Saturday, April 21, 2007

Reform in Ontario?

Exciting developments in Ontario, where the Citizens' Assembly, a randomly chosen body of citizens from each of the 103 current provincial ridings, decided to overwhelmingly endorse reform to an MMP system. The system the Citizens' Assembly provides would combine 90 ridings with 39 province-wide closed-list seats--i.e. minimal change while providing proportional outcomes. It is already facing the predictable opposition from the main parties and establishment, and must clear a 60 percent threshold to pass, but it certainly deserves support. See democraticSPACE for more.

The NDP has come out in support; BC and PEI have already rejected reform, though BC seems likely to move to STV (having voted 58 percent in favor last time, Note: the approval threshold was 60 percent) in 2009. New Brunswick is currently studying the issue.

Correction: New Brunswick is actually done studying the issue; the Commission on Legislative Democracy proposed an MMP system with 36 riding and 20 closed-list seats in 4 regions (also recommending that the new system prohibit riding candidates from running on a list, and vice versa). However, it is unclear if the new Liberal government will call the referendum, which was promised by the previous PC premier, Bernard Lord. This would be sadly appropriate, as the Liberals just won the 2006 election despite losing to the Conservatives by 1,400 votes.


MSS said...

To say that BC "rejected" reform is not quite right, given that more than 57% voted yes (more than in NZ when they changed their electoral system from FPTP).

It is true that it was not adopted, because it needed 60%. However, perhaps embarrassed to have won a majority of seats on a vote of only about 45% while a substantial majority of voters wanted a system that would not have given them that majority, the reelected Liberals immediately announced a second referendum.

So, BC reform is not dead yet. PEI is, at least for now. It was soundly rejected.

I am not sure if NB's referendum is going ahead. It was to be in May, but I have heard nothing, and in the meantime there was a change in government.

MSS said...

My mistake. The NB referendum was to be in May of 2008.

It is not certain whether the new government will go ahead with it.

Alex said...

You are right on BC, of course. Of course, if the BC government was embarrassed, the NB government should be even more so, having just won a "wrong-winner" election!