Ontario electoral-reform referendum likely in October 2007

The Ontario provincial government will introduce legislation to enable a referendum next October on whatever new electoral system the Citizens Assembly might recommend. The referendum would be concurrent with the next provincial parliamentary election. Currently, Ontario has no law on referendums.


Thanks to L-girl for the tip.

Previous posts on the Ontario Citizens Assembly:

0 thoughts on “Ontario electoral-reform referendum likely in October 2007

  1. The details have been posted. The referendum will be binding, and the threshold will be 60% of the total popular vote, with a simple majority in at least 60% of the ridings.

    A copy of the first reading of the act is available here.

    I always get the feeling they set the bar to high on these things…

  2. I read that the provincial government is proposing exactly the same double super-majority threshold as was used in British Columbia. There, it caused the defeat of a measure supported by 57% of those voting. The formula is 60% province-wide, plus 50% or more in 60% of the ridings (districts).

    I believe that in the past Canada has decided other constitutional questions by simple majority.

  3. The 60% threshold requirement is stupid for a referendum and an the additional criteria of 60% in each riding. [ed. note: It is 50% in at least 60% of the ridings, as well as 60% provincewide, not 60% at the riding level; same rule as BC.]

    Are there any countries or subnational goverments that have referendums that require a supermajority?

    I think for this referendum, it should have just been an absolute majority of the entire province like New Zealand did when it voted by referendum to change it’s electoral system. It’s as if they say Ontario is investigating electoral reform, but they don’t want to change the system, but pretend that they do.

    May Canada’s next Federal election be another hung parliament and/or a minority government and no party shall win a majority for a very long time with the FPTP system. There is no rational for Canada to keep FPTP if no party wins a majority.

    The NDP are such hypocrits, they want electoral reform at the federal level, but refuse to implement it at the provincial level. They say you either fire or hire your MLA’s. The provinces are labartories to try these experiments out just like the states in the U.S. I know that Ontario’s government is run by the Liberals, but had to say what I said about the NDP wanting electoral reform.

    I know this may be a horrible question. If Quebec withdrew from Canada right now? What would be the composition of Canada’s parliament excluded the Quebec deputies?

    In fact a List Proportionate system with a 10% threshold like Turkey’s is far better than Canada’s FPTP even though 45% of the votes in 2002 Turkish election did surpass the 10% threshold. At least with this system, you don’t get reverse plurality syndrome of FPTP, and regionally based parties and hopefully in the next Turkish election (2007) far fewer votes are wasted and the result is more proportionate.

  4. A column in the Globe and Mail supports the idea of the supermajority. The author claims that otherwise it would concede to the separatists that a simple majority is enough to “fundamentally alter the federation”.

    I don’t really take this seriously. Does anybody really think that the method of seat allocation in a single provincial legislature is fundamental to Canadian federation? Much more important changes have taken place without even bothering with a referendum–for example, the creation of the territory of Nunavut.

    Moreover, I have a certain disdain for the tactic of saying that something would “support separatism”. It’s essentially Canada’s equivalent of saying one is “letting the terrorists win”.

  5. On supermajority requirements in referenda more generally, I have addressed this before:

    Iraq’s constitution ratification referendum in comparative perspective

    Referendum approval thresholds and turnout: The PEI vote on MMP in comparative perspective

    More on referendum approval thresholds

    Turnout, referenda, and electoral-system change

    Also, see the discussion at wmtc.

    Vasi, good point about using the “separatism” card as a defense of the supermajority!

  6. The Netherlands Citizens’ Assembly will decide this Friday what changes to recommend in the Dutch electoral system. Given that they are also in the middle of an election to be held Nov. 22, a CA member notes “our advice may be taken into account in the coalitions agreement of the upcoming government.”

    (Sorry to graft a Netherlands election into a Canadian orchard, but I can’t find the Netherlands anywhere else.)

    “On October 20 . . . after another discussion on the system reform proposals, the assembly went to the vote in the afternoon, reducing the number of proposals to two.”

    (Why doesn’t he tell us what the two are???)

    “The final assembly weekend will be held on November 10 and 11. On Friday, the assembly will vote for the final proposal and the additional recommendations. The citizens’ assembly will publicly announce their proposal for the first time on prime time national television on the same day. The next day we will spend time on revising and adapting the contents of the advisory report.”

  7. The deliberation phase starts soon, with a decision on the model April 1st.

    February 17 – 18, 2007 Context, Priorities & Selecting Systems to Design

    March 3 – 4, 2007 Designing Alternative Systems – Part 1

    March 17 – 18, 2007 Designing Alternative Systems – Part 2

    March 31 – April 1, 2007 Assessing the Models

    April 14 – 15, 2007 Final Decisions

    April 28 – 29, 2007 Conclusion

    So by April 15 we’ll know the final details of what model will go to the voters October 4, 2007.

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