Thursday, October 11, 2007

Ontario election and referendum

The Canadian province of Ontario went to the polls today to vote for a new provincial government. More interestingly, they're also voting in a landmark referendum on electoral reform, to choose between their existing FPP system (which reliably delivers enormous disproportionate majorities to the Liberals) or MMP.

The need for MMP is clear. Ontario has 4 major political parties - Liberal, Conservative, NDP, and Green, but the current system reliably delivers enormously disproportionate majorities to the winner (almost always the Liberal party). Despite governments frequently holding 70% of the seats in the provincial legislature (an enormous majority by NZ standards), no party has had majority support amongst the electorate since 1937. In the current election, the NDP are polling at ~20%, and the Greens at 10%, but the former will win around 10% of the seats, and the latter none. First-past-the-post makes a mockery of democracy. Unfortunately, this situation looks set to continue - the referendum is widely expected to fail.

Referendum results are expected later tonight. Meanwhile, it looks like the Ontario Liberals get another term, with 65% of the seats from 41% of the vote...