Thursday, August 9, 2007

MMP de-centralizes power at Queen's Park, makes our legislature more accountable

In response to the suggestion from the anti-MMP side that the proposal recommended by the Citizens' Assembly would result in more power for the politicians, blogger and Liberals For MMP member Edward Lai (Toronto-Danforth) responded with this:

"Parties have spent the last century consolidating their power, and it would probably take as long to strip them of it (if left to their own accord)."

"This is due to the executive power of the Prime Minister and the Premier. In the winner-take-all FPTP system, the party leader becomes de-facto ruler. The legislative assembly merely becomes a rubber stamp for his/her policies.

"Under MMP, coalition governing becomes the norm. The cabinet will become responsible to the legislature to get the votes approved for bills to pass. At the same time, the role of non-aligned Independent constituency members becomes more crucial. For coalitions to be formed, the party grassroots will need to have a say on which partners would be favourable to them after the election is held. If the party leader seeks to forge a coalition with controversial allies, he/she will risk the wrath of the card carrying members and will certainly be challenged in the next leadership review. At the same time, elected candidates can put more pressure on the party leader by insisting that they will not serve in any coalition government. These scenarios can only happen under MMP but not under the leader-centred approach to ruling under FPTP. Thus, I believe that MMP makes our legislature more accountable to the voters than FPTP."

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