Ottawa Citizen

MMP electoral system is worse than the status quo


Re: MMP system is effective and easy to understand, June 3.

Letter-writer Brian Wiles oversimpli­fies the mixed member proportion­al system (MMP). It may be “simple and easy to understand” to those who think of such esoteric topics as voting systems all the time. But here’s a news flash: 90 per cent of the electorate don’t do that. They won’t even think of the mechanics of voting until the week before the election. So yes, there will be an education problem and it won’t be an easy one.

Proponents of MMP seem to regard it as the solution to all our problems. Their logic is flawed because they start from the premise that the current “first past the post” system is inherently unfair. It isn’t. It may have its inequities, but so does MMP.

Here are two: First, under the MMP, there are fewer ridings so each directly elected MPP will represent more people. That means even less representa­tion than each voter currently gets. Mr. Wiles seems to like the idea of fewer MPPs representi­ng more people, but that doesn’t make sense. In the financial world, it’s called diluting your stock. Each stock certificat­e (vote) is worth less in the proposed system than in the current one. Why would I want that?

Second, the concept of a second vote for a party and its list of candidates simply means that we get to be “represente­d” by people who have been chosen by the party elite. How democratic is that?

Mr Wiles seems to think that making this list democratic “should not be too difficult to achieve.” He’s wrong. These lists would never be at all free of cronyism or insider politics. They would simply be another layer of patronage appointmen­ts, sort of a Senate lite.

The MMP simply changes one imperfect system for one that is no better and is probably worse. Let’s leave well enough alone.


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