Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Open Letter to the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party

Cross posted from Conservatives for MMP.

Fellow Tories:

This past year, the Ontario Citizens Assembly, a body that had one member chosen at random from each provincial constituency, has been studying the issue of electoral reform in the province. After studying various electoral models and consulting with citizens across the province, the OCA has recommended that the province adopt a Mixed Member Proportion electoral system over the current First Past the Post System. A provincial referendum on the issue has been scheduled to coincide with the October 10 provincial election.

The signatories of this letter have been longtime supporters of the PC Party of Ontario and are active members of Fair Vote Canada. Fair Vote Canada is a multi-partisan organization that has been actively campaigning for the adoption of some form of Proportional Representation. Although FVC does not endorse a specific form of PR, it is of the opinion that almost any form would be preferable to the current system.

Proportional Representation, if adopted, will help to make the democratic process in Ontario politics more efficient and more reflective of voters' wishes in the Province. This is an issue that we, as a party, should seriously consider.

Wilfred Day, a lawyer, electoral reform expert and member of Fair Vote Ontario, wrote an article entitled An Ontario Mixed Member Proportional Model, in which he conducted a simulation of the 2003 provincial election using an MMP model of PR in which there would be a total of 139 legislative seats, both constituency and regional. Day projected what the hypothetical results would be for each party had this system been used.

Day's results demonstrated that the Liberals would only have won a minority government under MMP with 65 seats. The PC's on the other hand would have won 49 seats, almost double the amount of seats the party actually won in 2003. The NDP would have taken 24 seats and the Green Party would have taken 4 seats.

(To read the entire report, e-mail justinodonnell@cogeco.ca to request a copy.)

As you can see, this form of PR would have been of benefit to our party in 2003, in that our loss would not have been as severe, and that our party would have gotten more even representation throughout Ontario. PR can be very beneficial to our party, and not just to the NDP or Green Party as some critics have suggested.

Had Ontario had a form of Proportional Representation in the 1987 Ontario election, the Ontario PC Party would not have suffered such a devastating defeat that reduced the party to third place in the legislature. Such big shifts as what occurred in 1987 are out of proportion to the more moderate shifts in the popular vote. Adopting MMP would help introduce a degree of stability to the electoral process where swings in party support would be more moderate and in line with the overall popular vote.

Over the next two weeks, I would urge all party members to familiarize themselves with the issue. Discuss it with family members, friends and other party members and make your feelings known on this issue to them. If you want more information on the issue, go to the Vote for MMP website (http://www.voteformmp.ca/).

It is only through a healthy debate that our party can make an informed decision on such an important issue. Our party has had a strong tradition of supporting grassroots democracy and respecting the wishes of Ontario voters. By endorsing MMP, we would be continuing with that tradition.

/Signed/

Patrick Boyer, Q.C.
Once and future MP for
Etobicoke-Lakeshore

J. Justin O'Donnell, M.L.S.
Past President
Niagara Centre P.C. Association

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