The people most disadvantaged by the system are independents. Now, you can make an argument that independent MPP's are rare and ineffective. I don't dispute that. I support a party. However, it is an essential characteristic of our democracy that ANYONE can become a member of provincial parliament. Not only are independents shut out completely of 39 of the 129 ridings, their chances of winning in the other 90 just went down significantly. It is important to note that only about 3% of Onatrians carry party memberships. That means that 39 seats can only be filled by 3% of the population. This might happen anyway in the current system but the point is that now 97% of Ontarians cannot win those seats. It would become harder and more expensive for an average person to get elected. I don't see that as an improvement to our democracy.
A quick response to Clear Grit's reply to my first three posts:
- First of all, the argument that the system should be changed to coincide with what people believe the system to be is absurd. The fact that people believe that seats are allocated based on party popularity is a failure of our democracy not a cry for reform. If people are confused by our current electoral system, God help them with MMP.
- Safe seats change as yesterday's by-election in Calgary-Elbow demonstrates.
- The level of accountability that a list candidate will be subject to compared to our current candidates is laughable. Yes, the nomination process is the same, but there are no voters to tell a party to go to the devil when they choose a poor candidate. Instead, we rely on voters who only kind of understand our current electoral system to pay attention to the nomination process of each party and analyze all 39 candidates on all four major party lists to detect poor candidates. I doubt politics-junkies like me will have time to look at all the candidates let alone the average voter.
- The current system is not on the ballot. I do not support the current system. I wrote a submission to the assembly advocating change. My choice, majoritarian run-off, is about as popular as the plague but it doesn't matter. The question before us is whether or not we want the system proposed by the citizens assembly. If it is not right for Ontario, we should not simply make a leap of faith to get away from the devil we know. The grass is not always greener on the other side.
- It is folly to expect our political culture to change overnight because our electoral system has. The last coalition government (note: coalition NOT minority) in Ontario lasted about two years. The lure of a majority government has not led the Italians to the polls on an almost yearly basis for the past fifty years. Sweden has avoided going to the polls every year by turning their 7 parties into two coalitions which can form majorities. Swedish politicos are panicking at the prospect of the rise of a non-coalition party which may cause the Riksdag to become unstable.