Monday, August 13, 2007

Still on the fence on MMP

But Calgary Grit may have just pushed me over to the 'no' side.


* * * *

Update: 'Gauntlet' makes a great comment at CG's (3:07 PM):

Here's how I look at MMP - it's like patching a hole in a sinking ship with a poisonous goop.

You're solving one serious problem and giving yourself another one...
He then goes on to make some great points. This one gives me even more reason to stay on the 'No' side:

The serious problem with the existing system is the massive disproportionality of the results. MMP solves that problem more or less effectively. In exchange, though, you have to get a large number of individuals in legislative roles who were put there through internal party mechanisms that are not open to public participation and are lacking in transparency.
He says that's not democratic.

25 comments:

PGP said...

If the idea of adopting one of the practices of some of the most screwed up nations on earth is appealing to anyone I'd suggest that someone needs to give their head a shake.
The simplistic view of MMP is that it provides a more democratic representation.
The reality is that it removes the right of communities to decide who will represent them.
Another reality is that this is a straw man issue that the current bunch of clowns in Queen's Park hope will distract the public from the real issue of their incompetence and unfitness to govern.

Kingston said...

I have no idea how to vote on this issue, will have to do a lot more reading on it, but I am not comfortable with people being in the House/Legislature without being directly voted on, what is to stop these members on the list from being ministers. What is to stop an obviously unpopular candidate from not running and just going to list and being reappointed when there was never a chance of him being elected.

valiantmauz said...

I'm voting yes to MMP. I'm tired of merry-go-round quasi-dictatorships, be they Liberal or Conservative, where one party with 40% of the vote gets to lord it over the 60% who didn't vote for them for four to five years. That's insane.

Dustin Leath said...

Hey,

Just found this on John Tory’s campaign site. Looks like he’s taking the Hillary Clinton Theme Song Contest and put a bit of a twist on it.

I think this is hilarious, thought you may like it too.

http://www.leadershipmatters.ca/

More info on the contest here:

http://www.leadershipmatters.ca/takeaction/daltonssong/

And if you haven’t already - check out my blog at: http://www.speakontario.blogspot.com/

wayward son said...

This might cheer you up Joanne. MMP would have virtually ensured that Bob Rae would have never had control over Ontario. He got a majority with about 37% of the vote and much of that vote was people parking their votes in protest with the NDP as they didn't want to vote for the Liberals who they found arrogant or the PCs of which they didn't connect with the very new leader (Mike Harris) who ran a poor campaign and was abrasive. With MMP more choice should develop and people who don't want to vote for the Liberals or Conservatives will have other options than just the NDP.

pgp - "The reality is that it removes the right of communities to decide who will represent them."

Yes is straight PR, but not with MMP. Every riding will have a representative. Those extra non-riding representatives would also represent those who do not feel represented by the candidate elected in their riding. For example lets say that we had MMP federally in 1993. Remember that the Liberals won every Ontario riding but 2 (I think) with 52% of the vote. With MMP all of those mixed seats would go to parties other than Liberals and the 48% of the voters who had no representation in Ontario would now have a say in their government.

kingston - "what is to stop these members on the list from being ministers."

Nothing stops people from being ministers right now that have not been elected in a riding. Remember a year and a half ago with a person from Quebec (can't remember his name at the moment) was appointed to the senate so he could be made a minister? Brian Tobin was also given the position of Minister of Industry in 2000, despite not having a seat. That is two cases in just the last 7 years.

But your point, kingston, is of course that there is nothing stopping a party from putting an unpopular candidate at the top of their list almost assuring their perpetual reelection. True there is nothing to stop a party from doing so, but the New Zealand experience has shown that parties that do such a thing have been severely punished by voters in the next election.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Good points on both sides.

My concern is how the vast majority of the electorate will view this referendum.

We here are obviously making a great effort to understand and weigh the implications. What will most people do? Will they care? Will they bother voting? Will they just close their eyes and see where the pencil lands?

Anonymous said...

We survived Bob Rae. Hopefully Ontario will never be that stupid again.

MMP will ensure us a future of Bob Rae-like government. Mediocre left-wing government pandering.

NO THANK YOU

johndoe124 said...

Is it possible that Rae could have formed a coalition with the Liberals and still manifested his madness on Ontario? The current system has its faults but I think that at least we occasionally get a whiff of the right side of the fence. With MMP I fear it's going to be statism forever.

wayward son said...

anon and johndoe124,

You both seem to believe that the Conservatives can only wield power through the flaw in our current system which allows parties with <40% dictatoral power.

1) I disagree and I believe that MMP will lead to more stable central in idealogy governments and stop parties from the extremes from wrecking havoc. Do you think it was good for the economy and the long term outlook and planning of major corporations to go from extreme to extreme as we did in the 90s? I doubt it.

2) If you do beleive that it a good thing to have governments with complete power despite 60% or greater of the voters opposing it, then I have as much disdain for your beliefs as I do of those I know from Saskatchewan who prefer first-past-the-post, provincially (but not federally) because it allowed the NDP to control the province for decades with the support of the minority. Yes the system was good was the NDP, but it was not good for Saskatchewan or the majority of its residents who had no say.

wayward son said...

"My concern is how the vast majority of the electorate will view this referendum."

If the vote in BC is any indication, the majority of the voters will have no idea what electoral reform is on voting day.

Moebius said...

Joanne,

MMP may be a good thing, or a bad thing, but the chances of it passing are not particularly great.

Political bloggers have a reasonable awareness of what's up, but the average "person on the street" has no clue. I asked one of my colleagues to name who the leaders of the three federal parties are. Harper & McGuinty were mentioned, but no Dion, or Layton. So, the PM and the provincial leader are known, the others not so well.

A lot of people just don't care about politics, and we, who spend a lot of time on political blogs, forget this fact.

Can you imagine trying to explain FPP or MMP to them? Watch the eyes glaze over.

Moebius said...

I should also say, knowing that several Libs are against it, that it must be a good thing.

Anonymous said...

I'm just sorry that you have no faith in your own Progressive Conservative Party in developing a democratic process for selecting list candidates under MMP by the members of the party. I have that faith which is why I am supporting MMP.

Michael B.

Moebius said...

Hey, Michael,

You don't have to have faith in only the Conservatives to develop a democratic process, but in all other parties.

Is that comforting, or not?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

I should also say, knowing that several Libs are against it, that it must be a good thing.

Moebius, that's what I'm thinking. ;)

Although Jason Cherniak is against. Go figure.

I'm just sorry that you have no faith in your own Progressive Conservative Party...

Michael, I'm actually not a member of any provincial party.

Having said that, I'll probably hold my nose and vote PC.

johndoe124 said...

If elected MMPs do behave in a dictatorial manner is that a problem with the system or is that a problem with the politicians?

I don't know enough about MMP to discuss it intelligently. But I do know that I have a deep distrust of Liberals and NDP so any system that will facilitate entrenching their style of governing is worrisome.

And why is a centralized ideology a good thing? Why should I assume that that's what is best for me and my province? What does a "central ideology" mean? Does it mean we'll never experiment with bold new ideas? Maybe there's something to be said for some of the policies that would never see the light of day in a central ideology. Maybe we need those extremes occasionally so that we don't end up as a society whose only problem solutions are banning and registries.

Cool Blue said...

Here is a good site which explains the downside of MMP:

http://www.nommp.ca/faq.cgi

All I gotta say is MMP is the ONLY reason why there are Neo-Nazis in the German legislature.

MMP gives a poltical voice, public funding and a degree of power to extremist parties.

You wanna see an Pro-Sharia law party in Queens Park? With MMP it will come.

Moebius said...

Joanne,

JC's blog is a goldmine for the CPC in the next election. I suspect they're saving some of his comments in a vault.

Having someone associated with the Lib leader calling the other leader an "asshole" repeatly can't be good optics.

They have enough problems with their moles.

cb,

If fundy Christians or Pro-Sharia folks get representation in proportion with their population, that's democracy. We already give seat to the NDP, arguably pro-Socialism, and the majority of Canadians disagree with them.

johndoe124 said...

"If fundy Christians or Pro-Sharia folks get representation in proportion with their population, that's democracy" and thereby gaining influence in the laws of this country and, perhaps, selling their support in return for what, exactly?

FFP isn't perfect democracy but maybe that imperfection has the benefit of keeping fringe parties out of the system.

SouthernOntarioan said...

MMP would entrench a system of perpetual minorities, which may or may not be a bad thing. It means that no one party could conceiveably control power and wield it like a club with which to bash the other parties.

But it also means, as others have pointed out, that compromises with smaller, extremely radical parties may be made.

But I think in the history of countries where PR is practiced has shown that political parties are very pragmatic when it comes to who they put on party lists and who they make coalitions with. Because they still have to face the polls eventually and their decisions will haunt them then.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

MMP would entrench a system of perpetual minorities, which may or may not be a bad thing. It means that no one party could conceiveably control power and wield it like a club with which to bash the other parties.

S.O., that was the one point that made me move towards the 'Yes' side originally.

I'm concerned about the increasing possibility of 'side-deals' with groups supporting, let's say, Sharia law or something. To me this is a huge concern.

Greg said...

Calgary Grit is trying to sucker conservatives into voting against MMP in order to aid the Liberal Party of Ontario. Liberals like CG and Cherniak are working to defeat MMP because they think the Liberals have a pretty good shot at total power using FPTP. Don't fall for the propaganda.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Greg, yes. That thought had occurred to me.

So, therefore if you're supporting the Conservative party for example, best to vote 'Yes'? What about if you're NDP?

Greg said...

To me it is more about democracy than anything else. Strange as it may sound coming from a lefty, I think MMP will open up the marketplace of ideas in our politics, too long dominated by constipated, self-satisfied elites. I would love to see more competition for votes by other voices in our population. MMP at least holds this out as a possibility. We shouldn't be afraid to build a legislature that is more reflective of our province.

So, if for example a libertarian party rises up and gets past the threshold, I don't see that as a threat, I see that as democracy. The only ones who see it as a threat are those who have a vested interest in things the way they are now.

Anonymous said...

I'd agree how did you ever get a system that included party hacks. I thought you had a citizen's assembly? or was it imposed by the politicians? I might vote for B.C.'s system which would mean perpetual minority governments, but at least no hacks: http://www.citizensassembly.bc.ca/resources/deliberation/BCSTV-FactSheet.pdf