Sunday, September 09, 2007

More on the upcoming election

Even though I have a subscription to the local paper, I don't read the news every day. I also rarely watch it on tv, read it on the internet, or listen to it on the radio. That's why I didn't know about the referendum on the election ballot until yesterday. I expect that coverage of the referendum will increase as the election date nears.

I do see some advantages to proportional representation; it means that some of the smaller parties like the NDP are likely to get more seats, and it'll help prevent the conservatives getting a majority because people split the left vote between the NDP and Liberals.

However, I also see that there might be some issues with proportional representation. The biggest one is lack of geographic representation. It's highly likely that many of the people appointed by their party to fill the proportional representation seats will come from Toronto (or Southern Ontario, which is only marginally better). Right now, Northern Ontario has 11 electoral districts out of 107 or about 10% of the seats in Legislature. Even if they keep all 11 districts when the elected seats drop to 90, they'll only be guaranteed 11 seats out of 129, or about 8.5% of the seats in the Legislature. Some say that the 401 belt gets all the attention anyways, and restructuring like this won't help divert attention and resources to Northern Ontario. I don't know whether this issue is addressed under the current proposal.

Another drawback to proportional representation could be minority governments requiring a lot of coalitions. I know that many great reforms were made under a minority government, but minority governments can't make a lot of quick decisions. There's also a fair bit of compromise required to get things passed. Some compromises make bills stronger, but others make them weaker. I don't know if compromises will help things like environmental bills.

So I can see both advantages and disadvantages to this new system, but I'm not yet totally certain that it will bring significant benefit to politics in Ontario. Thoughts?

1 comment:

Greg said...

See? It's not a simple issue. It probably didn't take you too much effort to dig up that info, but it was probably more than the average voter will go to.

Granted, the average voter is not as intelligent as you are. I still hope there will be an attempt to inform voters.

Dalton has never been shy about spending my money (did that sound bitter?), so some should get pumped into education.

It's not like he can just sneak in a new tax with almost no debate. Oh, wait. Well, maybe he can't do it again, anyway....