Under the proposed Mixed Member Proportional system, Ontarians will continue to be represented in local constituencies by 90 representatives. Ontarians will also benefit from an additional 39 representatives elected province-wide. The Citizens' Assembly recommended leaving it up to individual parties to decide how to nominate their province-wide candidates.
This one provision has been attacked by supporters of our existing, antiquated system as a flaw, many claiming that parties will abuse it by nominating backroom cronies and bagmen to their lists.
This argument is inherently illogical.
More than likely, parties will wish to nominate province-wide candidates who will help increase their appeal to the broader public. To do this, parties will likely nominate candidates to their list from every region of the province, balancing rural and urban nominees and ensuring Ontario's rich diversity is reflected. Each party will be required to report to Elections Ontario how they selected their province-wide lists long before the election takes place, creating greater public scrutiny and accountability. Voters will know who the party nominated on its team of candidates before they vote. If voters dislike either the process the party undertook to choose its candidates, or the candidates themselves, they can vote against that party.
Backroom cronies rarely make popular election candidates. Parties could easily nominate such backroom cronies or bagmen now, but they don't. That won't change just because our voting system changes. It's foolhardy to suggest a political party would deliberately alienate voters by nominating a high-profile, province-wide list filled with backroom cronies or friends of the leader.
Parties are vote-winning machines, not vote-losing machines. Why would a political party nominate backroom cronies to a high-profile province-wide list and undermine its support at election time? It makes no sense.