two party race and it is pointless to vote for any other party….we do not want another Mike Harris government”. When approached and told that this is not becoming of an MPP and it was disrespectful of the other clients and opinions in the room. We should vote according to our values and own opinions. Unfortunately, the attitude of the MPP was that this did not matter. This is one of the major problems with the current system, which causing apathy amongst voters. Albeit, there must be more specifics in regards to the selection process of candidates, change is needed. We must go forwards as a province. We need a system that represents all of Ontario voters. If this means that political parties have to work together and get things done, then let it happen. Strangely enough many have come out to say that there will no longer be majority governments, as if this is the only way to govern. Some of these individuals are the ones that have the most to lose, with a proportional system. However since when was it fair to have a majority government with only approximately 35-40% of the popular vote and then dictate like they got a majority mandate? Again, it may not be perfect, but let’s move forward as a province. The Citizens’ Assembly has spent a long time consulting with ordinary Canadians and we definitely need a parliament that represents and shows the generally pulse of the province. Regardless of my opinion, please take some time to view the ‘Vote MMP website’ and get the facts. There is some descent, in terms of the election process of the proportional members list, however I do feel that these problems will be ironed out. With the power now in the hands of the electorate, political parties will be more careful and may actually start to “listen” to the actual voter.

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a “The GTA Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario


Vote Yes for MMP and electoral reform in Ontario

Why are voting systems important?

The voting system is the foundation for representative democracy, because it translates votes into seats. Citizens use the voting system to delegate power to political parties and politicians.

What’s so bad about the present Ontario electoral system?

“In a democratic government,” wrote Swiss philosopher Ernest Naville in 1865, “the right of decision belongs to the majority, but the right of representation belongs to all.”

FPTP undercuts both of these core principles – equal representation for voters and true majority rule. That and other shortcomings are addressed in more detail below.

  • Denies representation for all voters
  • FPTP provides political representation only for those voters who support the most popular party in their riding. Most voters in Ontario elections (two million plus) cast votes that elect no one. In many cases, the winning candidate does not even receive a majority of votes cast in the riding.

  • Distorts the will of the voters
  • Because many voters, often the majority, do not win representation, overall election results are distorted. A party winning only 40% of the votes may gain 1 60% or more of the seats and 100% of the power. A party winning 30% of the votes could find itself with only 10% of the seats. Smaller parties that may attract 5% or 10% of the vote will almost never be represented.

  • Produces phony majority governments
  • Because of these distortions, Ontario is generally ruled by phony majority governments – i.e., by parties that captured a majority of seats without winning a majority of votes cast. In fact, the last time an Ontario election produced a legitimate majority government was 1937. Consider these more recent examples:

    – The current Liberal government won 70% of the seats with only 46% of the popular vote.
    – In 1995, the Tory government won 63% of the seats with only 45% of the vote.
    – In 1990, the Ontario NDP received less than 38% of the popular vote but won 57% of the seats.

  • Fails to produce accountable governments
  • Governments that win with less than majority support nonetheless claim a “mandate from the people”. Once any party controls a majority of seats, nothing can stop a premier from enacting unpopular laws that are not supported by a majority of voters.

  • Gives us stagnation or wild swings but not responsive government
  • Ontario often has periods where one party is entrenched in power for an extended period. Then, even with a relatively small shift in voter attitudes, the composition of the legislature can swing wildly from one side of the ideological spectrum to the other. This can produce what is sometimes called “policy lurch”. Neither trend is responsive to the evolving political will of citizens.

  • Results in low percentages of women and visible minority MPPs
  • Every voting system produces incentives for parties to bring forward certain types of candidates. In a FPTP system based on electing only one candidate per riding, parties have little incentive to field a diverse range of candidates. Other voting systems in which parties must bring forward lists of candidates for larger regions have the opposite incentive. A more diverse array of candidates is often the winning strategy.

  • Promotes apathy, cynicism and negativity among voters
  • When voters believe their votes do not make a difference, they have little motivation to cast their votes. In Ontario, nearly 40% of eligible voters do not bother casting ballots. Countries using proportional voting systems generally have higher voter turnouts.

How will the MMP system help with the election of more women and minorities?

The proposed MMP system will improve women’s representation because parties will be forced – for practical reasons – to adopt new strategies for nominating their candidates. Most parties will quickly learn they will win the most votes if they have nearly equal portions of women and men appearing on their lists, and an appropriate portion of visible minorities. Any party that presents a list that is largely male and without minority candidates will very likely lose votes.

In many European countries, parties “zipper” their lists, alternating male and female names on their lists so equal numbers are elected. Parties are very competitive in seeking votes and will apply whatever strategy wins the most seats under the voting system being used. The evidence is clear. Proportional voting systems help produce what most Canadians want: more diversity in our legislatures.

What voting systems are newer democracies choosing?

According to the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (http://www.idea.int/esd/world.cfm), not one of the 26 countries that were part of the old Soviet bloc picked first-past-the-post.

Two countries adopted MMP, 13 chose other forms of proportional representation and seven picked semi-proportional votng systems, while four countries moved to two-round systems.

What is the Vote for MMP campaign?

Vote for MMP is a multi-partisan campaign initiated by Fair Vote Canada to support adoption of the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) voting system in the Ontario referendum on October 10. Fair Vote Canada is a national citizens’ campaign for electoral reform.

Through the Vote for MMP campaign, Ontarians from all backgrounds, regions and political views are uniting to support a new voting system that will give all of us more choice, fairer results and stronger representation.

For more information on MMP, go to http://www.voteformmp.ca