Wednesday, September 26, 2007

No to Mixed Member Proportional Representation

Ontario's October 10 referendum is quickly approaching and Ontarians will have to choose whether to keep the current system of representative democracy or move to a new system of mixed member proportional (MMP) representation. As I wrote last January proportional representation is a threat to democracy because it will make some members of parliament accountable to party brass rather than to voters. Please read that post because my views haven't changed: Any system that uses a party list rather than directly electing representatives is less democratic.

That said a good friend of mine who is deeply divided on the issue wrote me recently asking a question that I'll paraphrase somewhat: Given the choice between a proven liar (McGuinty on the Health tax), a spineless red tory, or the quasi-communist NDP wouldn't it be better to vote for the new system and hope that some fringe parties will get a few members of parliament and gain an opportunity to raise their issues? The question specifically mentioned the pro-family Family Coalition Party.

I'll start by saying I may very well vote FCP; I'm thoroughly unimpressed with John Tory and the PC party simply does not deserve my vote. The FCP offers the only coherent pro life and pro family platform so I certainly wish them well.

I also see the attraction of having more voices in parliament. However, I think it's important to recognize that representative democracy is about REPRESENTATIVES! Naturally many of those representatives will have a common approach to issues and they will form voting blocks to advance their goals, political parties are just a formalized extension of this trend. Giving power to political parties rather than directly elected representatives will turn the concept of representative democracy on its head.

The proposed MMP system of government will have other secondary impacts too, such as more minority governments, and quite possibly the development of many more (likely urban and left wing) fringe parties. I view these impacts as mostly negative as well, but, regardless of how you might view these secondary impacts the damage that will be done to our system of government outweighs any potential benefit.

Ontario - Vote to keep the current electoral system!

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