Saturday, September 29, 2007

Twelve reasons to vote for MMP

Twelve Reasons to Vote for
Mixed Member Proportional (MMP)
in the October 10 Electoral Reform Referendum

1. One ballot, two votes

With the MMP voting system, you cast a vote for a local candidate AND for the political party of your choice. You can vote for the best local candidate, even if you don’t like that candidate’s party, because you now have a separate vote for your preferred party – a vote that elects at-large candidates from that party.

2. More power to voters: everyone matters

Even if you don’t elect someone in your riding (and most of us don’t), your party vote will still help elect at-large candidates – meaning that every party will compete for your vote no matter where you live.

3. More choice for voters

Voters will be able to consider the larger established parties, as usual, but also a number of smaller, newer, innovative parties. As long as your preferred party receives more than 3% of the party votes, you can help elect at-large candidates.

4. No more strategic or negative voting

Many voters are trapped in ridings dominated by a party they don’t support. In those cases, you often conclude the only course is to vote for a party you don’t like to stop another party you like even less. With MMP, you can always cast an effective vote to elect at-large candidates from your preferred party.

5. Fairer results in elections

Election results are always distorted by the current system. One party may get 40% of the votes and win 60% of the seats. Another party may get 20% of the votes and no seats. MMP produces fairer results, meaning parties get only the seats and power they deserve – no more, no less.

6. No more phony majorities

Under the current system, Ontarians are often governed by a majority government that the majority actually voted against. Under MMP, majority governments can only be formed by those who were elected by a majority of voters.

7. Stronger representation

Because voters will have both riding representatives and at-large representatives, every voter will be better represented and be able to call on more than one elected official in their region for assistance.

8. More diverse representation

Proportional systems provide a foundation for the nomination and election of a more diverse range of candidates – more women and visible minorities – because parties learn that diverse lists of at-large candidates usually attract more votes.

9. More accountability to voters

A politician cannot be accountable to voters who didn’t elect her or him. Under the current system, most voters do NOT elect their riding representative and most do NOT vote for the party forming government. Under MMP, every voter helps elect someone, which strengthens accountability, and majority governments can only be formed by those representing the majority.

10. Better government and less concentration of power

Because fairer results mean a single party will seldom be able to form a majority government, MMP forces parties to negotiate and compromise, usually by forming coalition governments. This means that cabinets will often include members from more than one party, and the premier and party leaders will have to negotiate and compromise rather than dictate.

11. Citizens’ Assembly recommended MMP

The proposed MMP system is not being recommended by government or the parties. The recommendation came from the independent Ontario Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform, a body composed of 103 regular voters who studied, consulted and deliberated for eight months on the best voting system for Ontario voters. It’s a system recommended by a group of well-informed voters who chose it because it helps empower voters.

12. Old guard doesn’t like it

The status quo is jealously protected by an old guard who enjoy the way the system marginalizes most voters and concentrates power. The MMP system empowers voters, give more choice, fairer results and stronger representation – not what the old boys club wants, but what all Ontarians deserve.

This October 10th, vote for the Mixed Member Proportional voting system in Ontario's referendum.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I now support First-Past-the-Post...

...for Israel.

After hearing former Liberal MP, Sheila Copps, complain on TVO's The Agenda about all the different political parties that exist in Israel (many of them could be considered extremist), I realize that the solution for Israel is for its Knesset (parliament) to change the way Israelis vote from country-wide proportional representation to First-Past-the-Post.

Israel could be divided into 120 electoral districts. We can get into a discussion about where the boundary lines would be drawn. I'm guessing that the good Israelis living north, south, east, and west of Jerusalem would want their fair share of representation. The inhabitants of Tel Aviv would want a fair share of seats. So too would those living in Jerusalem, the eternal and undivided capital of the great State of Israel. All inhabitants (Jews and Arabs) living within Jerusalem would need to have representation; only Israelis would still be able to vote. The settlers will want their "fair" share of seats in Judea and Samaria. Who ever heard of a place called "The West Bank?"

After the electoral districts are drawn. One party could win a majority of the seats. It could be a right-wing religious party or a left-wing secular party. Anyway, there would be one party running the government.

The Arab extremists living within greater Israel and living next to the Med, Red, and Dead Seas are getting mad. They want their own sovereign state. Get this. They want to call it "Palestine." You gotta be kidding! No problemo. A one-party Israeli government presumably with 35% of the popular vote but with a majority of the seats would be able to deal with those extremists by sending in the army to crush any dissent. Except who among the other 65% would support the one-party Israeli government? If the government consisted only of right-wing religious Israelis, would that government be able to get non-right-wing but secular Israelis to participate in the military to deal with Arab extremists? Would a left-wing secular government be able to get right-wing Israelis to participate in the military?

While the Izzy-Dizzy-Israelis would be fighting among themselves if they had a First-Past-the-Post Knesset, the mostly Izzy-Islamo-Palestinians would be happy to form a parliament of national unity within the lands next to the Med, Red, and Dead Seas. This new place could be called Palestine.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Democracy's a laugh!

Vote for MMP

MMP, for you and me

MMP, for you and me,
MMP for democracy.

MMP, for you and me,
MMP for democracy.

MMP, for you and me!
MMP for democracy!

MMP, for you and me!
MMP for democracy!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Which candidates favour MMP?

Here is an updated list of candidates from their respective parties and ridings who favour, oppose, or are neutral on MMP.

If anyone knows if all the NDP candidates support MMP, let me know with proof from a weblink.

If you haven't done so, please check my polling question to the right. If you make a mistake, just click Mistake Vote.

Go to Vote for MMP after you are finished here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

David Fleet - No MMP

At the St. Lawrence Forum held at the OISE building in Toronto, David Fleet from the No MMP campaign spoke about what he thought were the drawbacks of MMP.

Fleet mentioned that not a single Eastern European country chose MMP when they moved away from communism. That is true. What he didn't say was that not one country chose his cherished but antiquated First-Past-the-Post system. These countries did choose variations of voting systems that range form very proportional to not so proportional such as Parallel Voting where voters receive two ballots--one for the local candidate and the other for the party. However, under Parallel voting, the number of local seats a party wins has no effect on the party lists seats. One important note: Eastern European democracies that have performed better economonically and are not threatened with re-occuring dictatorship use very proportional voting systems. Those countries that use less than proportional system such as Parallel voting are performing not at great economically. Their democracies are not stable.

Fleet complained about the Ontario MMP proposal not having any regional representatives. Had the Ontario Citizens' Assembly proposed regional list representation, he would found a reason to complain about regional reps. who would not be in touch with local needs.

In the beginning of Fleet's presentation, he praised the time and effort of the members on the Ontario Citizens' Assembly. His problem was that they chose and designed the wrong system for Ontario. If the right reform came about, he might consider favouring it. Except he never mentioned once the type of voting system he would favour. There are other variation of proportional representation that he could consider favouring. The problem is that David Fleet opposes proportional representation, period. Had the Assembly chosen the open lists, regional lists, the Single Transferable Vote, or some other proportional variation, he would have found reasons to oppose any of these proportional variations.

David Fleet didn't like it when the Ontario Citizens' Assembly chose MMP. Its members were selected randomly and represented a cross-section of Ontario's population. If he cannot trust the OCA members to make a decision on a voting system for Ontario. Why would he trust juries of citizens at civil and criminal trials? Why would he trust citizens to make choices when voting for candidates? Let us be thankful that we at least have the First-Past-the-Post voting system rather than an appointed assembly. If that was all we had, which would Fleet prefer? An appointed assembly of knowledgeable people or a First-Past-the-Post legislature with elected members chosen by the Plebians of Ontario?

Let the Plebes unite and vote for a better democracy by supporting the Mixed Member Proportional voting system!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Great Mixed Member Proportional Video!

I found this video on YouTube. It really got my attention.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Senator Hugh Segal's Speech about MMP

I just read Senator Hugh Segal's speech that he gave to The Empire Club of Toronto about why he is supporting the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) voting system in Ontario's referendum on October 10th. I strongly encourage you to read his speech.

Below are the first three paragraphs of Senator Segal's speech:

Repairing the Infrastructure of Democracy before it Collapses
Hon. Hugh D. Segal, C.M.Senator, Kingston-Frontenac-Leeds
Wednesday September 12, 2007

Economic Club of Toronto

I am pleased to take part in your speaker series. My topic is democracy whose core infrastructure is legitimacy. My worry is that we take its infrastructure for granted. My hope is that my presentation will underline why that is a bad thing.

This room understands better than most the relationship between corporate profits, efficiency and proper governance. You understand that legitimacy and accountability are not trivial to success and progress in business. Annual general meetings bring shareholders, directors and management together – as they are the owners and operators of any public company – and offer them the opportunity to express their views by casting their votes, votes plural, for the auditor, the board of directors and for any special resolutions requiring their approval. The right of management to manage, to spend, to invest, to innovate and plan is based on this core process of electing directors, one by one, and choosing the framework of corporate oversight and shareholder protection.

My question to you is this - why are taxpayers and voters not accorded the same rights when choosing their government’s board of directors (our parliaments), their leaders (our governments) and their representatives in what is usually the largest corporation, effecting all aspects of our lives and livelihoods? As taxpayers, we are the majority shareholders and stakeholders of the “government” corporation and also the investors - providing the necessary dollars for operational and capital expenditures. And the notion that we are prepared to “invest” our hard-earned dollars – albeit not always voluntarily – and then be hamstrung in voicing displeasure by not having the option of meaningfully changing the board of directors goes against all good common sense. But this is what our ‘first past the post’, old and hoary electoral ‘winner take all’ system actually ensures when a majority of votes are wasted in almost every riding.

Link to Senator Hugh Segal's entire speech

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Mixed Member Proportional representation parking: the MMP mobile

Whenever I park my car, I put up a couple of MMP posters behind the back seat. Note: I do take these posters down when I drive. Sorry, it's not a great photo.

Monday, September 3, 2007

A few more candidates in favour or opposed

Happy Labour Day! Either you have just come back from a Labour Day parade, shopping, or cottage country. This is probably true for most of us in Ontario. I don't know what the people in southern Saskatchewan do for weekend visits to the cottage. I know you can head north to Prince Albert, but that's a long drive.

I finally got onto Facebook under my real name and I am on the main MMP group of friends. I'm trying to figure out the etiquette for leaving messages. Long messages are not acceptable on Facebook. Short messages are. If you want to say anything longer, go to the discussion board if there is one.

I added three candidates who are either for or against Mixed Member Proportional.

Keep sending me info about who is for MMP or FPTP (or neutral or neutered).

Answer my poll question to the right side of the webpage.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Read The NDP are cowards, what should true progressives do? by Paulitics. He makes some interesting comments on which voting systems the élites support and oppose.

One does not need to be an NDP supporter to understand why certain people are opposed to MMP. Some of their names can be found on the NO MMP website.

The who opposes MMP will matter as much as what they oppose. We need to get the voters of Ontario to understand this point.

As a sidenote: please look at my poll on which voting system you support. Check the area code where you live. I'm trying to see if there are regional differences. If you make a mistake, just change your vote or click Mistake vote. Also, send me any info on candidates supporting, opposed or neutral on MMP by leaving a message in the comment sections or by emailing me at

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Prediction: Greens win more votes than other parties; Liberals win a majority of seats

I went the UBC Sauder School of Business Election Stock Market website for Ontario's 2007 election. I made a fancy prediction that 29.2% of Liberal, PC, and NDP voters in the last election decided to vote for the Green Party this time. I also assumed that all "Other" voters became Green supporters. Here's a futuristic newspaper report about a provincial election:

Last night in the province of Antiquatia, the Green Party received more popular support than any other party with 32.6% of the vote. The Liberal were very close to the Greens with 32.5%. The Green Party received 30 out of 107 seats (28.0%). The Liberal Party didn't perform as well as it only received 54 seats (50.5%)--a bare majority. This seat distribution occurred because the voters in Antiquatia massively supported changing to a new voting system called First-Past-the-Post in a referendum held four years ago. Forty percent of the voters approved First-Past-the-Post over the 60% who opposed.

What have these opponents of MMP ever proposed to improve democracy in Canada?

Here's a list of names from the NO MMP website of people opposing the Mixed Member Proportional voting system: Diane Marleau, Charles Harnick, Dwight Duncan, George W. Taylor, Bob Delaney, Tim Hudak, Mike Crawley, Senator David Smith, Doug Lewis, Ron Atkey, Gordon Walker, Scott Reid, David Fleet, John L. Parker, Allan Cutler, Sam Wakim, Joe Hueglin, Aideen Nicholson, Larry McCormick, and Brent Cameron. Most of these people are former MPs and MPPs who never offered any suggestions for improving democracy for Canadian citizens by changing the way we vote. If they do not like province-wide MMP, how about supporting regional MMP, STV, regional lists, open lists, or even parallel voting? These opponents of MMP support the status-quo antiquated First-Past-the-Post voting system in perpetuity. These mostly Liberal and Conservative supporters are not afraid of the NDP or Green Party having more power; they are afraid of the voters having more power by letting them have greater choices when voting. I do not want to have greater choice so I can just choose the NDP or Green Party; I want greater choice so I can choose among the Liberals, Conservatives, NDP, Green Party, and others. I want greater choice so I can choose the best local candidate irrespective of which party he or she may belong.

To the voters of Ontario,

The opponents of MMP are afraid of you. Don't be afraid of the opponents. Support MMP in the October 10th referendum.

The 3% Threshold

"Fringe parties who have trouble electing a single candidate will be given not one but four seats for hitting the 3% threshold of the popular vote count" - Robert White, Kitchener, ON (NO MMP website)

I like Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) voting because if 43% of the voters support a party, then that party deserves 43% of the seats. If 23% of the voters support another party, then that party deserves 23% of the seats. If 3% of the voters support a different party, then that party (and their voters) deserves 3% of the seats.

I may not like some of my opponents politically, even if they only represent three percent of the population. I want them to have fair representation in the legislature for the following reason: I want to hear from my opponents as much as I want my supporters to hear from me. Someday, my opponents may become my supporters.

I want fair representation in the Ontario legislature. I want MMP.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Why one MPP is not enough

I sent an email to my federal member of parliament. I did provide my name, city, and riding. This is the response I received from her office:

In order to serve the constituents of Don Valley East better Ms. Ratansi requires your postal address when you e-mail her. Due to the high volume of e-mails received non-constituents may not receive a reply.

Frozan Shaikhmiri
Constituency Assistant Office of Yasmin Ratansi, M.P., Don Valley East
Chair of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women
220 Duncan Mill Road Suite 211
Phone: (416) 443-0623
Fax: (416) 443-9819

I understand that a politician would like to correspond to real people living in real places. I didn't like the fact that her office assistant replied that people who provide full addresses may not receive a reply if they do not live in the constituency.

I know the above is a federal example. Voters use the same voting system to elect representatives to the federal House of Commons and Ontario Legislative Assembly. We need the Mixed Member Proportional voting system in Ontario because voters deserve greater choice and better representation. If a local constituency representative will not correspond with those of us not living within his/her constituency, then we need province-wide representatives who will.

Friday, August 24, 2007

MMP campaign has Greek, Serbian, and Tamil translations

Send me information about candidates supporting, opposing, or neutral on MMP.

It's great to see the Vote for MMP campaign having translations available in Greek, Serbian, and Tamil (sides 1 and 2) along with English and French. I'm sure the campaign organizers would love to hear from MMP supporters who can translate MMP into other languages. I did take the liberty of getting a translation done in Cockney.

MMP explained in Cockney:

It’s time ter make democracy better.

Vote for MMP

October 10ff referendum

Have yer ever voted in a ridin' that didn’t elect a candidate 'oo represented yor views?

Have yer ever voted for a knees-up yer didn’t like just ter put the mockers on a knees-up that yer liked even less?

Have yer ever avoided votin' for the Mae West local candidate because yer couldn’t support that candidate’s knees-up?

If yer said yes ter any of these questions, yor not alone. The good news is that on October 10, Ontarians will 'ave a chance ter vote in a referendum where we can choose a new provincial votin' system that will eliminate these problems.

Fairer Results

Currently, Ontario’s votin' system almost always gives one knees-up far more power than it deserves. For example, wile the winnin' knees-up might cop only 40 per cent of the votes, right, it receives 60 per cent of the bleedin' seats. This gives its leaders 100 per cent of the bleedin' power.

Because of this and uvver shortcomings of us system, right, the Ontario government recently aufforized the bloody creation of a Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform ter make a recommendation on the bloody Mae West votin' system for Ontario. After seven monffs of study, right, the Assembly, a randomly chosen array of Ontarians, right, recommended that Ontario adopt a Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) votin' system.

MMP blends the chuffin' Mae West aspects of us current system wiv features from proportional representation systems used in most Western democracies. MMP means more choice, fairer results, right, and stronger representation.

More Choice—one ballot, right, two votes

The new system will be simple and sensible. Yer will still vote for yor preferred local candidate just as yer do now. In addition, yer will also cast a second vote for yor preferred political knees-up, init? The chuffin' share of these votes that each knees-up wins will determine its overall share of seats in the legislature.

If after the bleedin' 90 ridin' seats are filled, a knees-up 'as fewer seats than its portion of the chuffin' knees-up vote, right, that knees-up wins some of the bloody additional 39 provincial (or at-large) seats ter ensure it 'as its fair share of the total seats. These at-large representatives are elected from provincial lists of candidates nominated by each knees-up in advance of the chuffin' election. Voters can judge these at-large candidates, as well as local candidates, right, and vote accordingly.

Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) will give Ontario voters the Mae West of boff worlds. Yer cop strong local representation and fair results, wiv knees-ups gainin' no more, and no fewer seats than they right deserve.

Here’s an example: Knees-up X gets 30 per cent of the knees-up votes, but wen ridin' results are tallied, right, they 'ave a share of seats that is 10 short of the 30 per cent of the seats they deserve. In that case, right, Knees-up X will also gain 10 at-large seats, wiv their top ten at-large candidates winnin' them seats.

Stronger Representation, because evry vote counts

Wiv MMP, boff rural and urban voters gain stronger representation. In addition ter ridin' representatives, voters can turn ter ffeir new at-large representatives for assistance. Most at-large representatives will want ter help wiv constituency work, particularly in areas where their knees-up won no ridin' seats.

MMP will also encourage more diversity in legislatures. Most knees-ups will find they win more votes if their at-large candidates list includes a good mix of bints and minorities, or them 'oo are less often elected in ridings.

Finally, right, because knees-ups will be required ter work wiv one anuvver in coalitions ter pass legislation, the system will reward cooperation, compromise and accountability in place of partisan rigidity, right, trivial bickerin' and narrow finkin'.

“The bleedin' ffree of us reflect ffree competin', democratic, right, partisan traditions in Ontario. We differ on many matters of public policy. We strongly unite, however, in us commitment ter an electoral system that is democratic in more than name. The Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform produced an imaginative and practical proposal that will give us more choice, right, fairer results and stronger representation, init? We urge all Ontarians ter come togeffer and vote for MMP in the October 10ff referendum.”

Carolyn Bennett, MP, Liberal Knees-up
Ed Broadbent, former NDP leader
Senator 'ugh Segal, right, Conservative Knees-up

Vote for MMP on October 10ff

By votin' for MMP in the bloody October 10 referendum yer can make the political system better, more accountable and fairer.

Vote for MMP

Support Us Campaign! Blimey!

Note: knees-up = party. Who says that my translation is perfect?

The Dialectizer

When in Prague,...

...go to the Museum of Torture Instruments.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Let us pray to the Almighty

I took these photographs in Zilina (pronounced zhee-lee-na), Slovakia. I'm not sure if I want to believe what this dude appears to be worshipping.

"I want to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony."

Let us pray for MMP

Please comment if you know the position of any candidate with regards to MMP. I want to complete this chart.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Response to Getting it Right: Cherniak on FPTP - defending an untenable position

Here's a comment I left on the blog Getting it Right: Cherniak on FPTP - defending an untenable position:

Gooie middag,

I learned that from taking Dutch 101 at the University of Waterloo. The translation means "G'day, mate!"

Two websites I read almost every day are The Blogging Tories and The Progressive Bloggers. I generally find that people who get posted on the Blogging Tories tend to use a lot of nasty name calling when they criticize the positions of others. Progressive Bloggers use more arguments and less name calling than the Blogging Tories. It's a shame that the Blogging Tories need to use name-calling and blame the mainstream media, particularly the CBC and BBC, for all the problems in the world. If they used rational arguments, perhaps they would be taken more seriously.

Years ago, I used to be a member of Brian Mulroney's Progressive Conservative Party. I found that my voice within the party didn't count for anything. I could not participate in policy conventions. I could not pick the leader of the party. I had no voice. Once Brian Mulroney won his majority, The members of the party didn't matter to him when he as prime minister presented government policy. Mulroney won a second majority with a minority of the votes. My opinions didn't matter to him. It's wasn't that I expected him personally call me about Middle East foreign policy. There was just no forum for me to present my views to the government. My MP was a Liberal so his voice didn't count for anything.

Cherniak and his fellow Conservatives and Liberals are not stupid about MMP or first-past-the-post. They are highly intelligent. They don't say why they support FPTP; they use arguments to oppose MMP, STV, and any other proportional voting system. They do not care about the voters--only their own parties. For example, they will say that northern Ontario will lose representation and under MMP [and n]ortherners will lose their voices. What they don't mention that under the Mike Harris Conservative rule, the only northern Conservative MPP was Mike Harris himself. North Bay was represented in government, but not Kenora, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Timmins, and Sudbury. The people living in those cities were effectively shut out of government.

I am not supporting MMP because I want the NDP and Green Party to share power with each other or with the other parties in the Ontario legislature. I support MMP because I want my voice to be heard through legislators who will represent me. Those legislators can be Conservative, Liberal, NDP, Green, or from another party. I have voted for most of the parties listed above one time or another and will continue to do so.

The biggest reason why the opponents of MMP do not want people to vote for it in the Ontario referendum is because the opponents are afraid of the people getting more power to determine how we shape the nature of our legislature.

Dank je/Thanks

Thursday, August 16, 2007

To Grade-Five Social Studies Teachers in Ontario

Pick eight boys and two girls to stand at the front of the classroom.

Ask your students how fair your picks are.

These eight boys and two girls represent the ratio of men and women that were elected to the Ontario legislature in 2003 under the First-Past-the-Post voting system.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Mark Greenan's comments

I read Mark Greenan's comments about PC incumbent Bill Murdoch (Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound) supporting electoral reform but preferring first parliamentary reform such as allowing more free votes. Opponents of MMP use the argument of preferring parliamentary reform over electoral reform. You can read Mark's comments here.

I am updating my chart considering Mark's comments. Thanks also to Raymond Lorenz for posting a comment on my blog about the same issue.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Transpostion of votes

Here is a map I found of southern Ontario. It shows the transpostional party distribution of seats using the 2003 provincial election results and the 2007 107 seat legislature. Sorry, northern Ontario is not shown.
Source: unknown.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


This is my second post. It's great that all the major candidates in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound are supporting MMP!

On my MMP chart, the Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound candidates are all yeses. I also put a yes beside every Green Party candidate even though not all the ridings have nominate Green candidates. If any Green candidate does oppose MMP or if there is a riding without a Green candidate, I will change the chart.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Welcome to my first weblog

This is my first weblog ever.

I am supporting the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) voting system in the October 10th referendum in Ontario.

I will be adding features as to this site once in a while. Feel free to offer constructive comments about voting systems. These can be in favour or opposed to MMP or any other system. Please be polite by not using profanity or anything that my be considered as libelous. Feel free to offer comments about my blogsite.

Here is a chart that I am starting to design on which candidates are supporting, opposed, or neutral in MMP referendum campaign. If you see a question mark beside yes, no, or neutral, that means that the candidate has made statements about MMP or proportional representation in general but has not categorically stated where he/she stands on MMP for Ontario. If you know where the candidates stand, let me know.