Friday, September 28, 2007

The other big issue in the October election - Updated with great link

Update: This is a fantastic piece by Peter Woolstencroft et al from the University of Waterloo - Electoral System Change a Risky Move.

I hope to examine this more thoroughly in the days to come, but please feel free to comment here.

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Ian Urquhart reminds us to pay attention to the October referendum issue - that MMP could become law if we're not careful. (How MMP could sneak to victory).

One thing for sure - If MMP gets in, there's no turning back.

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Part 2 - Why I'm Voting against MMP (Star)


Anonymous said...

A pretty good article.

I like the line that voters will be voting in ignorance.

No kidding...on two fronts if they vote McGuinty back in.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Anon - Well said.

wayward son said...

"Here, if MMP were adopted as our electoral system, one could easily envisage the emergence of parties based on ethnicity or on geography (a Toronto secessionist party, say, or a northern party)."

Yeah, good call Ian. A party needs about 150,000 votes to hit the 3% threshold. So lets take a look at that scary northern party. Well there are 9 northern ridings with 1 million people total. Many of them are not old enough to vote, and like everywhere else about 55 - 60% of those eligible to vote do. So in 2003 there were about 300,000 total votes in the 9 northern ridings. To qualify to achieve a seat through PR they would need half of those 300,000 votes. Very unlikely. But wait a second, if a northern party achieved that PR threshold of 150,000 votes, they would have probably won every representative seat in the north. So actually Ian these regional parties you so fear damaging the province through PR would actually be punished by PR as the system would leave the northern party winning the seats by FPTP and the MPP seats would be distributed to the other mainstream parties in this case.

So you got things 100% wrong. Good job at scare mongering though Ian and doing your best to keep people locked in a system where there votes mean nothing.

Swift said...

Any "northern party" would have a platform that would be attractive to many in eastern and central Ontario. Instead of running candidates in just nine ridings they would be running candidates in over twenty. Perhaps even more if the platform contained certain items. This would mean the party would not need to win any riding to get seats in the legislature.

A regional party would, however, need to get a significant percentage of the votes in that region. Not so for a single issue party. A single issue party need not get more than five or six percent of the vote in any riding to elect MPs under MMP. Over ninety percent of the voters could be against the issue, yet this party could hold the balance of power. Get more than one or two single issue parties in the legislature and it becomes highly unlikely that a government can be formed without the support of at least one of them. With a special interest party there is only one way to buy their support. MMP is a way for small minorities to impose their idea on the rest of us. Ideas that are non starters in a FPTP system because there is not enough support for them to have any broadbased party include them in their platform.

Greg said...

Swift, read Coyne's latest for his rebuttal of your position.

Anonymous said...

I know it is a bit off topic for the upcoming Ontario referendum, but in 2009 I will be voting in favor of the BC-STV electoral model. All votes count, it is a preferential ballot, there would be multi-representatives for each district, and “politically” I can become more engaged in the process – strategic voting, party slates etc. The Electoral Boundaries Commission recommended that in my district there would be 6 candidates elected by about 300000 voters. This gives me huge choice to consider the party slate, mix and match parties, independent candidates. I find the process to be better for me as an individual voter than the FPTP system currently used.

Good luck Ontario in your referendum, and by the way I would not vote for your version of MMP – too much power in the hands of the parties thru the list selections.

West Coast Teddi

Swift said...

Greg, if Coyne doesn't think Communists are not extremists that's his opinion. But I have a different opinion. They no longer call themselves communist, bad PR after the dismemberment of the Russian empire, however that's what they are. In the case of Germany that is particularilly easy to see, as many of the faces and names are the same.

Coyne's cavalier dismissal of Italy and Isreal as not being relavent to Ontario is a big mistake. Ontario may not be as badly divided now as he claims that these two countries are, but can he guarantee it never will be? Of course not. And MMP will do nothing to prevent such a division. In fact it promotes it.

A disfunctional government, such as Italy has had for most of the time since 1945 is a disaster. A better system than MMP would be to keep the current 107 ridings and divide 36 seats among the parties according to their vote totals. Thereb would be no make up seats because some party got "too many seats" in the FPTP section of the election.

However this alternative does not adress one of the biggest disadvantages of MMP. The list candidates are not responsible to the voters, they are responsible to the party. Both Joanne and myself have met a federal Conservative Cabinet Minister who resigned rather rhan support a government bill. He is still a member of the party, unlike the Liberal who voted for the budget and was kicked out of the party because of it. In the next election the voters of their respective ridings have the chance to reelect both. List members are tied to the party, any sign of independence is political suicide.

Another problem with MMP is that an important part of an member elected for a riding is to help their constituants deal with the government. What you don't know can cost you a lot. And hiring a lawyer who does know will cost you a lot. With MMP there will be 17 fewer offices doing this important work. There have been politicians that have lost there seats because of doing a poor job in this area. Will the list MP's get a smaller pay check because they have no riding responsibilities? Sure they will.