Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Why Backroom Cronies Won't Make It Onto Province-Wide Candidate Lists

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.


Anonymous said...

jamie carroll has been got quit as national director of the party

Lizt. said...

What on earth does Jammie Carrol have to do with this subject?

SteelCityGrit said...

Jamie Carroll does actually relate. He personifies the problem. Party leaders do surround themselves with friends as they are able, even when it doesn't make immediate electoral sense. To achieve leadership is to become beholden to many, many people. Riding associations resist encroachments from the central leadership; no similar bodies would exist to resist the machinations of the party elite when forming these lists.

Let's get off this "makes no sense" business because it does nothing for the discourse. I'm functionally neutral but I'm trying to come to grips with some very logical concerns. The ordering of the list is critical. If you are a list member who votes on conscience against your leader, are you going to end up at the bottom or top of the list come election time? Precedence would very strongly suggest you would end up at the bottom.

Matt Guerin said...

Steel City, Jamie Carroll was staff, not a candidate (and likely won't be.) Sure party leaders owe favours once they're elected. But that doesn't mean backroom cronies will still get nominated in ridings or on province-wide lists. Only people who help broaden the appeal of parties will be nominated. See statement above from Don Guy that the Ontario Liberal Party will choose its province-wide candidates using democratic and transparent means. This issue seems to now be settled for the best.