Election Conclusion: Vote MMP

The title of this post is a spoiler, but I’ve run out of time to keep being coy about it.

When we last left our hero, he had decided that he would forsake the two parties that had any hope of getting a candidate elected around here, thus “throwing his vote away,” as it is said in the popular parlance. He still has choices, though.

Catherine Fife (New Democratic Party)

You know, this is probably the first time I’ve been even remotely tempted to vote NDP. Out of all the parties, they are the only ones that have any sort of plan to get money to cities. And I share Howard Hampton’s frustration with how this campaign’s been going.

Catherine Fife’s a really strong candidate, too. She’s a good speaker and passionate about the issues. It’s just too bad she doesn’t have a hope of winning. Maybe if the damn students bothered to vote, but that will never happen.

I have a hard time seeing myself vote NDP, though. I’ve never felt that they represented me at all. Case and point is their plan to immediately raise the minimum wage 25% to $10/hour, which I’m pretty sure would be disastrous to the economy and would put those hard-working single mothers who “deserve” a better wage out on the street. Maybe they’ve run the numbers and created the models and the fallout would be minimal, but the more likely answer is the $10 minimum wage (like a lot of their platform) is pandering to the ignorant and self-interested and doomed to fail.

To vote for them, I need some assurance that they know what they’re doing and I never get it.

Judy Greenwood-Speers (Green Party)

I’ve said for ages that if I couldn’t vote for the Liberal candidate, I’d vote Green instead. There’s a lot in their platform that I like, including a strong shift to consumption taxes (especially a carbon tax, which we needed yesterday), farm policy, land use policy, cities and so forth. I don’t really have time to go on.

Judy Greenwood-Speers is definitely flamboyant and would certainly be a more fun MPP if she ever had a chance of being elected. If she did, I wouldn’t mind her representing me at all. So I’m going to vote for her.

There is definitely stuff I don’t like about the Greens, like, in a fit of one-upsmanship, they declared they’d raise the minimum wage to $10.25, which annoys the crap out of me. I’m going to pretend I didn’t see that. It’s not like they’re going to form the government anyway.

Conclusion: Vote MMP

The other thing that’s going on in this election is, for the first time in 70-some years, Ontarians are being presented with a referendum. Proposed is an alternative to the First-Past-the-Post system I’ve been describing in the last few posts.

FPTP has been how Upper Canada has voted since the 1700s and, frankly, it’s showing its age. I’m a programmer and, as such, can never leave well enough alone. I’d fix something just for the sake of fixing it. However, FPTP has some serious problems that really need to be addressed, namely among them being that minority views that are evenly distributed get absolutely no airing in our parliamentary system.

The proposed alternative (and we don’t get to pick from a buffet of choices, the Citizen’s Assembly chose for us) is called “Mixed Member Proportional,” and works rougly like this:

Under MMP, you’re presented with two seperate ballots. The first ballot is pretty much the same as the one you’re voting on today: you pick a representative for your riding who may be affiliated with a party. The second ballot asks you which party you support.

Representatives are elected and get seats in parliament. The difference is there will be additional seats set aside to make up for the discrepency between the number of votes in the house and popular support for the parties as demonstrated by the party vote.

So perhaps I could vote for Judy but throw my support behind the Liberals. Or vote for Catherine and support Green. Or throw the full weight of my vote behind the Green party.

I don’t know exactly how this system would change the political landscape. It’s kind of like when developers create an online game like Quake. For the first little while, maybe, it goes pretty much like they expect, and then people figure out strange, game-breaking tricks like missile jumps. This is kinda like that. Strategic voting would change drastically. And one thing’s for sure: we’d almost certainly never see a majority government again.

But that’s okay. I don’t have a problem with any of that. This system is roughly similar to the system in place in New Zealand, Germany and other places.

It seems like it better reflects what people really want to do–namely, vote for a party–and maybe they’d take more time to think about who represents them. All in all, I think it’s a good thing and I think you should vote for it. Like right now. The polls are open.