Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform got it right: Ontario voters urged to go directly to the source for the facts

Media urged to print text of "One Ballot, Two Votes"

TORONTO, Oct. 3 /CNW/ - Today, the VoteForMMP.ca campaign and several prominent Ontarians from differing political backgrounds backed a Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform call to Ontarians to take charge of their own learning process for the upcoming referendum. The group also called on the Ontario media to step forward and provide more substantive information on the Citizens' Assembly's proposal for electoral reform.

Joining Catherine Baquero, Patrick Heenan and other members of the Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform on the steps of the Ontario Legislature were:

- Rick Anderson, Campaign Chair, VoteforMMP.ca
- Ed Broadbent, former NDP leader
- Bob Rae, former Premier of Ontario
- Senator Hugh Segal
- Jim Harris, former leader, Green Party of Canada
- Rosemary Speirs, Co-founder, Equal Voice
- Kate Holloway, Liberal candidate, Trinity-Spadina

"We urge all Ontarians to take personal responsibility for casting an informed vote on the proposed mixed member proportional (MMP) voting system in the Ontario 10 electoral reform referendum," said Anderson. "Elections Ontario's information campaign does not adequately inform voters why the Ontario Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform - after eight months of work - recommended the MMP system. We strongly urge all Ontarians to go right to the source - www.citizensassembly.gov.on.ca - and learn why this Assembly of 103 Ontario voters, from all backgrounds, all regions of the province and with no axe to grind, proposed MMP as best for Ontario."

Media coverage on how and why the Assembly proposed the new system has been lacking.

"Unfortunately, instead of informed public discussion, we're seeing extensive misinformation being presented as fact, and emotional debate crowding out thoughtful learning and deliberation," said Anderson.

"Before this referendum is held on October 10, at the very least, every voter should have read Citizens' Assembly's summary leaflet "One Ballot, Two Votes". The content of that leaflet - explaining why the Assembly chose MMP - has information not being provided by Elections Ontario," said Anderson. "Today we are calling on Ontario's media to make an extraordinary commitment to fill that gap. We are calling on every daily and community paper to print the contents of this 800 word leaflet from the Citizens' Assembly so that everyone who casts a vote on October 10 has had opportunity to read exactly what the Assembly recommended and why."

Anderson stated that those who have more time should read the full 27 page report from the Citizens' Assembly, available at www.citizensassembly.gov.on.ca.

VoteforMMP.ca is a multi-partisan citizens' campaign supporting the mixed member proportional (MMP) voting system proposed by the Ontario Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform.

For further information: Larry Gordon, (647) 519-7585 or larry.gordon@fairvote.ca; Rick Anderson, Campaign Chair, VoteForMMP.ca, rick@asci.ca, www.VoteForMMP.ca

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