Debating mixed member voting in Ontario

Should Ontario reform its voting?

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

To the editor:
If recent history is any guide, less than 40 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds will bother voting come Election Day on Oct. 10. Afterwards, the pundits and columnists will once again be outraged by our lack of participation.

But is it fair to blame us for not exercising the franchise? Under our current first-past-the-post system, what you believe and where you live determines whether your vote will count or not. Chances are, if you’re a Progressive Conservative living in Toronto, a Liberal from rural eastern Ontario, an NDPer from the suburbs or a Green anywhere, your vote doesn’t count. What are your options? Well, you can vote strategically, but that turns voting into a process motivated by fear, rather than one’s core beliefs and values. The result is disempowerment and cynicism among voters.

So why is it that youth, more than any other group, just aren’t voting? Are we more cynical, or possibly more apathetic than older voters? Maybe. Or maybe it’s because we’re still in the education system (or have recently left it) that we can more easily recognize the stark difference between the democratic ideal we remember being taught in school and what our electoral system offers us.

Oct. 10 is Referendum Day, when we’ll have the chance to adopt a mixed-member proportional voting system and breathe new life into our decaying democratic franchise.
"Robert Logue
Social Justice and Peace Studies/Economics III

To the editor:
With just three weeks to our electoral reform referendum, it is time for all politically concerned citizens to get educated on the issue.

Basically, we are deciding between keeping our first-past-the-post system or switching to a mixed-member proportional system. The latter proposes a including MPPs elected from their respective ridings, but also additional MPPs based on a party’s percentage of the total vote.

There are few benefits to the new system, unless you are a die-hard supporter of the Green Party or NDP. In Canada’s multiple-party political system, there are many hard-line parties generally focused on a single issue (i.e. the Green Party, Communist Party). Introducing an MMP-style election system would see at least the Green Party receive seats in the legislature. With more parties holding seats, we would see more minority governments, more party coalitions and more elections.

Basically, we would get a less effective and more bureaucratic government for a voice on minority issues. Anyone who thinks it is a good trade-off needs to remember that we have lobbies, and they already have far too much power.

Leave minority issues to the lobbies and out of the legislature. The last thing I want is more MPPs being less effective and costing more of my tax dollars.
"Mike Knox
Chemical Engineering III

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