MMP in Ontario – Would the Green Tail Be Wagging the Liberal Dog?
I voted in favour of MMP (multi member proportionality) in the Ontario election yesterday, against some misgivings – notably the low threshold to gain representation – because of the clear gains – a better translation of electorate sentiment into seats, and an incentive to democratic participation. (Living in McGuintyâ€™s seat, I voted even though I knew my NDP vote was â€œwasted.â€) I was never persuaded that MMP would necessarily be of benefit to the left (although it does potentially create a space for parties to the left of the NDP.)
The main objection to MMP – that parties would dominate locally elected candidates seemed bogus to me since winning parties would get no party list members. The results confirm my view in that the winning Liberals would have got no party seats under MMP becasue of their sweep of the constituency seats . Hence any ambitious Liberal would have been nuts to have not run for a constituency seat if this election had been held under MMP.
However, and do I think this gives us pause for thought, yesterdayâ€™s results on an MMP system would – according to yesterday’s Ottawa Citizen – have given the Greens (with over 8% of the vote) 10 seats, more than enough to push the Liberals above majority status. If MMP had been in place, the Liberals would have won 60 seats, to 38 for the PCs, to 21 for the NDP, to 10 for the Greens.
I suspect the most likely outcome would have been the Green rather than the NDP tail wagging the Liberal dog – a bit of greenery and free marketry added to McGuintyâ€™s centrist formula actually pushing him to the right. Not quite what my friends had in mind when they advised me to vote for MMP. This confirms my basic belief that progressive outcomes depend far more on us winning votes than the electoral system into which they are translated into seats.