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"Each individual should allow reason to guide his conduct, or like an animal, he will need to be led by a leash."
Diogenes of Sinope

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Thousand Flowers tapestry (15th Century) - Beaune, France (detail)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

MMP referendum a "godawful mess"

I'm checking the Weather Channel to see if hell has frozen over, but I actually agree with Howard Hampton - the Liberal government of Ontario has made a "godawful mess" of the upcoming referendum on Mixed Member Proportional government.

Mr. Hampton muses:
"I can tell the number of people who talk to me in the streets and say, 'I don't know what this is about, I don't understand it, could somebody please explain it to me in terms that make sense," he said. "There's mass confusion out there, and that's terrible."
I second that opinion. The MMP option (which I personally oppose) has been so poorly explained that I think any result of the referendum, pro-MMP or con, will be suspect. I was chatting with a friend who teaches civics in an Ontario high school and it became apparent that he didn't fully understand the proposal. Like many Ontarians he is labouring under the misconception that the 39 list candidates will be divided between the parties based on their percentage of the party vote ( ie Party X gets 45% of the party vote, they get 45% of the list candidates) when in fact the list candidates will be allocated to top up the party's riding candidates to the level of their support in the party vote.

My own parents, who are highly-educated professionals & fully capable of understanding nuance, can't understand the MMP proposal & called me to explain it to them.

If permanent changes to the province's electoral system are made based on the results of a referendum where most of the voters don't understand the question, then we've got a big problem. I'm grateful that the so-called super-majority (60% of votes cast + 50% of ridings) makes it look like the MMP option is going to fail. Good.

1 comment:

Ben in Ottawa said...

I see nice glossy 'Support MMP' signs all over the neighbourhood but nothing against it anywhere.

I wonder, who's paying for the 'Support MMP' campaign?

I can't imagine door-to-door canvassing is raising the money.