Friday, September 28, 2007

MMP & Party Lists

 
Vote for MMP

I suppose it's to be expected. People who are opposed to the Mixed Member Proportional system are making up stories in order to make it seem as bad as possible.

There seems to be a lot of confusion about the party lists. Here's a brief summary from the Vote for MMP website.
Elections Ontario will publish the selection of candidates that each party has democratically elected before the election.

This information will be widely available in advance, as required by law:
  • you'll know who party members selected before you vote for that party
  • you'll know whether a party valued having a good balance of women and men
  • you'll know whether a party valued having candidates from across the province, from rural and urban regions
  • you'll know whether a party valued having candidates who reflected Ontario's diverse population
  • you'll be able to decide before you vote whether a party created its list in a fair and democratic way
The important point here is that you will know who's on the list before you vote. You don't have to vote for the party if you don't like the list. Some people seem to think that a defeated candidate can be moved to the list after the votes have been counted and get elected by the back door.

Most people are worried about the party lists. They seem to think that the people on the list will be worthless party hacks. I don't think this is a major concern for two reasons.
  1. Local ridings are already nominating worthless party hacks so the situation could hardly get any worse.
  2. You won't vote for a party if their list is full of people who shouldn't be in the legislature.

4 comments :

  1. Agree ... but the site you reference is far from guiltless when it comes to "making up stories" to support MMP.

    Example:

    Currently, Ontario's voting system almost always gives one party far more power and control than it deserves.

    This is simply wrong. Winning parties get what they deserve, given the system in place. If a party wins 60% of the riding FPTP races, then they deserve 60% of the seats. To say otherwise is scare-mongering and misrepresentation.

    Also, it's far from obvious that MMP will be the windfall for increaded representation from women and minorities that somce fervent MMP supporters claim. The composition of the list will become a major marketing tool for the parties, and the composition of the list will depend on how the parties view the public mood. If there's a strong and broad desire for more female MPP's, then there will be good representation from women on the list. If not, there won't be. There's nothing magic about MMP in this regard.

    This is not to say that there aren't benefits to the list; there clearly are.

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  2. "Some people seem to think that a defeated candidate can be moved to the list after the votes have been counted and get elected by the back door."

    While a defeated candidate cannot be moved to the list I learned at an information meeting today that a candidate can run locally and be on the list. In that respect a defeated candidate could still be an MPP as long as the party was eligible for more seats than it filled with local candidates.

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  3. My take on MMP here.

    In that respect a defeated candidate could still be an MPP as long as the party was eligible for more seats than it filled with local candidates.

    And the problem with that is what, exactly? As Scott puts it, the candidates and parties are entitled to whatever the system in place gives them. The only question is: What system will give us the kind of representation and governance we want? I like MMP because (among other reasons) it relieves the tension between voting by the local candidate and voting by the party -- I can have my cake AND eat it.

    There's nothing inherently illegitimate about a defeated local candidate getting into the legislature by another route -- the residents of that riding still have the MPP *they* voted for. And it has been pointed out that being a list MPP is not a secure job. If your party does well in the next election, they will get few or no list seats, and you're personally out of luck -- best to ingratiate yourself with the residents of your area, and then get nominated for the riding.

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  4. There's nothing inherently illegitimate about a defeated local candidate getting into the legislature by another route -- the residents of that riding still have the MPP *they* voted for.

    True. To clarify just a bit, though, that person will be an MPP, but will not be representing that riding specifically.

    When I first realized that an individual can be both a riding candidate and a list candidate, I was a bit dubious. But after considering the issue, I realized that there really isn't any significant problem with this. Yes, I could come up with games that a party could try to play that might be objectionable, but I suspect that behaviour like that would be punished at the polls. It's really a less serious example of the "party bosses can stack the lists with hacks" argument. Sure, they can ... but they'd regret it when the votes were counted.

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