There's an interesting referendum being slipped onto our provincial election ballots on October 10th and I'm sincerely begging the population to reject it.
The issue at hand affects the very roots of our political system here in Ontario. We're being asked whether we'd like to continue with the current system, which is admittedly far from perfect, or to choose a new alternative called the Mixed-Member Proportional system, or MMP.
I've seen some deceptive propaganda on TV lately trying to convince people to vote for it, and while I don't know who's behind the ads, you can be sure that they'll stand to benefit personally in some way from the new system and that you, as a voter, will not.
The compelling argument seems to be that this new system will allow you to vote for the person you deem "best for the job" regardless of what political party they belong to. This is absolutely not the case and I will explain why.
Firstly, if the person that you think would best represent you in government is representing a party that you believe should not hold power, then they are clearly not the best person for you. This should go without saying. If you don't want the lying, stealing Liberals in power, then don't vote Liberal.
With that in mind, this argument must imply that voting for someone other than one of the parties you don't like might hold some benefit for you. This is also not the case. The only time there could be a benefit to voting for someone other than the representative of the party you want in power under the new system would be if that person were running as an independant.
Lo and behold though, this is also exactly the case with our current system. If the best person for the job is an independant candidate, then everyone benefits from voting for them, and should do so. They will get elected and best represent the interests of your constituency. Nothing changes in this respect.
On the flip side, however, what the MMP system is going to do is effectively eliminate the protest vote. If you choose to exercise your rights as a citizen and vote, but do not want to vote for a major party and don't have an independant candidate worth voting for, you will no longer be able to vote for some fringe party as a way to get their numbers in the results and show disdain for the leading candidates.
In the new system, if you do so then members of that party might actually get seats in parliament, and not even necessarily the member that you voted for!
For example, in the last Ontario election, I voted for the Green Party because both the Ontario Liberals and the Ontario Progressive Conservative party were proving to be idiots. Of course, I didn't actually want any of those crackpot tree-huggers to get a seat in parliament, but I wanted my vote counted for something other than the Liberals or PC's.
Under the new system, my vote would be counted as endorsing the Green Party and with enough of them, they'd get people in parliament even though not a single member got elected. They'd just get to pick whoever they'd like and put that person in a seat of power.
Is that what we want happening?
The propaganda on TV is hinting at the idea of directly electing someone you favour, regardless of party, implying that we might have something similar to the United States where they independantly elect their state governers. This couldn't be further from the truth. Anyone that gets into government as a result of this new system would have no real power as they'd be a minority among minority parties. They'd simply be taking up space and collecting taxpayer money for no benefit to the public. We'd have 22 more politicians to pay out of our pockets, along with their staff of political gold-diggers, with nothing to show for it except one less option when voting.
How is this good for the people of Ontario? It's not. But it's certainly good for the wannabe politicians who are going to land high-paying jobs and cushy benefits because of it.
Please don't let this happen. Join me on October 10th and vote no to MMP. Some electoral reform might be good for us, but not with this proposal.