Saturday, 1 December 2007

Dion Admits To Propping Up the Conservatives, And, The Liberals May Return to Being An Opposition Party

Today in the Globe & Mail, Dion admits to propping up the Conservatives and hints that the Liberals may return to being an actual opposition party; that they will instead consider each vote on its on merit, including those related to a budget.

It's about time. I want my Canada back, please. Sooner than later.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Stephen Harper: A Mistake Canada Must Never Repeat

Stephen Harper, at the wrap up of the Commonwealth Summit, described the Kyoto Accord as a mistake the world must never repeat. What shame and embarrassment Harper has brought to Canada - a country whose majority supports the Kyoto Accord and firm action on climate change.
I say that Harper is a mistake that Canadians must never repeat.

Let's vote him out now and have a new election. The Conservatives have done so much damage to Canada and have such a terrible record now, that it would be impossible for them to be re-elected even as a minority government. Pressure your MP (hint: Liberals) to kick out the Conservatives now.

Opposition members call Harper an "environmental criminal", a "saboteur" and "an international pariah".

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Yet Another Reason to Kick The Buttheads Out!

Stephen Harper is embarrassing Canada yet again, this time in the Commonwealth meeting by holding out against the other countries (I don't count Australia because it seems that today their government will change to a pro-environment government) aim to come up with binding targets for fighting pollution that contributes to Climate Change.

Stephen Harper and his Conservative government are pro-pollution, there is no other way to put it. Lets kick them out now before they do further damage to Canada, and our reputation in the world. (Take a hint Liberals - when you are against a confidence motion, you vote AGAINST it - not sit on your thumbs while Canada burns!)

Fave recent quote in Question Period - when Gilles Duceppe called the Minister of the Environment "the Minister of Pollution and Oil Companies".

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Liberal-Conservative Coalition Government

Who would have thought that the Liberals would form a coalition government with the Conservatives? Well, they virtually have by abstaining on these confidence motions.

The Fifth Column put it best with this recent post.

And, here's a good one on the topic of Dion threatening to kick MPs out of the Liberal caucus if they vote against the government - from Blogging A Dead Horse.

And more here from The Experiment.

Even the Toronto Star is getting in on this.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Stop SPP!

Thanks to A Creative Revolution for posting about this new development about SPP.

Find out more about SPP at this NDP site

Under the SPP, Canada will have less and less ability to adopt independent and sustainable economic, social, cultural and environmental policies. Undemocratic harmonization of health, safety, and enviromental standards will lead to a race to the bottom where everyday Canadians lose out.

In the long run, this could have a lethal effect on Canadian public programs such as universal healthcare and public education.

Harper is fast tracking the complete sellout of our sovereignty.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

The NDP Vision For Canada

As posted in The Toronto Star today.

...Mr. Harper's government is taking Canada in the wrong direction. Most Canadians know it. We feel it deep down.

His agenda doesn't match our dreams of what our country could achieve. A Conservative future means that hard-working families will fall further behind; our environment will continue to deteriorate as pollution increases and our water becomes unsafe; and Canada's role on the world stage will continue to run counter to the values that we hold dear as a country.


But it doesn't have to be this way.


It's time for Canadians to dream big, not only for their families, but for their country. It's time that we closed the prosperity gap, tackled climate change, and ensured that Canada plays a positive role on the world stage.

The NDP is offering a bold plan and the leadership to get us there.

It's time to build again. Don’t let them tell you it can't be done.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

You Tell 'Em Jack!

As I've been saying, the Liberals are not doing the job their constituents elected them to do, they aren't acting as the official opposition should, and by this they are giving the Conservatives a virtual majority government.

Jack Layton, as reported today in the Globe & Mail:
“It's going to be very symbolic to watch our members rise in the House — willing to put their jobs, their principles, their commitments on the line — and then to watch the official opposition sit it out.”

Afghan Poll Suspect and Contradictory

The Canadian Peace Alliance brings up questions about the poll.

There are still many other unanswered questions about this survey. For example, did security or military contingents escort the survey teams around the country? If so the results will be terribly skewed, as these types of escorts would have destroyed the impartiality of the surveyors. Also, if 75 per cent of respondents called for a negotiated settlement with the Taliban (a number that has been omitted from most media reports on the survey) how do we reconcile that with the 64 per cent who want us to continue to fight the Taliban. Furthermore, if only 2 per cent of respondents knew that Canada was fighting the Taliban, how did that 64 per cent think that we were doing a good job.

See also Thomas Walkom's column in the Toronto Star.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

NDP on the Rise

According to the latest Environics poll (of 2,047 Canadians), the NDP's popularity is on the rise.
The significant areas are:

Atlantic Canada +6% , where they are virtually in a 3-way tie with the other 2 main parties with 30% support, vs 29% Conservative and 35% Liberal

Quebec +5% to 17% (tied with the Liberals in 3rd place)

Saskatchewan +5% to 27% - second place to the Conservatives with 39%

However, the NDP dropped by 11 points in Manitoba.

Also, Jack Layton is:
in 2nd place for Best Choice for Prime Minister (19% vs 37% for Stephan Harper)
and has the highest approval rating for leaders (56% vs 52% for Stephan Harper)

The NDP is up 2 points overall (largest rise for any party since the last poll) and the Conservatives are down 4 points (largest drop for any party since the last poll), since the last poll in June 2007

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Dion and the Liberals Wimp Out - Tells Canadians to Bend Over for Stephen Harper

What Stephane Dion is really telling Canadians by abstaining - "Bend over for Harper, Canada!"

Today Stephane Dion and the Liberals decided to say yes to more bad governing by Harper and the Conservatives by deciding to abstain from voting on the Throne Speech.

By abstaining on this vote, I would say that is equivalent to walking off the job in this situation. We don't pay our representatives to sit idly by while the country needs them.

Canada is suffering under the Harper government and the Liberals decide to allow it to continue when they have the chance to end the suffering.

Will Liberal supporters go along with this, or, will they change their vote to another party next election? In my opinion, Dion has shown poor leadership with this move to support the Harper government - especially after the past year of pies that Harper has thrown in the faces of Canadians.

Canadians, in polls, may say they don't want another election, but they also don't want to see Canada ruined. It's time to kick the bums out and have a new election. With all the dirt that the Conservatives have piled up over the past year, how can they not be beaten in a new election?

The only national leader with any leadership ability here is Jack Layton. Keep at 'em Jack!

Jack Layton Most Popular Leader in Quebec!

Thanks to Le Revue Gauche for bringing this story to light:

Jack Layton, NDP leader, has the highest score for leadership in Quebec in a recent poll by Ipsos-Reid, at 64%, followed by Duceppe at 63%, Harper at 61% and Dion at 31%. Nationally, they line up as Harper at 63%, Layton at 57%, and Dion at 36%.

I think these are the highest ratings yet for Layton. Maybe there is hope for some more NDP gain in seats in the upcoming federal election.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

MMP - The Aftermath and The Future

Nothing much changed with this election. The number of seats changed only by one (one less for the Liberals, and one more for the Conservatives). And, the NDP did better than the last provincial election in seats and popular support (3 more seats and about 2% more popular support), and a lot of Conservative support switched to the Green party, almost tripling their vote.
And, the electoral system remains at FPTP.

Here are some numbers for thought:

This was the lowest voter turnout in the history of the province - 52%.
(4.4 million out of 8.4 million eligible voters)
And, only 39% of these people of these people voted in the referendum (1.7 million voters).
And, the referendum was defeated by 63% of these people (1 million voters).

The highest support for MMP in a single riding was in my riding of Trinity-Spadina - 59%

How did MMP fail?
I agree with how More notes from underground put it:
It was overwhelmed by the election. It could have been explained much better. More people probably based their decision on the Toronto Star's fearmongering editorials. The MSM still dominates political debate for most people. And, Ontario's cautious political nature.

But, information did come out and at least about 700,000 people managed to learn enough about MMP to want to embrace it in the referendum. This means that there is that seed of knowledge out there in Ontario, which can only grow. Of the people who voted in the referendum, in the youth group of 18-34, 67% voted for MMP.

Now, here is the food for thought for those who voted against MMP.

If you recalculate the seats from this election under MMP, we would see something like this

Party - Vote % - Seats under FPTP - Seats under MMP

Lib - 42% - 71 - 45
Con - 32% - 26 - 35
NDP - 17% - 10 - 18
Green - 8% - 0 - 9

In this election, the majority, 58%, did not vote for the Liberal party. But now, for the next 4 years, the Liberal party will rule with an absolute majority power in parliament.
If we had MMP, the Liberals would have a minority of seats in parliament and would have to work with others (either vote by vote or in collaboration) in order to govern - which would be more representative of the people of Ontario.

MMP may be gone for now, but it will not be forgotten.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Why Should Liberals Vote for MMP?

Read the post at democraticSPACE.
Great post. But, of note is the comment by Dean Sherratt:

I agree because at this moment the “other parties” would lean left…NDP and Green. What right wing parties would the Conservatives add to their vote total? Hence, the PCs would need near to a majority to form a government, while the Liberals could sink to 30% or less and still form a coalition-style government.

Well, I wouldn't call the Green Party a Left party anymore (as some of their fiscal policies lean more Right than the Conservatives), you get the idea - the NDP policies are no where near in similarity to the Conservative policies, while they are more similar to the Liberal policies. So, a Liberal minority government would most likely form a coalition with the NDP in an MMP situation. This would be the most likely form of the government for some time under MMP.

If MMP Is So Great For Party Bosses, How Come They Are Fighting It So Hard?

John Torry and the Conservatives have come out swinging today against MMP. Included in their tirade is the usual pack of lies about MMP.

Steve Withers of the Vote For MMP campaign expressed concern at the Conservative email.

"The void left by Elections Ontario is being filled by ... fact-free fear-mongering," he said, criticizing the province's non-partisan elections commission for not doing enough to inform voters despite a $6.8 million advertising blitz.

Withers also questioned the logic of MMP opponents who claim unelected backroom insiders would wield more power.

"MMP is great for party bosses? If it was, how come they're fighting it so hard?" he said.

With the Conservatives doing so poorly in the polls right now, this means that a large portion of Conservative votes will be wasted in this election. Most likely one half to one quarter of Conservative voters won't end up being represented by Conservative seats in parliament. With MMP, ALL the Conservative voters would end up being represented by Conservative seats in parliament. It leaves you wondering, are the Conservative party bosses just daft, or are they afraid of something? And if party bosses don't like it, it's got to be good for average citizens. It is us, the average citizen, that will gain more power, and the party bosses who will lose power in MMP.

A vote FOR MMP on Oct 10th, is a vote for increased voter power in elections. Don't forget that.

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Ontario Referendum Picker Quiz v.2

Here is an updated version of the Referendum Picker Quiz.

This is a quiz to help you chose how to vote in the referendum on Oct. 10 2007 in Ontario.

Get a pen and paper and write down your answers. Then score the answer and total your score and refer to the Score Results at the end to see how you should vote.

Note: Nothing takes the place of full and proper research of both sides of the issue. But, if you have done that and are still unsure, this quiz might help.


1) I would prefer a system where

a) I am represented in parliament by whoever wins in my riding, regardless of what party they represent and regardless of whether I voted for them or not.

b) I am represented in parliament by a member of the party I voted for, as well as by whoever wins in my riding, regardless of what party they represent and regardless of whether I voted for them or not.

2) I would prefer to have

a) a majority government only when the party actually wins a majority of the popular vote

b) a majority government when the party wins a majority of the seats, regardless of the whether they received a majority or a minority of the popular vote

3) In a minority government situation, I would prefer the main government party to

a) govern as best they can on their own with as little collaboration and/or compromise with the other parties as possible in order to get done what they can in a minority voting position

b) find common ground with one or more other parties by collaborating and/or making compromises in order to get done what they can in a majority voting position

4) In an election, I would prefer

a) to be able to vote for a local candidate only

b) to be able to vote for a party, as well as a local candidate

5) Currently, Ontario voters have the lowest level of provincial representation in Canada, with each Ontario legislator representing more voters, by far, than legislators in any other province. With this in mind

a) I would prefer that the number of elected seats in parliament remain at 107

b) I would prefer to increase the number of elected seats in parliament to 129

6) If you were in a riding where the party you support never usually has a chance of winning, which of the following would make you more likely to vote in an election

a) if you knew that the local candidate/party you vote for would probably lose, and then you would not be represented in parliament by a candidate/party of your choosing

b) if you knew that the local candidate you vote for would probably lose, but that you could also vote for the party you want and be represented by them in parliament (regardless of whether your local candidate wins or loses)

7) If a party you didn't vote for won a majority of seats in an election, although 60% of the voters voted for other parties, do you think it is fair that this party (which only represents 40% of the voters) governs absolutely without input from the other parties (that represent 60% of the voters) for 4 years?

a) Yes, it is fair

b) No, it is not fair

8) If you feel your vote never counts since the party you vote for never wins, so you have stopped voting, would you start voting again if

a) your vote counted all the time

b) your vote only counted if the party you voted for won

9) Would you prefer

a) that the members of parliament better reflect the diversity of gender and ethnicity that we have across the province

b) that the members of parliament remain mainly white men.

10) Would you prefer that

a) voters have more power in their say as to who makes up the government

b) voters have less power in their say as to who makes up the government


1) a-0, b-1

2) a-1, b-0

3) a-0, b-1

4) a-0, b-1

5) a-0, b-1

6) a-0, b-1

7) a-0, b-1

8) a-1, b-0

9) a-1, b-0

10) a-1, b-0


0 - First Past The Post All The Way!

You should vote to keep the current electoral system of FPTP

1-4 - First Past The Post

You should vote to keep the current electoral system of FPTP, but you think there are some good things about MMP

5-6 - Research More

You are beginning to get the picture about MMP, but you still believe FPTP has it's merits. You should do more research before Oct. 10th.

7-9 - Mixed Member Proportional

You should vote for the new electoral system of MMP, but you still think there are a few things about FPTP you like better

10 - Mixed Member Proportional All The Way!

You should vote for the new electoral system of MMP

Thursday, 4 October 2007

You Tell'Em Howie!

Howard Hampton, leader of the Ontario Provincial NDP, took the mainstream media to task today for focusing on issues that are not at the top of peoples' minds.

Will we see the media start to report on the real issues? That would be nice. Let's see proper reporting and information on the Referendum and MMP. Let's see reporting on the environment, proper funding of schools, energy/electricity issues, child poverty, homelessness, seniors homes, and so on.

See James Laxer's

Why Howard Hampton and the NDP Deserve Your Support on Wednesday

Thor Takes On The NoMMP's "The Truth About MMP" Page

The following Question and Answer session is from the site's "The Truth About MMP" page.

After reading it, I decided that, yes, readers should be supplied with the truth. That is why I've followed each Question and Answer here with my answer from the Yes for MMP perspective. My answers are in square brackets and red text.


What is the Mixed Member Proportional System (MMP) proposed by the Citizens' Assembly as Ontario's new electoral system?


The Mixed Member Proportional System (MMP) is an alternative to the First Past The Post electoral system currently in use in Canada and every province, as well as in the United Kingdom and United States. It is also sometimes called the Single Member Plurality system.

First Past The Post is used by the most people - about 45% - in the world living in democracies, in about 45 countries.

MMP is currently in use in Germany, New Zealand, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Lesotho.

[Notice that NoMMP says "used by most people" instead of "used by most countries". Most democratic countries use a form of proportional representation (which MMP is a form of). FPTP or SMP is used by far less countries. Proportional representation is used by 81 countries.]


How does the MMP proposal differ from our current electoral system?


The MMP proposal that all Ontarians will vote on in the October 10 referendum will mark a great change in the way citizens of Ontario elect their representatives.

Under MMP, the voter will be given two votes. They can vote for a local candidate as they would do under our current system, and they also vote for the individual parties as well.

Under the proposed model, the Ontario legislature will consist of 129 seats. Local constituency races will determine 90 of those seats, as it is under the current electoral system. But the other 39 seats will be proportional or list seats and will be used to top up parties' seat totals so that the proportion of seats that each party gets corresponds to the proportion of votes that each party gets in the party vote. If a party fails to get 3% of the overall vote, they will not receive any seats in the legislature.

[Yes, agreed]


Does MMP give us better representation?


No it does not. In fact, the strength of our representation would weaken dramatically if MMP were to become our electoral system. Ontarians, compared to citizens in other provinces, are already the most poorly represented citizens in Canada.

[Yes, MMP does give us better representation. With MMP we would have 129 elected representatives. Currently we only have 107 elected representatives. So, our representation would increase by 22.]

It is not entirely certain who the 39 proportional or list MPPs that come from party lists represent. They might be considered to represent their political parties in the legislature. But we at NO MMP think that MPPs should represent citizens - people like you and me - from a real constituency, not the political parties who already have too much power in our democracy.

[Once elected, list MPPs will set up constituency offices in different regions so as to represent and be available to constituents in the area. When people vote, and they vote for a party, they will be electing these 39 members. They will represent citizens who have voted for the parties. Polls and history consistently show that the vast majority of people vote for a party rather than a specific individual.]

Some consider these list MPPs "at-large representatives" or "regional representatives". This will leave us with several MPPs who represent large and densely populated regions, but do not represent clearly defined ridings as it is under our current system. This makes it very difficult for citizens to identify which of the party list MPPs represents them. This will certainly dilute representation here in Ontario.

[A citizen, for local issues, can either contact their local MPP, or the closest constituency office of a list MPP of the party they prefer. For larger regional/provincial issues, the citizen can contact either of these 2, or, the member of the party they prefer who is dealing with the issue at hand.
Again the No MMP group seem to be focused on the local representative issue, when polls and research have shown that this is not what is most important to people. What is much more important to the people is to be represented by the party they prefer, to have someone with the same views as them, speak in parliament for them.]

Who exactly do these list MPPs represent? MMP has no real answer. They sort of do not represent anyone, which means that there is less accountability and weaker democracy in Ontario.

[The list MPPs represent the people who voted for them. Locally/regionally, they will represent people in their region where they set up office. Obviously, for a party that gets a small percentage of the vote, there will be fewer covering larger regions than for a party that gets a large percentage of the vote. Having these party members representing people regionally, means that if the local candidate they voted for does not win, then they can turn to someone from the party they supported for representation. This adds another level of accountability and allows for all voices to be heard in parliament - thus making the system more democratic.]


How does the proposed MMP model distribute the list seats?


The list seats will be distributed on a province-wide list tier. This is different from other MMP countries like Germany that divide up their lists into regions.

This means that the list seats can be distributed in any way that political parties deem necessary or politically expedient. They can decide to put all their seats in Toronto, or any other part of the province. There is no provision in this proposal to make political parties distribute the 39 seats evenly across Ontario.

Under this MMP proposal, there is no mechanism to ensure that the 39 party list MPPs are distributed evenly throughout Ontario, thus ensuring weaker accountability. The only way to ensure that is to fix representatives to a specific constituency, just like in our current system."

[What a silly idea. Do they seriously think that a party would put all their list members in one city, instead of spreading them out to make them available to constituents who voted for them across the province? This would be political suicide, since the people across the province would most likely not vote for that party next time. Political common sense dictates that parties will distribute these members across the province so as to be most accessible to the public who voted for them.
There is no provision currently preventing party leaders from appointing all the party candidates in FPTP. But this is not done (they are nominated and elected at riding meetings) as it would be political suicide as well.]


I heard that the people who get the 39 proportional seats would be names from a list provided by political parties. Is that true?


Yes, that is correct. If the results from the party vote, let us say, show that the Liberals get five seats, then the top five people on the Liberal list who have not already been elected at the constituency level will get those seats.

[Yes, the 39 proportional seats will be allotted from the party lists to top up the party's seats so the proportion of total seats each party gets in parliament is the same as the proportion of overall votes they received.]


So who gets to determine the makeup and order of these party lists?


The political parties would be solely responsible for the composition of the party lists under the MMP proposal. They can either be determined by direct orders by the party leadership, or they might be determined by a vote by party members. The proposal from the Citizens' Assembly does not have any provision for this whatsoever.

No matter what, the composition of the party lists will be in the hands of members of political parties, who make up a tiny part of the population of Ontario. Non-aligned voters do not get a say at all.

[The Citizens' Assembly made the recommendation that the list members be chosen similarly to how local candidates are currently chosen - by nomination and election by party members. All 4 major parties (Liberal, Conservative, NDP and Green) have officially stated that this is how these members will be chosen.

Currently, with FPTP, the choosing of local candidates is in the hands of members of political parties who make up a tiny part of the population of Ontario, and non-aligned voters get no say at all in their choosing. So, there will be no difference - from FPTP to MMP - in how candidates are chosen by parties.]


If I do not like the candidates at the top of the party list that I want to vote for, can I alter the list so I can put my preferred candidates at the top when it comes time to vote?


No, you cannot. The MMP proposal allows for closed party lists only. This means that voters cannot cross off names or change the order of a party list in the ballot box, as is allowed in countries such as Switzerland. The only choice given to the voters under MMP is to choose between lists.

[It will be in the interest of parties to not only democratically and openly chose who to put on these lists, but also to put competent people of diverse background, gender and ethnicity similar to the constituents of Ontario. The major parties have said that this is what they will do. And, as with current system, if a party does not field good candidates, then people will vote for another party.]


Isn't giving political parties total control over the makeup of the list undemocratic?


It certainly is. It is important to be highly ranked on a party list in MMP. If a candidate is highly ranked, then he or she is pretty much guaranteed a seat at Queen's Park, so long as that party gets 3% of the vote. So if you want to vote for a party but do not like whom they have at the top of the list, you are pretty much stuck. Not only is this undemocratic, it is also unfair.

[Parties, under the current system of FPTP, have total control over their choosing of all their local candidates. Why should they not have control over their list candidates under MMP? List candidates will be made public well before the election is held, so you will be able to see who is on the lists. Just like with the current system, if you don't like the party candidates, you can vote for another party. Not only is this democratic, but it is also fair.]


If I don't like the candidate who is first on a party list, how can I make sure that he does not get into office?


You can vote against the party list. But the only way to be certain that the candidate does not get a seat is ensure that 98% of Ontarians vote for someone else, thanks to the 3% threshold proposed.

Under our current FPTP system, a candidate can lose his seat if another candidate gets more votes than him. It is that simple. For a list MPP to lose his under MMP, if he is first on the list, 98% of the population have to vote against him.

How would you like an electoral system that puts in a representative that has 97% of the electorate voting against him?

[Again, it would be political suicide for parties to chose list candidates that had proven to be very unpopular. A party would not do this unless they didn't want votes. It makes no sense that they would do this.
Under the current system, sometimes something similar happens - a party drops in a special candidate against the wishes of the local riding association and there is much friction. And the local riding association does not like this new candidate. But the new candidate recruits a lot of new members and ends up being elected by the riding association. The members who were against the new candidate vote for him/her in the end anyway because they support the party, regardless of the candidate.
So, as you can see, things like this happen in the current system already.

Again, the NoMMP camp are putting undue emphasis on individual candidates, when research and polls show that people overwhelming vote for the party as opposed to the candidate.]


Is it true that MMP will make it virtually impossible for political parties to form majority governments?


It wouldn't be impossible, but very rare. Under MMP a political party has to secure over 50% of the vote or win 72.2% of the local seats in order to get a majority. Since this rarely happens in Ontario, we can pretty much be certain that we will always have minority or coalition governments if MMP were to pass.

[Yes, it will make it difficult for political parties to form a majority government on their own. With MMP, we will most likely see parties work together more to get things done.]


Is it better to always have minority governments? Wouldn't that be better for Ontario?


The Yes Side is telling the public that minority governments are better and will lead to improvement in politics in Ontario. Here's a quote from the Yes Side's literature:

"...because parties will be required to work with one another in coalitions to pass legislation, the system will reward cooperation, compromise and accountability in place of partisan rigidity, trivial bickering and narrow thinking".

Anyone with any common sense knows this is ridiculous. We have had minority governments at the federal level for some time and many people in the media as well as ordinary Canadians are complaining more and more about the rancour and uncivilized behaviour in Queen's Park.

It is a mistake to think an electoral system will change the nature of politics and politicians. As recent history has shown, minority governments have not taken away the bickering and partisan rancour that Canadians have been used to from our politicians.

Also, let us not forget that majority governments have produced very positive achievements, most notably the patriation of our Constitution.

[Minority/Coalition governments would be better for Ontario. Most of the best, most commonly-liked policies that have been passed through Canadian history have been from minority/coalition governments.
The NoMMP group mentions that "majority governments have produced very positive achievements, most notably the patriation of our Constitution."

Minority governments have brought in many far reaching reforms greatly valued by Canadians - The Canada Pension Plan, the Guaranteed Income Supplement, the Canada Student Loan program, increased federal transfers to the provinces, and Canada’s most cherished social program - our Health Care system. Recently, during a Liberal minority government, they worked together with the NDP to get these issues passed in a budget: lowered costs for education, cut pollution, built affordable housing, more funding for transit, increased foreign aid, and new protection for pensions in the case of employer bankruptcies.

What about Ontario minority governments? Minority Governments in Ontario have: expanded public health and education systems, expanded the provisions of the Ontario Human Rights Code, and expanded bilingual services.

With the current system, FPTP, minority governments are often unproductive because the parties spend their time bickering and finger-pointing to try to one-up the others so as to get an edge in support and then gain a majority in a new election. Due to the nature of FPTP, a party does not need a majority of votes to get a majority of the seats. It is the volatile nature of FPTP that encourages such behaviour by parties in a minority situation.
However, with the new MMP system, parties' voter bases will be more stable (as people will be more apt to vote for the party they prefer as opposed to strategic/swing voting since they will always get proportional representation in parliament) and this will reduce wild fluctuations of seats at the polls. This will discourage parliament from being so unproductive during a minority government and encourage coalitions and compromise - since the parties know that the electorate will not be as volatile.]


I have heard that voter turnout would go up if we implement MMP. Is that true?


No, there is no way to guarantee that. Low voter turnout is a problem all over the world. And while it is true that MMP countries have higher voter turnout than FPTP countries, their voter turnout levels are falling as well. However, voter turnout in the United States and Canada, two FPTP countries, went up in recent elections

The best example is from New Zealand. In 1996 they changed from our FPTP system to MMP. They have had four elections under MMP, and three of those elections have had the three lowest voter turnouts in New Zealand history.

[Many people in Ontario and in Canada have stopped voting mainly because they can't get representation in parliament. With MMP, representation will be proportional - the proportion of seats a party gets in parliament is proportional to the number over province-wide votes the party gets. This means that people will get representation in parliament, even if their choice of local candidate loses.
Voter turnout is higher in countries with proportional representation.]


The Yes Side is saying that MMP will get rid of tactical voting. Is it possible for electoral reform to stop citizens from voting strategically?


Absolutely not. No electoral system can eliminate tactical voting. To suggest otherwise is completely erroneous.

Tactical voting is when a voter supports Party or Candidate A, but instead votes for Party B to stop Party C from winning. This happens all the time in FPTP, but it can still happen in the 90 seats that will still be contested in the same way as we have in our current electoral system.

It is also possible to vote tactically for the party lists. Remember that the ratio between constituency seats and list seats is about 70% / 30% under this proposed MMP system. This means that the larger parties that pick up more seats than their vote proportion at the constituency level will usually not be entitled to any list seats.

This means that smaller parties are more likely to get these lists seats. This gives voters, especially those who support large parties, a strategic incentive to vote for a small party that could be a potential coalition partner with the large party they might support.

This happens in Germany all the time. Supporters of the conservative Christian Democratic Union often vote for smaller like-minded parties so that they get list seats, since they realize that voting for the CDU list will work to elect small parties that would not be interested in forming a coalition with them.

This is an example of tactical voting. Some Germans support the CDU but vote for small conservative parties to stop other small parties from winning seats. MMP does nothing to get rid of tactical voting.

[Electoral reform to a proportional representation system like MMP can remove pretty much most of the incentive for strategic voting. With MMP, people are going to get seats proportional to who they vote for. Since they won't have to worry about wasting their votes by voting for their party in a riding that it wouldn't or might not get in, they won't need to do strategic voting.]


Will MMP eliminate vote wasting?


If no vote were to be "wasted" that would mean every voter's candidate of choice would have to win an election - it's not possible or sensible. Elections are to select which candidate in each constituency has the most support and then which parties across the province have enough support from elected members to form a government.

Under First Past The Post, your vote goes to one candidate and is counted clearly. Regardless of your choice, that's not a wasted vote.

[Yes, MMP will eliminate vote wasting. Elections are to select people to represent you in parliament. MMP elections will be far more fair and democratic as the number of seats alloted will be proportional to the number of votes the party received.
Under FPTP, only those who voted for the winning candidate in their riding are represented in parliament by a party of their choosing. The other people who didn't vote for the winner do not gain the representation they desire and their votes are wasted. In a large province like Ontario, when you add up all the votes for candidates of parties that did not win, that is a very large number - about 60% of all the votes in the election.
The policies of one party compared to another can be quite extreme. For example: in the election that Bob Rae's NDP won, try telling someone who voted Conservative that he did not waste his vote when he ended up with a local NDP representative. I don't think he would agree with the opinion about vote wasting made by NoMMP.]


Will MMP make it easier for smaller parties to get seats?


Yes it will. The MMP system, by introducing proportional representation, will make it much easier for smaller parties to get seats. Under this MMP proposal, any party that has at least 3% of the vote will be guaranteed seats in the Ontario legislature.

Larger parties will then have to make deals with smaller parties to form government. This means that the balance of power could be held in the hands of a party that does not have support from 97% of Ontarians.

es, it will be easier for smaller parties to get seats, but they need to get at least 3% of the vote to get any seats at all. For a party to get this much support, they will need to have a platform with enough common appeal. This will make it very difficult for small extreme, single-policy parties from gaining any seats.
Also, once MMP passes, the finer details, like this 3% threshold, will be discussed in parliament to determine whether it should be higher or lower.
A large governing party with a minority won't be aligning itself with a tiny party with extreme views. In most cases in other countries with MMP, the large, minority, governing party aligns itself with another large moderate party with fairly similar policies and views. This way, the government passes policies with the widest appeal to the people.]


Will MMP put an end to backroom politics in Ontario?


Quite the opposite! MMP would encourage more backroom wheeling and dealing than there is now.

Under MMP, if no party has a majority there will have to be deals to form a minority government supported by several parties. MMP does mean that potentially a party with just a few MPPs who may represent a very minority view will have the balance of power and can dictate policies in the backroom to the other parties who want to form a government. This can only be a bad thing for democracy in Ontario.

[No, there will always be backroom politics. But, I disagree with the assumption about the party with a few MPPs (see my answer to the previous question).]


Isn't MMP a lot more complicated than FPTP?


Yes it is. One of the greatest advantages of FPTP is that offers voters a simple choice to make in the ballot box. MMP gives the voter a more complicated choice to make in the ballot box.

There is empirical evidence that voters often do not understand MMP. In elections to the Scottish parliament, the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey in 2003 found that less than 40% of their respondents were answering questions about key aspects of MMP correctly. We feel that voters deserve an electoral system that all can understand so to help stop elites from getting further control of our democracy.

[MMP is not a lot more complicated that FPTP. You vote for the local candidate and you vote for the party. Very simple.]


Doesn't an MMP system mean political parties have less influence over candidates and that candidates can be more responsive to voters?


No. If anything, political parties gain more power over candidates, making them more responsible to the party brass than the voters of Ontario.

All candidates will want a high rank on a party list, and will have to rely on substantial party support to get that. This is over and above the party support and finance that a candidate needs to get elected at the constituency level.

[With MMP, political parties will have the same influence over candidates as they do now with FPTP. Candidates are chosen by the party the same way for local and list candidates as now with FPTP. And candidates will have to deal with the voters the same as currently. List candidates as well as local candidates both rely on party support, just as local candidates do now with FPTP. It is the party membership that chooses them (in MMP and FPTP) to run in an election.]


Will MMP allow for more women and minorities to be elected?


That is entirely up to the political parties. If political parties do not want to field more women or minority candidates, they are not compelled to do so. There is no guarantee that political parties will put more women or minority candidates on their party lists.

As it stands now, the Liberal Party of Ontario have promised to have women make up 1/3 of their candidate slate, and the Ontario NDP have managed to have women make up 50% of their candidate list for the upcoming election. MMP will not make political parties step up their efforts in this area.

[Yes, MMP will allow for more women and minorities to be elected. It will give the parties more lee-way in using the party list to come up with a more diverse and representative group of candidates than the local candidate method. Major parties have already begun stating their plans to do so in the case that MMP passes.]


In short, why should I vote against MMP?


Because it is a convoluted and confusing system that dilutes representation, weakens accountability, and gives more power to political parties at the expense of voters just like you and me. In short, MMP makes democracy weaker in Ontario. Just say no to MMP!

[You should vote for MMP. It is a simple, more fair, more representative, more accountable and democratic system that will always give you a voice of your choosing in parliament. It gives the voter more power in parliament by giving the electorate proportional representation. MMP will give you a much more powerful democratic voice in Ontario. Just say YES to MMP!]


I am concerned with some problems in FPTP but I do have some concerns with this MMP proposal. What should I do?


You should vote NO to MMP! We are a big tent movement. A lot of us feel that FPTP is fine, but a lot of us also feel that changes would be beneficial to the electoral system. But we all feel that this MMP proposal is a step in the wrong direction for Ontario. We must get democratic renewal right in Ontario, and not make a mistake by implementing this MMP proposal!

[You should vote YES to MMP! The number of people in favour of MMP is much larger than those opposed, and getting larger every day as people learn about it. As people learn the facts about MMP, they are seeing that it truly is a more fair, democratic and sensible system, and they are deciding to vote for MMP. Our numbers are growing every day. In a recent Angus Reid Poll, they found that 40% of Canadians currently prefer some form of proportional representation, while only 29% preferred our current FPTP system. As of Oct 3rd, on Facebook, there were 29 groups supporting MMP in Ontario with a total of 7580 members, and 17 groups opposing MMP in Ontario with only 2098 members. Thats a difference of 78% for MMP to 22% against. (If you translate that to FPTP values, that is 100% to 0% - not fair, is it?)
Supporting MMP will mean supporting a giant historic step up for our electoral system. We must get democratic renewal right in Ontario, and not get left behind with the old unfair system of FPTP.]

[For more details about MMP, please visit the site.]

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Angus Reid Puts the Spin On Democracy in Canada

Angus Reid is reporting that Canadians are satisfied with democracy but split on the system. But, if you look closely at the actual numbers for the electoral system question, you can see that they split the answer categories into 2 different types of proportional representation, so it would look like it is not as popular.

If you combine the PR and MMP (MMP is a form of PR), then you get

PR/MMP - 40%
Don't Know - 30%
Current FPTP system - 29%

Which clearly shows that of the people who have decided, 58% would prefer a form of proportional representation to the current electoral FPTP system.

So, it makes you wonder, why would Angus Reid or their client want to mislead the public on this?

MMP - Mixed Member Proportional Quiz

This is a quiz to see if you know the facts about MMP. It mainly focuses on the common myths about MMP.

1) With the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) system, there will be less seats in parliament.
a) True
b) False

2) The MMP List candidates will not be elected, they will be appointed by the party.
a) True
b) False

3) MMP is less fair democratically than FPTP (First Past The Post - our current system).
a) True
b) False

4) If MMP gets in, the new election ballots will be confusing.
a) True
b) False

5) With MMP, there will be decreased accesibility to government.
a) True
b) False

6) With MMP, If no party wins a majority and we end up with minority governments, nothing will get done.
a) True
b) False

7) Proportional Reprensentation (which MMP is a form of) does not work well in most countries that use it.
a) True
b) False

8) With MMP, fringe parties will hijack the government and hold the balance of power.
a) True
b) False

9) Voters will have more incentive to vote in an MMP system.
a) True
b) False

10) MMP will do away with the need for strategic voting.
a) True
b) False

1) False.
Currently, there are 107 seats in the Ontario parliament. With MMP there will be 129 seats - 90 local seats and 39 list seats - all elected by the voters.

2) False
The List candidates will be chosen much the same way that local candidates are chosen - nominated and elected by party members in an open and democratic fashion, and then elected by the voters of Ontario - the Citizens' Assembly for Electoral Reform recommended this, and the 4 main political parties have officially stated that this is how they would select the List candidates.

3) False
With MMP, each party gets the same proportion of seats in parliament as the proportion of votes they got in the election.
With FPTP, each party gets the number of seats they won in the election, and all the votes that went to parties that did not win in each riding are wasted - resulting in a disproportionate number of seats being alloted in parliament. Example: Currently, the Liberal party has far more seats in parliament than the proportion of votes they received in the last election (giving them a majority government but with a minority of the popular vote). And, the Conservative and NDP parties have proportionately less seats in parliament than the proportion of votes they received in the last election. The governing Liberal party has a majority of seats in parliament, yet, they only got about 40% of the vote.

4) False
With MMP, there will be 2 choices - one for the local candidate, and one for the party.
Currently, with FPTP, there is one choice - for the local candidate

5) False
With MMP there will be increased accesibility to government. There will be your local representative, as well as party list (at-large) representatives to chose from.
From VoteForMMP: What do at-large representatives do?
Typically, at-large representatives will open constituency offices in their own region to provide an alternative to the riding representatives from other parties. In others words, voters in a region could choose to contact their riding representative or an at-large representative from their own party to help with problems or discuss issues.
Some at-large representatives may also have strong skills or expertise in a particular policy area and focus on legislative committee work. Others may focus on serving particular groups of Ontarians who are not concentrated in any one riding or region.
In summary, the MMP voting system gives voters stronger and better representation than we have now, by providing us with both local representatives and at-large representatives.

6) False
With the new system of MMP, parties will be forced to spend more time working for the people instead of working against the other parties.
From Vote For MMP: Since a majority of voters seldom support a single party, fair election results mean that seldom will a single party have majority control of government. Instead, two or more parties will have to negotiate, compromise and cooperate to form government and pass legislation.
Under the current voting system, minority governments are always unstable because parties know they can gain majority control with as little as 40 per cent of the popular vote. A small shift in voter preferences is enough to collapse a minority government under first-past-the-post, so stable and cooperative working relationships among parties are seldom formed. Mindless bickering and confrontation are more typical.
Under proportional voting systems, parties know they will gain no more or no fewer seats than deserved. The incentive is to find long-term coalition partners and work productively within a culture of negotiation and compromise.
Research has shown that coalition governments tend to be better than singleparty governments at producing legislation more in line with public thinking. But that’s only logical. Coalition majority governments are formed by representatives of the majority of voters – unlike Canada’s “majority” governments put in power by only 40% of the voters.
Generally, two or more like-minded parties, who together represent a majority of voters, agree to form a coalition government. Their compromise agenda will generally focus on areas of policy agreement, not the most radical positions of the smaller party. If two parties representing a majority of voters have common policy interests, that often indicates majority public support for those policies.
Another important safeguard is that any major party or political leader adopting an agenda out-of step with its own support base will be severely punished at the next election. In fact, the logic of coalition-building is the opposite of the tail wagging the dog. It’s more like the dog choosing the tail that fits.

7) False
Proportional Representation does work well in most countries that use it.
From Vote For MMP: Critics often point to [Italy and Israel] as “proof” that proportional voting systems create political chaos. Let’s apply some perspective. With 81 nations using proportional systems, critics can find only these two extreme examples. To say Italy and Israel are typical political cultures under proportional representation is like saying Zimbabwe and Nigeria are typical political cultures under first-past-the-post. Critics don’t like to talk about Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, or the many dozens of stable governments and healthy economies with proportional voting systems and coalition governments.
In fact, a landmark comparative study on effective government demonstrated that countries using proportional systems readily match and often exceed the economic and social performance of nations run by single-party governments (usually false majorities). This is not surprising, as proportional voting systems create governments that are more representative and accountable.
In New Zealand, where they switched to MMP back in 1993, the new system has proven to be very stable with only one early election since MMP was adopted.

The majority of democratic nations now use a form of proportional representation - especially in Europe.

8) False
There will be a threshold of 3% of the popular vote that a party must pass in order to gain any seats. And, even if a fringe party gains enough support to get a few seats, it is more likely that a major party will form a coalition with another large party that it has more in common with. If you look at other countries that have MMP, this issue is not a problem.
Also, once we choose to have MMP, items like the threshold will be discussed and adjusted if the government decides it is too low or too high, before MMP is actually implemented.

9) True
With MMP, every vote counts. You will be able to vote for the party whose platform most closely resembles your own views and actually elect someone from that party. You will be able to vote for the local candidate AND a party. And the number of seats in parliament will proportionately represent the popular vote.
Currently, with FPTP, if you vote for a party (via the local candidate) and that party loses in your riding, your vote is wasted. The seating in parliament per party is disproportionate to the popular vote.

10) True
With MMP you can vote for who you really want to with confidence that your vote will count and you will gain a representative for that party.
With FPTP, if you don't vote for the winner in your riding, you don't get a representative of your party. This often leads to people switching their vote and voting for a party they don't like in order to keep another party they like even less from getting in.

Tom Kent at the Globe & Mail for MMP

It's nice to see another major newspaper run commentaries supporting progress:

With electoral reform, politicians will have less incentive to make special promises to special interests, and more incentive to campaign on what is good for the province as a whole. They will need to co-operate with other parties to get things done. The mood of politics will shift significantly from mindless, spin-doctoring combat toward more constructive competition.

Read the full article: And the Future Is ... A Two-Vote Electoral System

Andrew Coyne on MMP and the "appointed" issue.

Today in Andrew's column, he sets things straight on how the List candidates are chosen:

MMP Does Not Mean Appointed Party Hacks.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Facebook MMP Ontario Groups - Yes vs No

I did a count tonight of the number of Ontario MMP groups, either for or against MMP. There were 29 Yes groups, with a total of 7580 members, and there were 17 No groups with a total of 2098 members.

Comparing percentages, thats 78% for MMP and 22% against.

The fact that all the parties (Liberal, Conservative, NDP and Green) have all come out and said that their processes for choosing the List candidates will be open, transparent and democratic, should go a long way to convince a lot of doubters that MMP is the better way. These lists will also be made public well before the election, so voters can see who would get seats if the lists are used.

One of the No side's big arguments has been that these List candidates would be appointed. As we can see, not only will they be elected within the party, just as local candidates are, but they will also be elected by the public on election day.

And, as for who these List (or At-Large) candidates are accountable to, here is an excerpt from the Vote For MMP web site:

An at-large MPP represents every voter in Ontario who voted for that particular party. Under the current voting system, more than two million Ontario voters routinely cast votes that elect no one. Under the new system, these at-large MMPs ensure that every voter helps elect someone who is directly accountable to them.

Typically, at-large MPPs will open constituency offices in their own region to provide an alternative to the riding MPPs from other parties. In others words, voters in a region could choose to contact their riding MPP or an at-large MPP from their own party to help with problems or discuss issues.

Some at-large MPPs may also have strong skills or expertise in a particular policy area and focus on legislative committee work. Others may focus on serving particular groups of Ontarians who are not concentrated in any one riding or region.

In summary, the mixed-member proportional voting system gives voters stronger and better representation than we have now, by providing us with both local MPPs and at-large MPPs.

MMP or FPTP - Referendum Picker Quiz (version 1)

For the more serious poll, version 2, go to this link:
Referendum Picker Quiz v.2

This is a quiz to help you chose how to vote in the Referendum on Oct. 10 2007 in Ontario.

Get a pen and paper and write down your answers. Then score the answer and total your score and refer to the Score Results at the end to see how you should vote.

Note: Nothing takes the place of full and proper research from both sides. But, if you have done that and are still unsure, this quiz might help.


1) I would prefer to have my vote count and my voice be represented in parliament

a) only if I vote for the winning candidate in my riding

b) always, no matter who I vote for

2) I would prefer

a) a majority government that represents the real majority of the people

b) a majority government that usually represents only a minority of the people

3) I would prefer members of parliament to

a) spend half their time saying how bad the other parties are

b) spend most of their time finding ways to work together to get things done for the people of Ontario

4) I would prefer to

a) only have one choice in a election, to vote for either for the candidate or the party

b) be able to have 2 choices in an election, to vote for a local candidate AND for a party

5) I would prefer to

a) vote for the party whose ideas I most closely believe in, with confidence that my voice will be heard in parliament

b) vote for a party even though I don't like their ideas, because if I voted for the party whose ideas I most closely believe in, the candidate in my riding who represents the party I like the least might get in.

6) I would prefer to have

a) one representative in parliament, even though he/she might not be from the party I support.

b) more than one representative in parliament, so I'm most likely to have a representative from the party I support.

7) I prefer to

a) listen to reason regarding elections and politics

b) listen to fear regarding elections and politics

8) I would prefer to

a) spend less tax dollars and have less representation in parliament and have a government that most likely does not represent my views make the decisions on how to spend my tax dollars

b) spend a bit more in tax dollars and have more representation in parliament and have a government that most likely does represent my views make the decisions on how to spend my tax dollars

9) If you were in a riding where the party you support never usually has a chance of winning, which of the following would make you more likely to vote in an election

a) if you knew that the local candidate/party you vote for would probably lose, and then you would not be represented in parliament by a candidate/party of your choosing

b) if you knew that the local candidate you vote for would probably lose, but that you could also vote for the party you want and be represented by them in parliament (regardless of whether your local candidate wins or loses)

10) When it comes to my decision making on the topic of electoral reform, I would prefer to trust

a) a group of citizens (The Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform), who were randomly selected by Elections Ontario - a non-partisan group, who studied different electoral systems used around the world for a whole year and came to the overwhelmingly conclusion that Ontario should chose a new electoral system - Mixed Member Proportional

b) journalists and individuals using scare tactics and assumptions not based in reality when writing about electoral reform


1) a-0, b-1

2) a-1, b-0

3) a-0, b-1

4) a-0, b-1

5) a-1, b-0

6) a-0, b-1

7) a-1, b-0

8) a-0, b-1

9) a-0, b-1

10) a-1, b-0


0 - First Past The Post All The Way!

You should vote to keep the current electoral system of FPTP

1-4 - First Past The Post

You should vote to keep the current electoral system of FPTP, but you think there are some good things about MMP

5-6 - Research More

You are beginning to get the picture about MMP, but you still believe FPTP has it's merits. You should do more research before Oct. 10th.

7-9 - Mixed Member Proportional

You should vote for the new electoral system of MMP, but you still think there are a few things about FPTP you like better

10 - Mixed Member Proportional All The Way!

You should vote for the new electoral system of MMP

A Refresher for Those Who Are New To MMP And Have Been Swayed By The No Side.

More and more people in Ontario are just becoming aware of what MMP is. As more people are informed about it, more people are supporting it. This is scaring the No side, and they are coming out with more lies about MMP to scare people away from voting for MMP.

Here are some links to posts, new and old, debunking the lies of the No side:

Vote for MMP -

Vote for MMP -

Dawg's Blog - Ten Lies About MMP

Driving the Porcelain Bus - Debunking "Former Police Officer Gillespie's" Claims About MMP

Blogging For Democracy - Monday Night MMP Link Blast

Andrew Coyne - PR: The Fearmongers Debunked

Scott Tribe - The Case Is Made For Proportional Representation

Liberals for MMP -QUESTIONS & ANSWERS: Citizens' Assembly & Why First-Past-The-Post is Broken

democraticSPACE - What the Media Doesn’t Want You to Know About Our Current Electoral System

And, here's an article from MacLean's Magazine - Wake Up And Smell The Kiwi, discussing New Zealand's experience with MMP.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Debunking "Former Police Officer Paul Gillespie's" Claims About MMP

I received an email the other day that was full of un-truths about MMP and the Referendum coming up in Ontario on Oct. 10, 2007.

I agree that people should be informed about MMP – but with facts.

Paul begins the email with: “if you live in ontario you should read this carefully before you go to vote on the 10th oct and understand what it will mean to your tax dollar”
He seems to be implying that this vote will have a large impact on your tax dollars. And, in that he is correct.
With the MMP system, the governement will be more accountable in how it spends our tax dollars, and we will have a government that actually represents a majority of voters making decisions on how our money is spent, instead of having a government that only represents a minority of voters (as we have now), making these decicions.
But, Paul makes claims in the reverse of this, based on false information.

In this post, I go through his claims one by one, debunking each.

For an excellent resource on the facts, go to:

[And, for more information about MMP, see the links at the bottom of this post.]

On October 10, 2007, as part of the next Provincial election, the people of Ontario will be asked if they want to replace the current electoral system. In essence, they will be asked if they want to shift the power from
the people of Ontario (local voters and ridings) to the politicians at Queens Park.


There will be a shift in power. More power will be shifted to the people of Ontario and away from a few politicians. MMP will give more power to the people so that every vote counts, as opposed to only the votes for the winning candidates.
Also, currently, candidates are nominated at riding association meetings. List or Regional candidates will also be chosen by a similarly democratic process. Opponents of MMP would have you believe that the List or Region candidates would be appointed by party leaders. This is not true. [Update: Now, all 4 major parties (Liberals, Conservatives, NDP and Green) have agreed that they will use transparent and democratic methods to choose the list candidates - they will not be appointed. The Citizen's Assembly, when they put forth their original recommendations, also recommended that List candidates be chosen in a democratic and open fashion.]

There has been no education on this referendum and its timing, coinciding with the October 10 Ontario election, may allow for an easy pass by sheer overshadowing.

The referendum has been in the news off and on since the last provincial election. The problem of of education actually works against MMP getting voted in as those who know the least about it tend to say they will vote against it, while those who know the most about it are those who say they will vote for it. The fact that the 2 largest parties, the Liberals and Conservatives, are doing little to promote education about this, only hinders the process and all but ensures that MMP will not pass in the Referendum.

Paul contintues with: What is being proposed and how does it impact all of us?

Decrease the current number of ELECTED MPPs from 103 to 90.

The number of elected MPPs will increase to 129 from 103. You will elect a local representative and a regional representative of the party you support, thus increasing your individual representation. [Correction - from 107 seats to 129 - there are currently 4 vacant seats of the 107 seats.]

Incorporate a new NON-ELECTED number of MPPS

There will be no non-elected MPPs, but more elected MPPs. And, your vote will count, whether the local candidate you support wins or not as the number of seats in parliament will be proportional to the number of votes cast for a party.

Enlarge the number of MPPS to 129.

The number of MPPs will increase to 129. However, this is a good thing. Currently, Ontario has the worst representative-to-voter ratio in Canada – which means a less representative government. More MPPs means that you will get better individual representation in parliament.

90 MPPs will be Elected by us the people

129 MPPs will be elected by us the people

39 MPPs to be Selected or Appointed by the politicians.

Zero MPPs will be selected or appointed by the politicians. This is a myth perpetrated by the anti-MPP people. List/Region MPPs will be chosen by democratic processes just like local candidates are chosen now.

Not democratically elected and Party elites

All 129 MPPs will be democratically elected. In fact, with proportional representation, and more MPPs representing people directly, and, the fact that there will be less chances for single parties to get majority support, the politicians/parties will be forced to work together more. This will result in the parties working more towards getting things done for you and less to working against each other.

Decreased accessibility to government

You will have increased accessibilty to government as you will have two representatives, not one.

17 fewer local ridings and decreased accessibility

There will be less local ridings, but this will be offset by an increase in party representatives. There will be 129 MPPs instead of 107. You will have access to 2 members, not 1 as now – a local representative and a party representative.

Elected members will have local riding issues to manage

Okay, I'm not sure what the problem is with this point. Currently, elected members have local riding issues to manage. And, with MMP the elected members will have local riding issues to manage too.

Directly accountable to constituents

Both local and list/regional MPPs will be directly accountable to constituents

Appointed MPPs have no such responsibilities

First, there will be no appointed MPPs. All will be democratically chosen and elected. Second, both local and list representatives will be accountable to you and be responsible for all issues, local and provincial.

Brokerage Politics may make positive change more difficult

Currently a lot of postive things don't get done for you and the province due to parties spending their time trying to make the other parties look bad and their own party look good in order to gain more votes in the next election. In a proportional government with no majority party, the parties will be forced to work together to get things done for people. In most MMP countries, this has worked well for a long time.

Did you ask for this referendum and the associated costs?

Yes, you did, by electing the Liberal party last election. This was one of their election promises. Oh, you say you didn't vote for the Liberals last election, and that the Liberals didn't get a majority of the vote? Well, MMP would have fixed that, so you would have had more say.
And, the cost of the referendum and the research leading up to it will be offset by the more accountable and responsible decisions made by the govenerment once MMP is in place.

This proposed two-tier government system called "Mixed Member Proportional" MMP) is the government's solution to reduced voter turnout in the current electoral system. There is a risk that this referendum question will be overshadowed by the debate of who will form the next provincial government and could result in the people giving up their historic power in the way we govern ourselves.

MMP will not result in a two-tier government. It will result in 129 democratically elected MPPs, with the parties getting a number of seats proportional to the number of votes they get. Many people have stopped voting because the current system of FPTP (First Past The Post) results in their vote not counting. MMP will result in every vote counting. Contrary to the myth above, if we vote yes for MMP and it passes, we will be gaining power in the way we govern ourselves. Everyone's vote will count and each person will gain more representative power in parliament. The best policies have been passed when parties have been forced to work together. The worst policies have been passed when one party - with a majority of seats, but who got in with a minority of votes, made the decision for us.

The government spent millions of our dollars on a Citizens Assembly on Electoral Reform. Purportedly, the members of the Citizens Assembly were chosen randomly but no one can establish which database or what information was used to determine such random participation, or history making participants.

In 2005, the Ontario legislature established an all-party committee to study electoral systems. The committee made recommendations regarding the Citizens' Assembly and the referendum. In March 2006, the government filed a regulation providing for Elections Ontario to select one citizen at random from each of Ontario's 103 electoral districts to form the Citizens' Assembly.

The people of Ontario did not ask for this referendum.

This was a Liberal party election promise and the Liberals were elected. So, yes, the people of Ontario asked for this referendum.

The people of Ontario want more accountability. They do not want paid MPPs that have no accountability: not to ridings or constituents or any other defined entity or channel. The people of Ontario want more transparency of their various tax dollars, at all levels of government. They want to eliminate misuse, abuse and squandering of their money and will not tolerate monies provided for apparent immoral means. Shifting the people's power will not help suppress scandals such as the most recent Cricket club affair. ($100,000 requested and $1,000,000 one million paid for no apparent benefit to the people of Ontario).

1.A more elite legislature
2.Reward for faithful service
3.Delivery of votes
4.Financial help
5.Decreased accessibility to politicians
6.Less Democracy

With the current system, you have only one MPP accountable. With MMP, you will have more accountable to you.
Transparency of tax dollars and elimination of misuse, abuse and squandering of money, and use of money for apparent immoral means:
With MMP, parties will be forced to work with each other more, and be forced to get things done for you instead of wasting your money by wasting time playing political games and bashing the other parties.

Shifting Power:
MMP will shift more power into the voters hands. Currently, with FPTP, a single political party who, although only getting a minority of votes, gets a majority of seats – a minority party with majority power. With MMP, we will only have the majority of power in the hands of the majority.

Regarding the 6 points above:
MMP will give us
1.a more accountable and less elite government
2.representatives more responsible to the voters
3.a system where every vote will count – the number of seats a party gets in parliament will be directly proportional to the number of votes the party gets.
4.a government actually representing a majority of the people, resulting in better decisions being made regarding your money and services
5.greater accessibility to your government with more representatives representing you the individual
6.a real democratic system where the number of seats is proportional to the number of votes

If people of Ontario are to make an informed decision, they must have the opportunity to hear more than one side of the debate on electoral change.

Exactly. So why has the government done so little to inform the public about this issue? History has shown in Canada that by setting such a high goal of 60% voting Yes and not informing the public enough, it will result in the referendum failing, and the current system remaining. Polls have shown that the less people know about the new system the more likely they are to vote to keep the current system. And, alternately, the more people know about the new system, the more likely they are to vote for the new system. So, less full information from both sides, will only result in the vote for MMP failing. It is in the interest of the anti-MMP side to keep the people un-informed on the topic.
It is strange that The Toronto Star, generally known to be a Liberal Supporter, has been coming out with columns against MMP, while The National Post, generally know to be a Conservative Supporter, has Andrew Coyne writing in support of MMP. We know that the NDP and Green parties fully support MMP. As for the Liberals and Conservatives, they don't have official stances on the issue, but there are members of both parties for and against MMP.
More correct factual information about MMP is definitely needed. Many anti-MMP people compare what would happen with MMP in Ontario with what has happened in Italy and Israel. This is very misleading since these countries do not use MMP.

Using our tax dollars to pay for 22 more politicians and their staff at Queens Park, and without any sense of what the additional 22 will be doing or to whom they will be accountable, suggests that the people of Ontario are weak, indecisive and need decisions made for them or are basically ignorant and will give up their power

The additional MPPs will be representing the people who voted for them. They will be directly accountable to the people who voted for them – on local and provincial issues. Currently, MMPs represent constituents on local issues, and on provincial issues. This will not change. And the party or parties combined that make up the government will actually represent a majority of voters, not a minority.
With the current FPTP system, we often, as currently, have a party in power making decisions for the majority, who only represents a minority of the people. So, with our current system, we have others, who are not accountable to us and don't represent our vote or ideals, making decisions for us.

The MMP system will give us more accountabliltiy, and will result in better representation.

For more information on MMP visit these links:

Vote For MMP

Liberals 4 MMP

Conservatives For MMP

Driving The Porcelain Bus - posts about MMP and Proportional Representation

democraticSPACE - Canadian Politics - Electoral Reform

Progressive Bloggers