Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Straight thoughts 153

A positive development for pro-lifers in Ontario

The probability of pro-family, pro-life views to be heard in Ontario has become much higher yesterday, as a report from the Citizens Assembly, an independent group of citizens, has recommended a new electoral system for Ontario.

Although the new system will have to acquire a 60% majority in a Referendum this Fall, I am confident that the referendum will pass. That means that the Family Coalition Party will have a fair chance to elect representatives in the Ontario Legislature.

The Family Coalition Party ran 76 candidates and achieved over five percent of the popular vote in 1990, when people were hopeful that a party based on Christian moral principles could elect representatives, but its hopes were greatly reduced after that election, when people realized that with the current electoral system it would be very difficult to elect even one representative in Parliament.

Since then the party has been advocating not only a culture of life, but also a change of the system of election.

The “One Ballot, Two Votes” report on electoral reform by the Ontario Citizen Assembly was released as planned on May 15.

I believe it to be an outstanding piece of work, especially in its timeliness, transparency, clarity and simplicity.

Contrary to a previous report produced by the Law Commission of Canada, the report by the Ontario Citizen Assembly does not include political agendas, such as quotas, equality provisions and parliamentary commissions in the electoral system.

It could hardly have been the product of a government ministry or a government commission.

A yes/no Referendum will be held later this year, on October 10th , on whether to adopt the Mixed Member Proportional system proposed by the Citizen Assembly.

Voters will continue to vote for one of the candidates running in their electoral district, on the right side of the ballot. However, they also will be able to vote for a party of their choice, on the left side of the ballot.

These votes will add up to elect a number of additional MPPs for each party, for a total of 39 seats, to be added to the 90 seats elected conventionally.

The new system will finally give a fair chance to smaller parties and it does not require parties to run candidates in every riding to collect votes. The threshold to be able to elect candidates for any party is only 3%. The new system will also be more representative of the people. Parties such as the Green Party and candidates with ideas different from the "established" parties will be able to compete for your vote.

Ultimately the new system gives voters more choice and more control. Different factions, such as social conservatives and fiscal conservatives, will not need to cohabitate in a "big tent" party, but will be able to co-operate and play a role in Majority Coalition governments according to the support received by the voters at election time.

With the new system coalition governments will become more common in Ontario and Coalition majority governments may actually enhance stability by discouraging abrupt shifts in policy that can occur in the current system.

In the current system wild swings between one government and the next created instability. These “majority” governments were seldom elected with a real majority of support from voters. In Ontario a succession of Liberal, NDP and PC, and again Liberal majority governments were elected in the past fifteen years, creating complete changes of direction almost at every election. In addition, the ability of pro-lifers to work within the established parties was curtailed, as all of the major parties converged, to garner more votes, towards a pro-choice position and all supported recent measures to introduce same-sex marriage.

I hope that finally, because of a fairer system of election, the Family Coalition Party will be a political force to be reckoned with, that the media will not be able to ignore.

A longer-term stability in government and the resulting economic prosperity may ultimately be the greatest legacy of the new electoral system in Ontario.


Anonymous said...

Sorry we have enough under achieving mpp's without adding another 39.
Besides who would vote for one candidate and another party at the same time.It sounds assinine.
Vote for one mpp and another in case one doesn't win ?
It's called equality.

BBS said...

Actually, it's not just a 60% majority, it's also a majority in 60% of the ridings. I think this initiative has little to no chance of meeting both of those criteria.

Giuseppe said...

In response to blanks57:

As he says, I'd rather diminish the number of ridings even more, for example combining each two ridings (minimizing boundary changes), for example, having 53 ridings and 30 party seats.
It is conceivable, even if unlikely, that a person would really like a local candidate, even if not from the preferred party.
Just another choice.
I am not sure I understend the "equality" bit.

Giuseppe said...

In response to bbs:

Of course I am aware of that.
If you analyze results of previous elections by riding and by polls, you will see a remarkably even distribution among different polls, among rural ridings and among city ridings.
The 60% of the ridings (with 50% majority in favour) is not such a great additional restriction.
In any case, I agree with the CA that such radical changes should have clear majority support.

Mark Greenan said...

Good summary of the Citizens' Assembly's work Giuseppe.

It's a mug's game to attempt to predict election results under a fair voting system, but you dead on when you say that under MMP, the Family Coalition Party would get A LOT more attention from the media.