The "yes" side has issued a press release that, in part, states, "Elections Ontario's information campaign does not adequately inform voters why the Ontario Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform - after eight months of work - recommended the MMP system." However, it is not up to Elections Ontario to do a sales job for MMP. They have sent a pamphlet to every home and provided information online that more than adequately explains the mechanics of how the two systems work. They have also run television and newspaper ads making sure voters know there is a referendum this election.
They also complain that, "Media coverage on how and why the Assembly proposed the new system has been lacking." Actually, there has been an abundance of news coverage on this issue. I believe every political columnist and commentator has done an indepth coverage of this topic more than once. Really, what more could you want?
I know that one article I ran here contained two lines from the Toronto Star's editorial against MMP and the entire rebuttal from the yes side. One MMP supporter stated the article was biased. Yesterday's article mentioned that a poll showed more Canadians supported the current system than either proportional representation (PR) or a mixed proportional. MMP supporters felt that since mixed proportional is a form of PR the numbers for PR and mixed proportional should have been added together. Another comment rightly pointed out that mixed proportional, being "mixed", was also a form of first past the post (FPTP) so you could add the support for the current system with mixed proportional to show majority support for FPTP. The bottom line is that the pollster has an expertise in this area without any agenda, and yet their poll was labeled as "curious" because it wasn't more pro MMP.
One thing that becomes apparent in their press release, and has been an element of the yes side campaign, is that since a citizens' assembly overwhelmingly endorsed this there should be a presumption that this is a good proposal. That presumption has not been given to MMP. While columnists and commentators have covered this topic over and over many have dissected MMP. That's what happens.
The bottom line is that the yes side has run an excellent campaign, the best of the two sides. With the limited funds they have they should be proud of what they have done. However, one has to expect that those advocating change are going to be put under closer scrutiny than those advocating status quo. That has happened, and we have seen the warts of MMP. That does not mean it is a bad system, because we also better understand the warts of our current system. The only mistake the yes side has made throughout this campaign is that they have too often gone off message to be critical of the media and Elections Ontario. By doing so they have at times made it seem like they feel they are loosing and at other times only drawn more media coverage to the negatives of MMP - and there are negatives. They should have religiously stayed on point, without waivering.
Below is the entire release from VoteforMMP.
Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform got it right: Ontario voters urged to go directly to the source for the facts
Media urged to print text of "One Ballot - Two Votes"
TORONTO, Oct. 3 /CNW/ - Today, the VoteForMMP.ca campaign and several
prominent Ontarians from differing political backgrounds backed a Citizens'
Assembly on Electoral Reform call to Ontarians to take charge of their own
learning process for the upcoming referendum. The group also called on the
Ontario media to step forward and provide more substantive information on the
Citizens' Assembly's proposal for electoral reform.
"We urge all Ontarians to take personal responsibility for casting an
informed vote on the proposed mixed member proportional (MMP) voting system in
the Ontario 10 electoral reform referendum," said Anderson. "Elections
Ontario's information campaign does not adequately inform voters why the
Ontario Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform - after eight months of work -
recommended the MMP system. We strongly urge all Ontarians to go right to the
source - www.citizensassembly.gov.on.ca - and learn why this Assembly of
103 Ontario voters, from all backgrounds, all regions of the province and with
no axe to grind, proposed MMP as best for Ontario."
Media coverage on how and why the Assembly proposed the new system has
"Unfortunately, instead of informed public discussion, we're seeing
extensive misinformation being presented as fact, and emotional debate
crowding out thoughtful learning and deliberation," said Anderson.
"Before this referendum is held on October 10, at the very least, every
voter should have read Citizens' Assembly's summary leaflet "One Ballot - Two
Votes". The content of that leaflet - explaining why the Assembly chose MMP -
has information not being provided by Elections Ontario," said Anderson.
"Today we are calling on Ontario's media to make an extraordinary commitment
to fill that gap. We are calling on every daily and community paper to print
the contents of this 800 word leaflet from the Citizens' Assembly so that
everyone who casts a vote on October 10 has had opportunity to read exactly
what the Assembly recommended and why."
Anderson stated that those who have more time should read the full
27 page report from the Citizens' Assembly, available at
VoteforMMP.ca is a multi-partisan citizens' campaign supporting the mixed
member proportional (MMP) voting system proposed by the Ontario Citizens'
Assembly on Electoral Reform.