Politics - Provincial

Myths and Realities of Mixed Member Proportional

By Ben Bull
Published October 08, 2007

Wednesday is election day. Who to vote for is one thing but what are we to do about the referendum on Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) representation?

I must admit I've to'd and fro'd on this one. Improved representation by smaller parties sounds good, but what to make of the extra 29 MPPs this new system would require? And who, exactly, would they represent?

NOW magazine has a useful little brief on the proposed Proportional Representation scheme. Among the many MMP myths it deals with:

  • MYTH: MMP will foster extremist parties whose nasty policies could be adopted by bigger parties in exchange for support.
  • REALITY: Small parties out of step with the public's thinking will remain small and uninfluential in perpetuity.

    Any major party seeking support from a tinier one by adopting an unseemly policy will be punished by voters.
  • MYTH: The increased number of seats in the legislature from 103 to 129 will put an unnecessary burden on taxpayers.
  • REALITY: MMP will merely restore the legislature to its size in the 1990s.
  • MYTH: MMP will lead to chaotic legislative gridlock thanks to consistently weak minority governments.
  • REALITY: Under MMP, parties know they'll gain no more or fewer seats than deserved, so they'll need to find coalition partners and work within a culture of negotiation and compromise. Most Western democracies moved to PR in the last century.

It's a quick read and certainly pro-MMP, but it may just give you the help you need to make this important decision.

Ben Bull lives in downtown Toronto. He's been working on a book of short stories for about 10 years now and hopes to be finished tomorrow. He also has a movie blog.


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By rusty (registered) - website | Posted October 08, 2007 at 15:54:58

The citizens assembly website also has some useful info on MMP:


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By Genghis (anonymous) | Posted October 09, 2007 at 14:36:53

I dont think it is a myth that fringe parties have no influence in tipping ht ebalance behind the scences in backroom deals.

Look at the NDP or more accuratly, the Greens.They could be considered a fringe party as they have never Governed but Jack Layton has used extortion in the past to further his ends...Always a bridesmaid never the Bride.

MMP I can see making Ontario look like the Italian Senate or Israeli Knesset.Not that I am against it, but get prepared for deal making galore behind the publics back by all these types of disenfranchised parties wanting thier way.

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