Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Is The Liberal Government Secretly Supporting Mixed Member Proportional?
There has been an interesting peculiarity to the referendum on the mixed member proportional (MMP) system that has had my attention since the beginning. Namely, that there is no referendum on MMP. Instead, the question gives you a choice between first-past-the-post and mixed member proportional (the question is reproduced verbatim in the poll to the left). That is highly unusual. The only Act in Ontario that gives reference to how a referendum should be worded is found in the Municipal Elections Act:
"It shall be capable of being answered in the affirmative or the negative and the only permitted answers to the question are 'yes' or 'no'."
That is very clear ... and very common. How many times have you seen an advertisement on American television during their elections stating something like, "Vote YES on proposition 33." The no side in this debate clearly has an advantage in framing the debate into a yes/no question (see: Victory for "No" Side?). But the reverse is also true. So why did the Liberals frame the context of the debate in a way that gives mixed member proportional an advantage when that context is not the standard? Could it be they have been the victims of the current system far more than the victors? Perhaps MMP for the Liberals stands for: More Members from our Party.