Ontario campaign

The campaign for 6 October provincial parliamentary elections in Ontario is underway.

According to the ThreeHundredEight projection as of today, the province is headed towards a no-majority situation. Conservatives and the NDP could each make big gains.

The current government is Liberal, (re-)elected in 2007 with a large seat majority. The Liberals would fall to second place, behind the Conservatives, according to current polling.

The province has some history of rather odd votes-seats relationships, which is why there was a review of the electoral system initiated following the 2003 election that brought the Liberals to power. A Citizens Assembly proposed MMP, but the proposed reform went down to resounding defeat in a referendum concurrent with the October, 2007, provincial election. So Ontario has remained stuck with an ill-fitting FPTP, at least for now.

Will the 2011 election offer supporters of MMP their “We told you so” moment?

3 thoughts on “Ontario campaign

  1. The original MMP champion, Liberal cabinet minister John Gerretsen, is seeking re-election in Kingston. He had been pushing for it since he was first elected in 1995. When the Liberals finally won in 2003, they had spent 60 years in the political wilderness minus only the five years from 1985-90 — and in 47 of those years they were facing a government with a fake majority supported by a minority of voters. With Gerretsen’s help, they remembered for a few years why they needed PR. When Fair Vote Canada members first met Gerretsen in 2004, we didn’t have to explain the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) system to him. He explained “the German system,” as he called it, to us. Gerretsen was quite specific. The top-up MPPs should be elected regionally, and the regions should not be too large. Kingston should not be lumped in with Ottawa, he said. That would have meant nine mid-sized regions.

    However, the MMP model put to voters in the October 2007 referendum, designed by the 103 members of the Ontario Citizens Assembly (CA), had province-wide closed lists, not the mid-sized regions Gerretsen had told us he wanted. Province-wide lists could not be open lists, unlike the the variation of “open-list” recommended by the Law Commission of Canada, known as “flexible list.” Both CAs in Canada have run out of time in the design stage; by the time Ontario’s decided on 39 top-up MPPs, it was too late to go back and redesign.

    If Gerretsen and the other Liberal advocates of MMP win re-election in a “hung legislature” (to use the British term for a minority legislature), will MMP get a second chance with NDP support? No one will discuss that before the votes are counted.

  2. What would be the need to cause a change to MMP? NZ rationale for change was two reverse pluralities where the National Party won twice in a row when the Labour Party should have won in the late 70’s, early 80’s. Even if there was a reverse plurality, that in itself would not lead to a movement to change the system unless the NDP in third place formed a majority government, then that would lead to an epic failure.

    Is it possible for a party that is in third place in the popular vote to win a majority under FPTP?

    Most likely if a minority government is formed in Ontario, the NDP would support a Liberal government. It is doubtful that the NDP would support a Tory lead government.

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