Sunday, October 7, 2007

Why our fabled democracy needs a tune-up

The Toronto Star printed this article today by Dennis Pilon, an expert on voting systems at the University of Victoria.

Here's an excerpt:

"The proportional representation system that Ontarians have an opportunity to approve during the Oct. 10 referendum is simple, modest, and addresses many of the major problems with contemporary Ontario democracy that have long been identified by academics and political commentators from right to left. Imagine more accurate election tallies, a more competitive political environment where every vote would count for something, and better representation of Ontario's diversity. These are not hypothetical possibilities, but the actual experience of countries similar to Canada that have proportional representation, as documented in a considerable body of academic research.

"Opponents of the proposed mixed member system (combining local representatives with representation reflecting a party's overall vote) say it may come at the cost of local representation, individual MPP accountability, and political centrism.

"I maintain the defence of the political status quo hinges on a set of myths and false assumptions. I would like to systematically debunk three key fables about our current, first-past-the-post system: local representation, the role of parties in different voting systems, and alleged instability of the MMP alternative..."

To read more, click here.

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