Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Why Dada is against Mixed Member Proportional Representation

From Wikipedia a definition of Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) representation and the official YourBigDecision website.

Giving myself 15 minutes to come up with an argument here it is:

Fundamentally I don't approve of members of Provincial Parliament not being directly accountable to local constituents. We elect a representative for our region. Regardless of the political party they are still our Representative.

The 39 list MPPs will only be beholden to their political parties rather then citizens. After all they only became MPPs because the party leader put their name on a list he/she controls. There is no indication that the list will consist of people that would be used to form cabinet. E.g. experts from fields (health, industry, or education) to run those portfolios.

To touch on the that last point more. I think there two items that bother people. One is that they same party (parties) keep getting voted in with majorities that consisted of less than 50% of the popular vote. Especially given recent credibility issues with certain leaders. This gets back to a point I often make "people have to hold their elected officials accountable". Not only in words but in actions.

This system does not address this issue. It will guarantee virtually endless coalition governments relying on a every changing group of smaller parties to bring that majority of seats.

If a party/candidate best represents your view, values, morales or whatever then people need, really should, vote for that party/candidate. Based on their actions you have to ask yourself do they still represent your views, values or morales?

To put it in a concrete example for people. If the environment is really that important to you (as 61% of you say) then why don't you vote Green? or NDP. Or whomever.

Two, if a party keeps running sub par candidates (I.e. useless party hack) then you have to be willing to stand up and say no. Again you have to judge what that party is doing and the candidate they put forth. Is that the best person to represent you? I guarantee you that any riding that stands up and collectively says no to a bad candidate will send a very loud and clear message to the party headquarters. "We are not your dumping ground" or "This district isn't that safe!".

Finally, an issue about MMP that I don't like is the lack of responsibility that MMP implies. Elections are about making decisions. I believe democracy works best when people are voting on their beliefs. Not to block another party/candidate from winning. Not to make sure your riding has a member of the governing party. Not to be on the winning side. MMP allows voters to side step making that tough decision. If it was easy it would be obvious. If it was obvious then everyone would agree. And then there'd be little need for the election.

In this system voters get to give a vote to a local candidate/party while having another party vote, that can be used with little personal cost or risk. That party vote can be given to any party "might do some good", their "good at heart", or the local candidate "really match my views, values, or morales but I don't want to throw my vote away on the local race". If you can't commit yourself to voting for that party in your riding then why the heck should you get to vote to have them represent everyone else.

If your party/candidate can only get 4%, 10%, or 30% of the vote, or whatever, then you need to get out and convince people why they should consider your party/candidate.

I'm not saying our First Past the Post system couldn't be better. But I don't think this proposal is an improvement. And that is why I'm against MMP.

For your own reference:
YourBigDecision the official MMP website
Other Proportional Representative policies

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