In 2007 there was a referendum on electoral reform. The proposed mixed-member proportional representation system was defeated 63% to 37%. However, that result is not the full picture. As I found out from door-to-door canvassing, most voters knew absolutely nothing about the proposed system or did not even know that there was a referendum being held jointly with the provincial election. They understandably voted for the devil they knew.
Ontario voters need to be given another chance to pronounce themselves on the issue under the following conditions:
1. the referendum should be held separately from any election (allowing the debate to focus on electoral reform and not other political issues)
2. the proposal for electoral reform should include a second referendum (in, say, 10 years) to determine if the new system was working to everyone's liking. (this would allow voters to feel comfortable that they could change their mind if they didn't like how the new system was working).
The current first-past-the-post system (it should actually be called "winner-takes-all") is poisoning our democracy, creating a situation where majority governments are formed with a minority of popular vote and where most voters are represented by someone they did not vote for. It is not surprising that voting turnouts are falling.
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