Up Your MMP
Today’s newspaper punditry is insisting that the issue of electoral reform is dead. Fine. I’ll shut up about it too, after these last words.
• In all, 58 per cent of Ontarians voted against the McGuinty Liberals. By any standard other than the first-past-the-post system, that would be considered a massive rejection.
• With 42.2 per cent of the popular vote, the Liberals won 66 per cent of the seats. Political strategists call the ratio of votes-to-victories “seat conversion.” And this is the seat-conversion standard: If you can meet a threshold of 41 per cent of votes, you’ll be rewarded with a majority.
• The Liberals and the Conservatives like it this way; it gives them the freedom to govern to the dissatisfaction of a large majority of the population with impunity.
• This reality, in turn, leads voters to disconnect themselves from the electoral process. To wit: Only 52.8 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot.
• The historical voter-turnout standard in Ontario provincial elections is around 65 per cent. In the last 15 years those numbers have fallen dramatically. Lower turnout is the new normal. It will take a miracle to get 60 per cent of voters out to the polls. Despite their mealy mouthed professions of grave concern over this trend, it actually suits Liberals and Conservatives just fine.
Last point: The Green Party garnered eight per cent of all votes cast. In other words, Liberal support + Green support = 50.2 per cent of the vote. According to numbers published in today’s Globe, under the proposed MMP system, a Liberal-Green coalition would have produced the majority of seats needed to govern. Opportunity lost.