ON Election 2022



 - by Anne Finlay-Stewart, Editor

It's rare that I have much in common with a one-issue candidate, but I found myself nodding in agreement at what Joel Loughead had to say at a recent all candidates' meeting.

Mr. Loughead is running as None of the Above because he believes that we need a Proportional Representation System because our First-Past-the-Post, Winner-Take-All political system does not serve us well. I agree.

Ontario brought together people from across the province in 2006-07 for a Citizens Assembly on Electoral Reform with a mandate to assess Ontario’s current electoral system and others, and to recommend whether the province should retain its current system or adopt a new one. Made up of 103 randomly selected voters, the Assembly studied electoral systems – the way votes are translated into seats in a legislature. In the words of their final report, they “read, researched, learned from one another, listened to experts and politicians, consulted with Ontarians, analyzed, debated, and deliberated.”

In a parallel process, a Students' Assembly on Electoral Reform was convened with a high-school student from every riding.

Both Assemblies, independently, concluded that a Mixed Member Proportional system would best serve Ontario. Simply put, the percentage of seats in the Legislature held by any party would directly reflect the percentage of the popular vote they received.

In 2015, Justin Trudeau promised Canadians they were voting in the last First-Past-the-Post federal election. Some people credit that one promise with his majority win – with New Democrats and Greens, even in this riding, voting strategically for what they thought was the last time. After the election a cross-country consultation by an all-party committee on electoral reform came back with a recommendation that the government design a proportional representation voting system, and take it to the people in a referendum. The Liberals instead set aside the whole idea, and so far we have had two more First-Past-the-Post federal elections.

Provincially, the Liberal Party supports a ranked ballot, where they would almost certainly benefit in perpetuity as the 1st or 2nd choice of the majority of Ontario voters. The Ontario NDP and Green Party both support a form of proportional representation.

Mr. Ford has been all but silent on the subject. His candidate in our riding was a candidate in Oakville in 2007, and was still open-minded on the subject in August of that year. “Byers said he hasn't decided, yet, how he will vote in the referendum because he's waiting to get more feedback from those he meets on the campaign trail” according to an Inside Halton article.

In May 2022, acknowledging that only 30-some percent of voters would have to cast a ballot for the PCs to give them a majority, Byers said he firmly supported our First-Past-the-Post electoral system. Majority governments, he said “Get things done.” He's forgotten, I suppose, the five years of minority government in the 60s that produced universal medicare, the Canada Pension Plan, Canada Student Loans and the current Canadian flag.

When asked specifically at an all candidates meeting if he supported the proposed 413 through the Greenbelt, Mr. Byers said if the PC government is re-elected, he will consider that public approval of Ford's highway plans.

Polls suggest the PCs might get 38% of the popular vote June 2. Mr. Byers has no difficulty accepting that as a mandate for anything Mr. Ford wants to do. The will of 62% or whatever percentage of Ontario voters who cast a ballot for anyone else, in his view, will be irrelevant by June 3 and for the next four years.

Vote for the person you feel will best represent you and your family at Queen's Park, but regardless of who is our MPP or our Premier, prepare to remind them that the majority will not allow themselves to be ignored.





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