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Proportional Representation gets a big boost in Ontario

I just read this excellent news over at DemocraticSPACE.com that the Ontario Citizens’ Assembly overwhelmingly chose Mixed-Member Proportional representation as the model of choice to use to reform Ontario’s way of voting members in. They have to design the model first, and then resubmit it and re-vote again to see if they prefer that or the current FPTP (First Past The Post) system, but its almost a sure bet they will pick the Mixed-Member PR model.

If Ontario or another province or 2 can get a MM-PR model in place.. it will put extra pressure on the Federal Government – or the parties wanting to be the Federal Government – to show that they are for democratic reform as well. In fact, a major party trying to find an alternative to Harper’s proposed half-reform of the Senate would do well to seize the moment and use this to promote where the real democratic reform should be taking place – which is a PR model for the House. One wonders though if any of the major Party bosses have any initiative or daring to advocate such a reformist proposal.

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8 comments to Proportional Representation gets a big boost in Ontario

  • eeid

    Miles,

    This is what Harper’s so-called democratic reforms seem to support. Possible alternative voting for the house and STV for the Senate.

  • My only concern is due to Canada’s size that the present ridings be maintained since in rural areas, having a local representative is absolutely critical. I think another idea to consider federally is to use the Australian model if having the House of Commons elected as it is, but the Senate elected using PR. So you would vote for who you want to represent you locally then which party you want to govern.

  • They decided MMP, huh? I’d say that’s a better choice than the STV that they tried to pass here in BC.

    The STV that they proposed would have created massive super-ridings in BC’s north (cutting local representation) that, get this, would not have been proportional.

    Not to mention that BC-STV was so complex that it confused a lot of my political science professors (and me, even after a lot of research on the subject).

    MMP seems to be a better system all around in ensuring proportionality and local representation. Hopefully it will improve gender representation too.

    I hope that success in Ontario will convince BC to throw STV in the garbage, where it belongs.

  • New Zealand’s MMP system has flaws. First and foremost, there are no regions. Unlike Ontario, where we would have local and regional MPPs, in NZ, they have local and “list” MPs. The list MPs are not tied to any particular area, which weakens accountability. And since the list MPs are nation-wide, they can’t have open lists (i.e. the ability to actually select who the list MPs are). Neither of these features would be a part of Ontario’s MMP. Ontario’s will be more like Scotland’s or Germany’s, but even then it won’t be exactly like either.

  • I don’t think anyone has ever advocated straight PR, Lizt. By the way, If Martin was interested, he never showed it – his democratic reform minister was always taking the go slow route, as in “go slow so nothing changes”.

    As for New Zealand, you keep repeating that over and over about them not liking it but I dont think we’ll know what happens here till we try a model, and we can always tweak it if need be.

    Myself, I prefer the Globe and Mail’s Mixed Member-PR Model that they published in May 2004. I know
    Idealistic Pragmatist disagrees and has her own preference.. but the point is.. straight PR isnt an option for most of us who advocate a form of it. Greg Morrow also prefers MM-PR.. though I haven been to his site yet at the link where he points to, to see exactly what form of MM-PR he likes.

  • I think Paul Martin was interested in a mixed type of PR. I don’t think a country this big would well with straight PR, as we would begin to look like Italy, with so many parties. We write to friends in New Zealand, and they hate it, saying it doesn’t work properly and that not as many things get done.

  • Whooee! Sounds good, so far. Do we know what sort of process it goes through after the Citizen’s assembly makes a recommendation. I’m assuming we’ll have a referendum pitting th enew plan versus the status quo as they did in BC. In BC, reform was hobbled by a 60% threshold for passage. Their proposal got 57%, if I recall correctly, and died.

    The problem cited in BC, was that the voters chose what they knew over what seemed like a complicated new system. The same thing could happen here. The pro-PR side will need to get out the vote, eventually, and that will require a lot of educating the public (i.e. expense.)

    JB

  • I also think the Citizens’ Assembly is itself a great concept. I’ve been watching it with interest. Real democracy requires as much participation from citizens as possible.

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