Sunday, November 18, 2007

MMP would've served Ontario democracy better in 2007

Kudos to Christina Blizzard for today's article on electoral reform in the Toronto Sun.

Here's an excerpt:

"Peter MacLeod, of Queen's University's Centre for the Study of Democracy, has crunched the numbers from last month's vote and says the Legislature would look quite different had it been elected using MMP.

It is difficult to be entirely accurate in this calculation. MacLeod points out we can't say for sure how people would have directed their second vote for the party, but he estimates the Tories would have gained the most from MMP.

With 107 seats under the First Past The Post system, the Grits have 71 seats; PCs 26; NDP 10 and the Greens have none.

Under a 129-seat House under MMP, the Liberals would have dropped dramatically to 56 seats; PCs would have 41; NDP 22; Greens, 10...[But] many potential voters in this province simply sat home Oct. 10. Voter turn-out was a pathetic 52%.

"We may have voted down the referendum, but we're getting perilously close to voting down democracy too. A 52% turnout isn't much of an endorsement and yet I can't believe this is what people want," MacLeod said.

The issue of democratic renewal now seems forgotten, since Premier Dalton McGuinty dropped the democratic renewal portfolio from cabinet.

That doesn't augur well for this the democratic process. The MMP proposal...was a complex issue for voters to grasp as they also grappled with election issues.

MMP died a cruel death on election night. But at least it opened up a conversation about democracy and elections -- and how and why we vote. But when almost half of eligible voters stay home on election day, it's tough to call it democracy. The people may have spoken -- but they did so very quietly."

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