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