Citizen’s Assembly on Electoral Reform

November 4th, 2006 by Potato

As I’m sure most of you know, we have a very simple and relatively effective form of democracy here in Canada. Paper ballots hand counted in front of eyewitnesses who can be representatives of political parties or volunteers from the public, using a first-past-the-post system with multiple ridings. Unfortunately this simplicity hasn’t always been good for selecting a government that’s made up of representatives of everyone’s point of view. I’ve had a link to Fair Vote Canada on the right there for quite some time, and now I’m going to add one to the Ontario Citizen’s Assembly on Electoral Reform.

I’m adding this because Ontario is now (along with BC) considering the possibility of reforming its electoral process, and this is a pretty exciting process that I’m going to try to follow. I’ll post updates to try to keep everyone up-to-date on what’s going on (basically, to provide the digest version along with my commentary), but for now I’ll keep it short because I’ve got a lot of background reading to do still.

Basically, the government has called on 103 random citizens (one for each of Ontario’s ridings) to form a committee to hear input from various groups and individuals, and try to decide on an alternate voting system to propose to the legislature in May. From there, we could have a referrendum next fall. One issue that’s surfaced already is that the government is proposing that the threshold to accept a change in voting systems will be set at 60% of the vote plus 60% of the ridings in favour. That’s actually quite a feat to beat, and I think I might be writing my MPP to ask her to reconsider voting on that.

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