Friday, August 17, 2007

Vote for MMP!

I've been very busy lately with little time to blog (though as some know, and no doubt lament, still time to comment) but I wanted to write a quick post encouraging everyone in Ontario to vote for MMP in the October 10th election/referendum. It's about time we improve our electoral system, and while MMP may not be perfect, it's clearly a move in the right direction. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good (H/T to Voltaire).

I hope to blog more about this in the future, but for now:

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John M Reynolds said...

LKO, what do you think of this:

"One of the limitations of proportional representation is that it has the potential in some jurisdictions, such as Canada, to accentuate vote dilution. This is especially true if list ridings come at the expense of urban ridings. The potential fallout effect is worse representation for urban and minority populations."

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

Well, my initial response is that it is a quote from a Wikipedia page on PR generally, NOT on the specific system proposed for Ontario, and besides that, that it merely states that this is a "limitation" without explaining exactly HOW it would happen.

What does "if list ridings come at the expense of urban ridings" mean exactly??? There will be the same number of urban ridings in the system no matter what the election results hold. If there are X number of urban ridings, there are X number of urban ridings. Urban ridings don't somehow get "replaced" by list ridings (in fact, there's no such thing as a "list riding"). Furthermore, whose to say that list MPPs won't come from urban areas every bit as much as local MPPs do, maybe even more? We have no idea, at the moment, who will be on the lists, so it makes no sense to claim that urban votes could somehow be diluted by the addition of list MPPs when we have no idea whether the list MPPs are from urban or rural areas of the province.

I guess my main initial thought is how so-called 'list ridings' "come at the expense of urban ridings"???

John M Reynolds said...

Interesting thoughts. Off the top of my head here, where will the people on the lists come from? They say it will be up to the party, but that could mean each party does it differently. Apparently, they will not be able to take from those who lost their local riding. There will be two sets: those who run in local ridings and those who are on a separate list. Now there are two issues. How are they chosen for the list, and how are they chosen from the list. More generally, how important is it for the people chosen from a list to be from random parts of the province? It is supposed to be proportional after all. If there are limitations of PR in general, how certain are we that MMP does not have that limitation? What others did the Assembly consider? Why do they consider MMP the best? The Vote for MMP link does not say why. Do you have any idea?

Linuxluver said...

To John M Reynolds: Under MMP, list AND local candidates are chosen by the party according to party rules for selecting candidates. In New Zealand, this means they are democratically elected to the lists by the votes of part members prior to the election as part of the selection process. I have done this myself. I would not support a party that did not have democratic selection processes that are open and transparent. What party activist would? Who would raise money, knock on doors and whatever else only to be shut out of the most critical function a party performs: choosing its candidates for the legislature?

The 3% threshold under MMP means party leaders will have to respect their membership or risk finding a chunk have walked out and formed a new party that IS more democratic and open. The present system makes such a gesture best.

MMP is better from every angle I can see.

Having voted in 4 MMP elections in New Zealand, I'm going to seriously miss my party vote on October 10th. All I will have is one vote for one candidate in a safe LIberal seat. UNless I vote for the Liberal, I may as well not bother. If it weren't for the referendum, I probably wouldn't.

Going back to FPTP after years under MMP sucks. I've grown used to have a party vote that counts no matter what. The puny limp, useless vote that FPTP gives me is hardly worth wasting paper on. At BEST it only has value in ONE of 107 ridings.....unlike the MMP party vote that carries weight for the entire province.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...


The names of the list candidates will come from the same place that the names of the riding candidates will come from. The parties.

I don't understand why all of a sudden people have a problem with political parties determining who will run on their behalf in an election. This is how our system has worked for decades. The parties pick their candidates (through whatever process they use, which the public knows about and can judge accordingly) and then we vote.

But with MMP I essentially get TWO votes. One for my candidate preference for my local riding, and one for my party preference. This addresses one of the things about our current system that has always seemed quite strange to me, in that I'm often torn as to whether to vote for the best representative for my local riding, or for the party whose policies I most support. I'm certainly not the only one whose faced the situation where the party that I'd most prefer win power has a terrible candidate in my riding, and I'd rather another highly experienced and capable candidate from some second party represent me and my riding, but I'd rather not give his or her party my full support for their policies.

When I lived in Waterloo, my local MPP was Elizabeth Witmer, whom I've always thought was a really good MMP. I wouldn't have minded supporting her in an election over less qualified candidates, but under FPTP there's no way to convey that with my vote, consistent with my disdain for the Harris government.

With FPTP you can get that great local representation you're looking for, while still ensuring that your vote speaks for you as to your policy preference as well.

All your questions about how candidates for election are selected by political parties are entirely valid. However their also just as valid in our current FPTP system. How we determine which of the candidates become MPPs will change, but how those people become candidates, and how the parties each make those determinations is no more an issue for MMP as it is already for FPTP (Hey, look. Here's one now.)

As for the other systems the Assembly considered (STV Single Transferable Vote) and why they considered MMP best I'm not the highest authority. :-)

I'd recommend taking a look at the report of the Assembly, available on their webpage.

Believe it or not, you can also have this all explained to you by "Billy Ballot"! However, if the 27 page report doesn't give you enough detail on the proposal, and the method used by the Citizens Assembly to select it, then may I recommend the Assembly's 189 page companion report documenting the process (with an additional 73 pages of Appendices).

Rest assured that your fellow citizens were not messing around here.