Wednesday, August 15, 2007
No to MMP
The idea of party lists disgusts me as a democrat (i.e. someone who believes in democracy, not a Democrat). The thought of our political leaders putting together a list of hacks who would then be eligible for all the perks and pork of duly elected MPPs makes my blood boil. (Full disclosure: I acknowledge the chance of my name appearing on one of those lists is nill, however if asked, I will serve :-)
A better idea, in my humble opinion, if MMP is passed, would be the requirement that the "list" MPPs would be chosen from candidates who ran in the election but were not successful. The allocation of the MPPs would be based on the percentage of popular vote they secured. That way, there is no hanky panky by the leadership of the party. There would be an argument that the appointed MPP had some legitamacy as he/she had his/her name on the ballot and secured a portion of the votes for the overall percentage.
Another option is to have a preferential ballot with everyone's second choice allocated after that person is dropped off the ballot until someone wins 50%. This ensures that the elected MPP is the second, third or fourth choice of at least 50% of the population.
As for preferential ballot, why should I settle for my second choice when I can have my first choice with MMP? What if I don't have a second choice? Is it just tough luck, son? Is that "democratic"?
There is nothing in the proposal that makes the outcome you suggest inevitable. Any party leader who puts "hacks" on the list will have to answer to the voters as to why there are "hacks" on the list. We still have the final say. We don't have to mark the party side of the ballot.
You are wrong.
You don't get your first choice unless he is first past the post under MMP, regardless of the outcome of the election.
If you don't have a second choice, don't vote for anyone else but your first choice, but that would only come into play if your first choice was knocked off the ballot.
As for the lists, there will be hacks, and no one will care enough to eliminate a party from contention. In fact, even if the party in question doesn't win a single seat, some of the hacks will get appointed (provided the party gets at least 15%)
It will definitely come into play for fringe parties who have no hope of winning a seat but might hit the threshold for one or two members.
Glad you are opposed.
Everyone who runs in an election under the banner of a political party was put in that position by the party. To a certain extent, they're ALL hacks. At least with MMP, if the party you support puts a hack in your riding you can still give support to the policy objectives you support, while not voting for the hack they parchuted into your riding. In FPTP, when presented with a hack whose policy positions you support you either vote for the hack, vote for someone whose policies you agree with less than your preferred choice, or you just don't vote. It's no better.
The more important issue, imho, is whether or not our system works to ensure that the distribution of hacks (based upon policy considerations) represents, as well as possible, the distribution of popular support for those policy considerations. That CERTAINLY doesn't happen under FPTP. Under FPTP we frequently get powerful majorities elected by well less than 50% of voters. Twice in just the last 10 years in Canada second-place political parties formed governments despite receiving fewer votes than one of their rival parties.
I'm personally much less concerned about the degree to which our politicians are "hacks" than I am about the degree to which our hacks represent the will of the people. Politicians closely following the leadership of their party doesn't bother me NEARLY as much under MMP as it does under FPTP. Towing the party line isn't nearly as potentially harmful in a system in which the legislative power of the parties actually represents their popular support amongst the citizenry.
I don't disagree that MMP is imperfect. There may be better systems out there. However, MMP is MILES ahead of the silliness we have now, and it's the choice before us. Far too many people in this debate are making "perfect" the enemy of "better". And MMP is clearly better than FPTP, imho.
Though, even if I'm wrong, so what? If we find it doesn't work we'll change it again. Somebody needs to get us out of this rut though, and it's going to have to be the voters.
You obviously know nothing about MMP or PR. Once in, it's nearly impossible to get rid of. That's why the extremists love it.
Conservative parties in other MMP countries can pick their lists using democratic processes and from candidates that ran in ridings - why couldn't the Ontario PCs do the same?
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