I want my MMP
An Ontario citizens’ assembly on electoral reform has come out in favour of a form of proportional representation known as mixed-member-proportional voting, or MMP. The Ontario Premier says it will be put to the people and will require a popular vote of more than 60%, which arguably makes sense for something as important as changing the voting system (though PR proponents disagree).
A similar process occurred in BC, with the assembly recommending an alternative system, single transferable vote, or STV, which failed by a narrow margin in the last provincial election, almost exactly two years ago (it got 57% of the vote, against the same threshold of 60%). The BC government says that due to the close margin, it will be put to voters again in 2008. I wrote about the vote and what’s next in CCPA’s BC Commentary publication (here).
May 15, 2007
A government-appointed panel of citizens officially recommended today that Ontario overhaul the way it elects politicians and usher in a new system that would better distribute power in the legislature.
The panel of 104 members voted to endorse the mixed member proportional voting system, which would have citizens vote twice â€“ once for a local representative and once for a party to govern the province.
Advocates say the new system would make the balance of power in the legislature better reflect the overall vote. The legislature would be made up of 90 members representing ridings and an additional 39 seats that would be distributed among parties to help ensure that popular vote numbers reflect the overall balance of power.
In the last four provincial elections, all governments won a majority while receiving less than 50 per cent of the popular vote. Last year, the Liberals won 69.9 per cent of the seats with 46.5 per cent of the vote, the Conservatives got 23.3 per cent of the seats from 34.7 per cent of the vote and the New Democrats got 6.8 per cent of the seats with 14.7 per cent of the vote.
Under the new system, parties would require at least three cent of the total vote to qualify for a list member, a limitation that was drawn up to discourage fringe political parties from clogging the legislature.
“It preserves the strong local representation of the current system and adds new elements that will increase voter choice and produce fairer election results,” the report states.