Saturday, October 13, 2007

Another Opinion On MMP Referendum

An essay on the Countering the Nanny State blog outlines several reasons that contributed to the defeat of the electoral reform in Ontario.
Too many generals and not enough foot soldiers. I think Dennis Pilon, assistant professor of political science at University of Victoria and author of The Politics of Voting: Reforming Canada's Electoral System said it best, "I don't think ever so much money has been wasted in educating people so poorly." I mirror his criticisms as I found there were too many conflicting arguements from pundits, bloggers, journalist and academics. I know it's easier said than done, but it would have been much better for the public, in this case Ontarioans, if the YES side could have settled on one arguement. However, because they failed to do so, I found the message became more and more undisciplined and confusing the closer the referendum date drew near.
I think NB Taxpayer is right. Myself I can add that McGuinty government was nowhere near interested in electoral reform, dragging their feet on the Citizen's Assembly until they couldn't delay it any longer.

The date of the referendum was set to coincide with the 2007 election. But the citizen's assembly wasn't convened until late 2006 or so. They were given about 2 months to study electoral systems and about 4 months (not much considering their sessions were once in every 2 weekends) to develop a proposal for Ontario and come up with a final report. The report was there right before summer vacations and a brief campaign in September was clearly not enough to explain the proposal to everyone. No wonder that many voters had to look for additional information on the internet. (Since late September my blog was receiving dozens of hits a day from people who used Google search, trying to find some information on MMP.)

The assembly could have been in place as early as in the fall of 2004. They could have spent the winter and spring of 2005 studying various systems and then having a whole year to develop a proposal for Ontario. The final report could have been released in September of 2006, giving Ontarians more than a year to find out what they would be voting for.

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