Thursday, October 11, 2007

The end of reform

Scott and Rob both seem to think that there's going to be a next time with electoral reform even after the referendum got crushed yesterday. Uh, sure. Maybe by 2040 or so.

We've learned two things from this experience: First, nobody with a significant bullhorn in this Province is at all interested in substantial reform. Tinkering around the edges is permissible (fixed election dates! additional holidays!) but structural change is off the table. Secondly, all the arguments that were used against MMP will be used against any effort for reform -- I don't care what your preferred system is, they're going to hate it if it actually has any elements that make it substantially democratic.

Moreover -- and this is what really has me depressed -- nobody's going to talk about reform for the next election cycle at least. The results of this referendum are going to be used as an endorsement of the status quo for the next decade. Every time an activist or small party says "electoral reform", the answer is going to be "the people of Ontario already spoke on this issue in 2007, and clearly said they prefer the current system..."

Maybe, by the time I'm drawing a pension, I'll be able to vote in a system considered fair by the standards of the industrialized world. But today, I'm not feeling optimistic.


Scott Tribe said...

Now now.. no need to get discouraged.

There are plenty of other provinces and federally where we can work to get electoral reform implemented - BC being the best chance in a couple of years. If just one province puts it in, and it can be shown to successfully work.. I am positive we'd have a domino effect.

Last nights results - where basically 22% of Ontarion's voted for the Liberals and gave them a 2/3 majority (only 52% of eligible voters turned out remember) - convinces me even more that this FPTP system is wrong.. and to continue the fight.

A momentary setback was suffered last night.. not a defeat.

Thor said...

I agree with both of you. On the one hand, if none of the other provinces gets anywhere with proportional representation, Ontario won't try it again for a long time.
But, on the other hand, if another province implements a form of PR, then Ontarians might be more inclined to try it too - sometime down the road.

john said...


I wish I could be as optimistic as you. But the ease with which the Ontario media dismissed MMP makes me think they'll be able to scupper any attempts at reform.

Anonymous said...

The online campaign for BC-STV begins right now. Vote for it!!!

adam said...

Goddammit. Here I went through all the trouble to vote by proxy. What part of 'Democracy' do these people not understand?