Friday, August 3, 2007

Mixed Member Proportional Not Good For Rural Ontario

Under the current system, if a political party can get more than 50% of the vote in any riding in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) it does not produce any more Members of Parliament (MPPs) for that party. That is because each riding only elects one MPP. Therefore, a political party in that situation would shift its attention to other ridings in order to gather support. That is the essence of the first-past-the-post system.

However, that is not true with the additional 22 'list' MPPs that the proposed system will create. There will be much more emphasis on vote rich GTA because now every vote, even in a riding where you have more than 50% of the vote, brings you closer to an additional MPP. And that is one of the cons of the mixed member proportional system (MMP) - and it is a big negative for democracy.

Moving towards a MMP system will not be good for rural Ontario.

2 comments:

Wilf Day said...

For a contrary view, here's a comment by Grant Robertson, a National Board Member of the Farmers Union:

"I have often felt one of the biggest contributors to the causes of the growing political irrelevance of rural and small town Ontario was Mike Harris' Fewer Politicians Act.

It was an easy thing to suggest; who wouldn't be in favour of a few less? The problem was that it was in primarily rural areas that ridings were joined together. It used to be you had to have a coherent platform on rural/small town issues to win enough of those seats to become government. Now you can safely ignore those areas and focus on urban Ontario.

The Ontario Citizens Assembly on Electoral Reform, average citizens all, has learned more about how we vote and create government than most of us will ever want to know.

They have recommended a new system called mixed member proportional that we will vote on in a referendum during the October provincial election. It provides a solution to the reduced interest by political parties in rural/small town Ontario.

Under this system we will get to vote in our own ridings for our local member, but also vote for a party as well (they need not be the same). Parties will provide a list of prospective candidates and any discrepancy between the number of seats won in local ridings and the total number of votes will be made up by individuals from these lists.

Parties that are serious about wanting to win government will provide a list that is far more representative of the province than our current MPPs are.

Parties will have to make sure that candidates with a strong understanding of rural/small town issues are high up on the list. Whereas now parties can ignore those voters, in the proposed system they will lose seats to parties that can capture votes in these areas. It is the best way to ensure that the issues of farmers and their neighbours finally make it back onto the political agenda."

http://www.londontopic.ca/article.php?artid=3689

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