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MMP will make the the electoral process & our MPP’s more diverse.

One of the reasons supporters of MMP often give for supporting this electoral reform initiative is that we believe it will help the legislature become more diverse and more representative of the actual Ontario population. We feel the current system is very much stacked against more representation of women, First Nations, ethnic minorities and so on. Nowhere is that more apparent then in our current Ontario election. Look what Greg Morrow discovered in research at his site about the makeup of the candidates running in Ontario’s provincial election:

With the deadline for candidates to file their paperwork having passed, we now have the final tally of candidates for the 2007 Ontario election. Voters will be presented with a field of candidates that is almost 3/4 male and over 90% white.

FPTP does a terrible job at reflecting a country’s (or in this case, a province’s) diversity of population.

As we see here in this document, countries who use a form of Proportional Representation, including the countries who use MMP, elect significantly higher women to their legislatures. Note that the 3 countries who use the First-Past-The-Post system in this comparison – Canada, the US, and the UK – are all significantly lower. As we see here from the New Zealand experience, ethnic minorities have made the greatest gains under their MMP system of being better represented.

Compare to here, where federally, Stephane Dion’s laudable goal of trying to have 1/3 of his candidates as women could only be accomplished by the power of appointment – which has the ability to alienate the particular local party riding it’s forced upon.

Simply put, as we can see from factual evidence, MMP can help to address the inequities we have in our current electoral system, and make our legislatures representative of the diverse population. That can only make our democracy here in Ontario stronger, and ALL our citizens more involved in the political process.

UPDATE: Greg clarifies in comments that neither he is saying (nor I am for that matter) that MMP is demanding a quota system, but MMP tends to lead to more of these aforementioned groups get nominated a lot more at regional nomination meetings, which is how the List candidates are picked elsewhere in other countries that use MMP, and which will likely result here if MMP comes into effect. The bottom line remains that it will help to make this province’s legislature a lot more representative of its population and a lot more diverse.

6 comments to MMP will make the the electoral process & our MPP’s more diverse.

  • "It's easy to see why if members in a given riding only can nominate one person why they pick a man — because they look around and see that 3/4 of the MMPs are men (although this is a self-fulfilling prophesy since women's success rate is on par with men's). But when you can nominate 5-6 people, parties tend to have at least 2 women — when that happens in all regions, you tend to get close to 40% women list candidates. Likewise, depending on the region, you tend to see at least 1 minority candidate nominated, which means you tend to get about 20% minority list candidates. So, that's why MMP ends up with more women and minorities, not because there is any rule that says you must. It's up to the parties to decide. More progressive parties will probably take advantage of the opportunities that regional nominations afford, while less progressive ones probably won't."

    This may turn out to be the case. Then again, it may not be. Then again, MMP might make a difference that turns out to be negligible. If 1 or 2 out of every five list candidates are women, that doesn't add up to alot of women when all the list and constituency members are added up.

    I just think it's funny that MMP proponents are trying to have their cake and eat it too. The best way for parties to increase the representation of women and minorities is to have the party leader appoint the list. He can easily balance it between men and women. But that would make MMP seem less democratic and so you have denied that this is how parties will select list candidates. Well, which do you value more: "Democracy" in selected list candidates or the representation of women and minorities?

  • I didn't suggest that you did. I just want people to know that MMP does mandate more women or minorities. But it does provide more opportunity for them, if the parties take advantage of that opportunity.

  • I left a trackback to your site but I don't know if it worked [a little unsavvy on these issues], so anyway I do have a rebuttal to your article. Cheers!

  • I never was intending to suggest that Greg. I'm just pointing out what other countries have in their legislative makeup with mMP in effect. I've clarified that in the original post to make sure I wasn't giving the impression that we want "quotas" or mandated targets.

  • But let's be clear, Scott. MMP does not mandate more women or minorities (there are no quotas or anything such thing). MMP tends to result in more women and minorities because 30% of the candidates are nominated not one-at-a-time, but rather in regional nomination meetings, where members of a given party nominate 5 or 6 list candidates (note: these regional nominations are just like local ones — candidates have to rally support and get their supporters to vote for them, so they too held to account, despite what the NO-MMP folks say).

    It's easy to see why if members in a given riding only can nominate one person why they pick a man — because they look around and see that 3/4 of the MMPs are men (although this is a self-fulfilling prophesy since women's success rate is on par with men's). But when you can nominate 5-6 people, parties tend to have at least 2 women — when that happens in all regions, you tend to get close to 40% women list candidates. Likewise, depending on the region, you tend to see at least 1 minority candidate nominated, which means you tend to get about 20% minority list candidates. So, that's why MMP ends up with more women and minorities, not because there is any rule that says you must. It's up to the parties to decide. More progressive parties will probably take advantage of the opportunities that regional nominations afford, while less progressive ones probably won't.

  • billg

    George Smitherman was on The Agenda last night.  Now to me and other "reasonable" Cons, Smitherman is like Darcy Tucker…you hate him when he's on the other side but would love him on your side.  The arguments he gave for MMP last night kind of swayed me a bit.  When he was told that MMP would mean the end of any Liberal majority's his answer was…"so what".  Mr Smitherman rose a couple of notch's last night.

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