Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Open Letter to all Ontario Liberal MPPs, Candidates & Riding Presidents

To all Ontario Liberal MPPs, Candidates and Riding Presidents:

I wanted to let you know about a new grassroots group in the Ontario Liberal Party called Liberals For MMP, or Mixed Member Proportional.

We're a group of volunteers who support the Liberal Party who got together this summer to organize efforts to convince other Liberals in Ontario to support the new, Citizens' Assembly proposal before voters this October 10th.

Our current voting system frequently produces legislatures that bear little resemblance to how people actually voted.

Currently, voters who don't back the winner in their constituency find their vote is wasted because it has no impact on the make-up of the legislature.

Even more disturbing, sometimes First-Past-The-Post actually gives the second-place party a majority government. In Quebec in 1998, the separatist Parti Quebecois won 43% of the vote, compared to the Quebec Liberals who won 44% of the vote. Despite this, the Parti Quebecois won a majority with 76 out of 125 seats. Similarly in British Columbia in 1996, the Liberals won 42% of the vote, versus 39% for the NDP. But this translated under First-Past-The-Post into a NDP majority with 39 out of 75 seats! In Ontario in 1985, the Liberals outpolled the Tories in the popular vote, but the PCs still won the election 52 seats to 48, with 25 for the NDP.

In recent decades, First-Past-The-Post has handed the second place party a victory in 6 out of 10 provinces: Newfoundland & Labrador, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. As an electoral system, First-Past-The-Post is clearly broken.

Thanks to Dalton McGuinty, Ontarians have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity on October 10th to vote to modernize our electoral system and adopt a new system that will ensure the Ontario legislature more closely resembles how people actually voted.

All the alleged flaws that pro-status quo supporters point to under MMP already exist under our current system. Except under MMP, we would have a legislature that resembles how the people actually voted and legislation passed would be supported by parties with over 50% support from the people.

Very soon, Liberals For MMP will be releasing our Manifesto, which will explain in greater detail why we support Mixed Member Proportional, and will include proposals on how the Ontario Liberal Party should choose its province-wide candidates should MMP pass. We'll email you a copy of our Manifesto when it's completed.

Voting down the Citizens' Assembly recommendation for change in this referendum will halt the cause of electoral reform for the next generation, which of course serves those who love the status quo just fine.

We want a better, fairer, more representative democracy for Ontario.

Dalton McGuinty did the right thing by promising a Citizens' Assembly to examine the province's electoral system. Now voters have the opportunity to vote on the Citizen's Assembly recommendation on October 10th, fulfilling the Liberal promise to put democracy in the hands of the people.

As we are a grassroots movement in the party, we've been given no access to party emails. If you could do us the favour of forwarding this email and the link to our website to all of your local members, we'd greatly appreciate it.

We'd also like to know if you support MMP. Please get in touch with us at votemmp@liberalsformmp.ca.

Matt Guerin
Chair of Liberals For MMP

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