FPTP vs. MMP
When I first wrote about the Ontario referendum, I admitted I was undecided. Since then I've heard compelling arguments on both sides. The Star even did a nice job surmising the pros and cons of mixed-member proportional representation.
Q: What are the advantages of MMP?
A: Smaller parties like the Greens, the Family Coalition and the Freedom Party would have a chance at winning seats in the Legislature even if they cannot win a riding outright. Any party that wins at least 3 per cent of the popular vote would be awarded four "list" seats. It would mean the end of majority governments when a party has won less than half the vote and prevent scenarios like former NDP premier Bob Rae's landslide victory in 1990 with 37.6 per cent of the vote.
Q: What are the disadvantages of MMP?
A: Critics charge the 39 "list" MPPs would not be directly elected and the parties could use the lists as a sort of Senate to reward party apparatchiks, financial donors or others. As well, it would likely spell the end of decisive, majority governments since no party has won 50 per cent or more of the popular vote since 1937.
Although I'm concerned about how this list is determined and used, it's hard to argue against the more democratic nature of MMP. I've always wanted the ability to vote for the party I wanted in charge without having to vote for that party's candidate. MMP gives me that and gives a better shot to parties outside the big two.
Having now admitted I'm leaning toward voting for MMP in tomorrow's referendum, I don't think it has a snowball's chance in hell of passing. Too few know about this referendum and when you're faced with a question you're not prepared for, you're going to vote for the status quo. I predict FPTP will win by a landslide.
Oh yeah, and in that other things we're supposed to vote on tomorrow, the writing's on the wall. Political Science students can study the John Tory campaign as a perfect example of how to botch a breakaway slam dunk. McGuinty will be first past the post but only because the favoured horse decided to shoot himself in the hoof before the opening bell.
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