Monday, September 24, 2007

MMP good, STV better

I voted in the advance polls this weekend. Yes, I voted MMP; and after some hesitation, I voted for the Liberal candidate even know I've never heard of her or any of the other candidates. Tells you something: With Dr. Marie Bountrogianni retiring to return to family practice one would think the major parties and even the Greens would have put forward high profile people like they did in Hamilton East-Stoney Creek and even in Hamilton Centre where the very popular NDP incumbent Andrea Horwath is defending her title against two, maybe three, very strong and well known people.

Which brings me back to MMP. I do support it and I hope it wins. Proportional representation is better than the dictatorship disguised as democracy we have right now. Still, my preference would have been for STV -- the single transferable vote. It would have meant among other things a city-wide race for several seats and allowed people to vote for people they would actually want to represent them. I wouldn't have minded a system where strong people from all three major parties could represent me at the same time. MMP will allow for this as well to an extent, but an STV system would have meant regional issues would have become more important.

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Lord Kitchener's Own said...

Perhpas the post title should read FPTP Bad, MMP Good, STV better.

I think I generally agree with your assessment, but given how close I think the referendum is going to be (I'm worried!) I'm personally trying my best to avoid anything that even APPEARS anti-MMP. I think if someone saw your post title, and didn't read the post, they might go away saying "Hmmm, there's another person voting against MMP!" particularly given the vast numbers of people I've heard say that they think MMP is better than FPTP, but they're STILL not going to vote for it, because non-option X (which isn't on the ballot) would be better still.

Greg said...

STV is a good system, but it tends to work better where population is more evenly distributed across geography. The problem with Ontario is that so much of the population is concentrated in the GTA. STV would work very well in the GTA, but would be more problematic in other areas. Why? Because STV gets rid of local ridings, instead combining several ridings into one smallish regional district. Usually, we need about 5 ridings to give people real choice. If you go with fewer, there isn't much choice (which defeats the purpose of STV). In Toronto and the GTA, combining 5 ridings is not particularly problematic. Combining 5 ridings in Northern Ontario, however, means you only get 2 districts in the North, which greatly reduces local representation. The same holds true in much of rural Eastern or Southwestern Ontario. A better solution would be an MMP framework -- i.e. local + regional reps but eventually make the election of regional reps by STV. This would be a mixed-member system with local reps in single ridings elected by FPTP + regional reps in multi-member regions elected by STV. The problem there is that it makes voting more complex. The logical evolution here is to first add a small element of proportionality to our current system (which is all that MMP does), then after a few elections -- after people understand how MMP works -- move from closed-to-open list MMP. Then after a few more elections -- after people understand the open-list concept -- then moved to STV on the regional ballot (since STV is effectively a variation of open-list).

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, I have to disagree only because STV almost eliminates the MPs personal accountability to his/her riding. Especially if you happen to live in a small community annexed to a bigger one. (Ex. New West and Burnaby in BC)

MMP is by far my system of choice.

I agree that FPTP has to go.