By Ryan McGreal
Published August 30, 2007
Canadian Policy Research Networks and Ryerson University have published a summary of a recent panel discussion [PDF] on the upcoming referendum to change Ontario's voting system.
Titled "Getting Ready for the Referendum: Food for Thought", the report does a great job of outlining the implications of a switch from today's first-past-the-post electoral system to a Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) system with a 70/30 split (90 seats and 39 seats) between geographic constituency representation and proportional representation.
The Ontario Government created the Ontario Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform a few years ago and randomly selected 103 voters to investigate whether and how to change the current system. They came back and recommended the MMP system.
Under the current system, a party can win a majority government with less than 50 percent of the votes. A common complaint is that some votes count more than others, and voters feel pressured to vote strategically rather than for the party they most support.
The panel discussion examined how the new system might affect public policy processes: how political parties operate, form policies, how the provincial legislature develops legislation, and so on.
Among the points raised are that:
The panel also noted that changing the electoral system alone is not enough to shift the culture of government or the parties, but that it may stimulate pressure for other needed changes.
(Thanks to Mike for sending me the link to the panel discussion.)
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