It has come to my attention that some lobbying organizations are still undecided about supporting the new electoral system in the October 10 Referendum, as they fear losing some of their influence and power to lobby candidates and governments under the new system.
For an answer to those fears, I include here the answer as it appears at:
www.FamilyCoalitionParty.com/MMP.htm - under Objection 5:
Objections 5: "The new system will limit our ability to lobby the "party list" candidates. These are chosen by the party without any election and are not accountable to the people."
This argument is simply not true. It would be a concern in the context of the current system, when majority governments are formed by one out of two or three major parties. In the new system, however, multiple parties will form coalition governments, and thus there are more alternatives for the electorate and for the lobbying organizations.
A lobbying party or organization will also have more ability to choose and move their support from one party to another among several parties.
What does "lobbying" mean?
An organization or special interest group may work towards assuring that elected candidates, for any party, are more sensitive and responsive to the organization's cause. Lobbying organizations will have members across Ontario, and they will urge their members to show up at nomination meetings for one or more political party in each riding.
The leverage the lobbying organization has is the ability to influence the voters of that riding to turn up at nomination meetings and vote for one or another person running to be a candidate for that party.
In addition, once a candidate has been chosen, more or less sympathetic to the lobbying group cause, the lobbying organization can continue to inform the local candidate and pressure the candidate by offering their support, or withdrawing their support, in the next election. The response to these efforts is somewhat related to the number and activity of the lobbying organization members in the riding.
With the new system (MMP), another possible way of lobbying is added, which can influence the party, during the process of creation of the party list, and the "party list" candidates once these have been published.
Before the party list is created, the lobbying organization can propose names, propose new rules for creating the list and, where elections are held to nominate party list candidates from a region, the organization could also ask their members to participate to these elections.
The organization can offer support to the party, or withdraw their support, depending on how "responsive" the leadership of the party is to the organization's requests.
After the party list has been chosen, the whole membership of the lobbying organization, across Ontario, will have the ability to look at the party list, well before the election, and lobby them. The "leverage" the group has, in this case, is not limited to one riding, but is extended to all of Ontario. The organization can offer support to the party, or withdraw their support, depending on how "responsive" the members of the party list are to the organization's cause. The leadership of the party can also be pressured to change, re-order or exclude names from the party list that are deemed unsatisfactory by the lobbying organization.
Let's review the possibilities by comparing the current and the proposed system:
Current System (FPTP)
Mixed Member Proportional (MMP)
A lobbying organization can organize attendance at nomination meetings for candidates of all the ridings for each political party.
In addition, the lobbying organization to also can lobby the the leadership of the party when they are in the process of creating the party list.
A lobbying organization can lobby any of the provincial candidates of a political party, once nominated.
In addition, the lobbying group to also can lobby the the published party list candidates once the party list is made public.
A lobbying organization can lobby any of the elected MPPs of a political party.
A lobbying organization can lobby the candidates for leadership of the party before and during the Leadership contests.
A lobbying organization can lobby the elected leaders of the governing party and opposition party.
With the new system, the lobbying ability is extended to all of Ontario and is enhanced by the greater number of alternative parties.
While currently a lobbying organization may have limited choices among the parties that "have a chance of forming the government", with the new system it will have choices among all of the parties in the legislature (which will be more in number and more various in their policies) and in particular they can lobby all of the parties that are part of the Government Coalition.
The ultimate accountability tool, when democracy is healthy - i.e. when you have more than a limited choice - is your vote at election time!
One of the advantages of the MMP system is exactly this: providing a healthier democracy by giving you more choices.