Thursday, October 4, 2007

NEWS RELEASE: Bi-partisan campaign to ask Ontario voters to choose Mixed Member Proportional (MMP)

For Immediate Release: Thursday, October 4th, 2007

Bi-partisan campaign to ask Ontario voters to choose Mixed Member Proportional (MMP); Conservatives and Liberals now working together on electoral reform

(Toronto) While each of Ontario's political parties are campaigning against each other for votes over the last week of the provincial election, members from both the Conservative and Liberal parties are campaigning together for the first time to ask voters to choose Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) when casting their ballots on electoral reform October 10th.

"More Ontario youth are voting for Canadian Idol than they do for candidates in either the federal or provincial elections," says Toronto school trustee and Liberal, Josh Matlow, "Under our current system, too many Ontarians simply don't believe their vote makes a difference. I'm hopeful that MMP will contribute to ending voter cynicism and make our democracy more accessible to the diverse priorities of Ontarians."

"Adopting MMP would help introduce a degree of stability to the electoral process where swings in party support would be more moderate and in line with the overall popular vote," says Patrick Boyer, former Progressive Conservative MP (Etobicoke-Lakeshore). "Discuss it with family members, and friends; make your feelings known on this issue to them."

If Ontarians choose the proposed Mixed Member Proportional system, voters will continue to be represented in local constituencies by 90 representatives. Ontarians will also benefit from an additional 39 representatives elected province-wide. Although the Citizens' Assembly recommended leaving it up to individual parties to decide how to nominate their province-wide candidates, all four major parties have already committed to choosing their list candidates in a democratic and transparent way.

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For more information, please contact:
Josh Matlow (Liberal) at (416) 809-5674 cell.
Patrick Boyer (Conservative) (416) 225-3930

Backgrounder:

The Citizens' Assembly was a group of 103 randomly-selected citizens from the Permanent Register of Electors for Ontario - one from each of Ontario's electoral districts. With the Chair, George Thomson, 52 of the members were male and 52 were female. They were asked to assess Ontario's electoral system, and others, and make a recommendation whether Ontario should retain its current system or adopt a different one.

Together, Assembly members consulted with the public through meetings and written submissions. Using what they learned and heard, they recommended that Ontario replace its First-Past-The-Post system with a new electoral system, the Mixed Member Proportional system now before Ontario voters. That recommendation was outlined in a report submitted to the government on May 15, 2007.

The government promised to put the question of whether to accept the Assembly's recommendation to voters in a province-wide referendum in October 2007.

Liberal members launched this Liberals For MMP blog during the summer of 2007 and have thus far received over 8,000 visits, averaging over 300 to 400 hits a day. Liberal supporters of MMP include:

- Dr. Carolyn Bennett, Liberal MP for St. Paul's
- Michael Bryant, Attorney General and MPP for St. Paul's
- Elinor Caplan, former provincial and federal Liberal cabinet minister
- Steve Fishman, Ontario Liberal candidate in Simcoe-Grey
- John Gerretsen, Minister of Municipal Affairs & Housing and MPP for Kingston & the Islands
- Selwyn Hicks, Ontario Liberal candidate in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound
- Kate Holloway, Ontario Liberal candidate in Trinity-Spadina
- Ted McMeekin, MPP for Ancaster-Dundas- Flamborough-Westdale
- Dr. Shafiq Qaadri, MPP for Etobicoke North
- Bob Rae, federal Liberal candidate in Toronto Centre
- Tony Ruprecht, MPP for Davenport
- George Smitherman, Minister of Health & Long-term Care and MPP for Toronto Centre
- Ian Wilson, Ontario Liberal candidate in Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox & Addington

Conservatives For MMP was launched by party member James Calder, and is supported by the following well-known supporters:

- Hon. Hugh Segal, Senator (Kingston-Frontenac-Leeds)
- Hon. Janet Ecker, Former PC MPP and Cabinet Minister
- Hon. Nancy Ruth, Senator (Cluny)
- John Oostrom, Former PC MP
- Justin O'Donnell, Past President, Niagara Centre PC Association
- Patrick Boyer, Former PC MP
- Rick Anderson, President & CEO, Zip.ca and Chair of Vote For MMP

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