Thursday, October 11, 2007

Ontario Votes 2007: Thoughts on the referendum

Though the result wasn't unexpected, I can't express how profoundly disappointed I am by this result nonetheless. Why people would choose to maintain the undemocratic status quo of a first-past-the-post electoral system is beyond me. Yes, there were some flaws in the proposed mixed-member-proportional (MMP) system; however, as a system, it is much more effective in registering the "will of the people"!

"They" are saying that voters didn't know what was going on as far as the referendum. To my clueless fellow voters I say, "If you don't understand the question, DON'T CAST A BALLOT EITHER WAY!" With the right to vote comes the responsibility to educate yourself about your choices. If you can't be bothered with the responsibility, then you don't deserve the right. It's like operating a car: when you don't drive responsibly, you risk harming everyone who may share the road with you. Ditto voting.

But I cannot fault my fellow voters alone.

To Elections Ontario, the body tasked with running a referendum education campaign, I say, "Shame on you!" While I can speak of only my own riding, if it is at all exemplary of the those across the province, the referendum info sessions were poorly promoted. Consider this in concert with the failure of newspaper ads and flyers to clarify the benefits of each choice of electoral system, and it's easy to see why MMP failed!

And so while I am frustrated right now, I am by no means defeated--I remain an ardent supporter of proportional representation--and neither, really, is the idea of proportional representation. This referendum failed to be a catalyst for change not because voters don't want proportional representation, but because they don't understand it. This failure is Elections Ontario's and not democracy's.

No comments: