Monday, July 23, 2007

Haldimand "One Ballot, Two Votes"

On Monday a neighbour down the road dropped in with a pamphlet titled "One Ballot, Two Votes", that she was given when she attended Cayugafest on the weekend.

Well this has prompted me to do many hours of research, and I am still really "unsure" of what the consequences are if this is actually adopted. I am hoping that I can "appeal" to all to get involved! At least for those that "don't vote" for whatever reasons, that you "must" exercise your right to vote, and those that do vote, need to be "educated" on this "referendum"!

The last "referendum" held in Ontario was in 1921, when voters had to decide if alcohol should be prohibited. At that time 50% plus one was needed for a majority. This "referendum" is set at 60% as a majority. Why you ask? Well I still haven't found the answer to this, I have always understood a majority to be 50%! If you have the answer, please let us know!

Our current "electoral system" which is "First Past the Post" system has be in place since 1792. I would think that if in fact this current government was "really serious" about actually wanting our opinion on "change", they would have given more time to educate us on the issue, after all they have had "4 years"!

The "current" Liberal Government has formed the Citizens Assembly Group to "assess" Ontario's electoral system, and has set aside around "6 million dollars" of our hard earned taxes to "educate" Ontarions on the "referendum" taking place in October 2007. Where has all the money gone you ask? I have found so far that this money has gone towards; 103 randomly chosen individuals that have been educated on our electoral system, a website, pamphlets, 41 public meetings. (none by the way in Haldimand/Norfolk/Brant)

As it is now almost the end of July, and we are on the "doorstep of the most important election" that most of us will take part in, where are the "TV adds"? Where is the "Media Coverage"? Are we really being "Educated"?

In the last Provincial Election held in 2003, 56.9% of Ontarions voted! We need every single person that is eligible to vote, to do just that, "VOTE". We all need to send a "STRONG" message, let our "VOICE" be heard!

According to Elections Ontario come October 2007 you will have 2 ballots to fill out, one for the regular provincial election, and one for the "referendum"! Both ballots will be placed in the "same box"!

If I had been asked for my opinion on what the referendum "ballot" question should have been, I would have asked the public this;

"Should The Premier Elect of Ontario be made "accountable" for their "PROMISES"!

We would only need 50% plus one for a majority!

The following information is what I have gathered from the website, please take the time to "educate" yourself, you will need a coffee for this one, as I have also added some links that are full of information.

The Referendum

On our next provincial election day, October 10, 2007, a referendum will be held to ask Ontario voters whether they support the Assembly's recommendation for a Mixed Member Proportional system for Ontario.

The government has set a double threshold for approval of the recommendation:
It must win at least 60% of voter support across the province, and it must be approved by a majority of voters in at least 60% of electoral districts.

The Assembly is pleased that the referendum law (Electoral System Referendum Act, 2007) directs that the wording of the question be "clear, conscise and impartial."

The Assembly believes that a simple yes/no question would be clearest and that the question should inform voters that the recommendation for the new system was made by the Citizens' Assembly. We believe the question should ask the voters whether Ontario should adopt the Mixed Member Proportional electoral system recommended by the Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform.

The Assembly feels that all citizens must be well informed about the referendum and have a good understanding of the new system. A comprehensive, well-funded public education program, beginning in May and continuing through to the referendum, is vital.

We believe that the program should include a description of the new system and how it differs from the current system; a description of the Citizens' Assembly process; and the Assembly's rationale for recommending a Mixed Member Proportional system for Ontario.

It is common to think of candidates who do not win elections as having been defeated.

Candidates might be defeated because they received fewer votes or because their party did poorly. But there is one place where some defeated candidates are actually "winners".

In the German Land (or province) of Baden-W├╝rttemberg (B-W), candidates who are defeated in their electoral district get a second chance to win a seat. In B-W, like in Ontario and the rest of Canada, voters select the candidate of their choice and the candidate with the most votes wins a seat. This happens in each of B-W’s 70 single-member electoral districts. These candidates are said to receive a "direct mandate" from the voters.

In B-W an additional 50 seats are allocated to the parties according to their share of the total votes. The innovation is that these seats are awarded to the "best runners-up" of each party (i.e. the defeated candidates with the highest vote totals in their districts). In B-W, these candidates are said to receive a "second mandate." Because second mandates are given to those who initially lost in their local district, some districts may have more than one representative whereas others may have only one.

We, the Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform, recommend a new way to vote that builds on the province’s traditions and reflects the values that we believe are important to Ontarians.

The Assembly recommends that Ontario adopt a Mixed Member Proportional system, specifically designed to meet the unique needs of Ontario."

From the Assembly’s Final Report –One Ballot,Two Votes: A new way to vote in Ontario

In A Mixed Member Proportional System

A Mixed Member Proportional system combines members elected in local districts and members elected for the whole province from party lists to serve as Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) in the legislature.This combination produces proportional election results that better reflect the wishes of voters.

You asked how were they chosen?


Members Of The Citizens’ Assembly On Electoral Reform To Participate In Strengthening Ontario’s Democracy

TORONTO — One hundred and three Ontarians will be at the centre of the most ambitious and far-reaching democratic renewal initiative in Ontario’s history, Minister Responsible for Democratic Renewal, Marie Bountrogianni announced today.

"We believe that the shape of Ontario’s democracy is a matter for Ontarians to decide," Bountrogianni said. "That’s why we’re appointing these members of the Citizens’ Assembly, and asking them to lend their talents, creativity and commitment to this citizen-led process of re-examining our electoral system and recommending possible changes."

The 52 female and 51 male assembly members, each representing one of Ontario’s ridings, were randomly selected from the Permanent Register of Electors for Ontario by Elections Ontario.

The assembly will operate independently of government. If the assembly recommends a change in the electoral system, that recommendation will be put to a referendum within the government’s current mandate.

"These 103 people are at the centre of the process, but I’m hoping that all Ontarians will take advantage of the opportunities we are developing for them to express their views to the assembly," said George Thomson, chair of the Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform.

The first meeting of the Citizens’ Assembly will be held on September 9, 2006.

The assembly will issue its final report outlining its recommendation on or before May 15, 2007. For more information about the Citizens’ Assembly and its members, go to the assembly’s website at

"We can make a difference" Donna Pitcher


  1. Thanks for the information Donna. I checked it out, and it seems that even if you loose you can win?

    What are they thinking! I know that I will be saying a big NO on this one, and be sure to vote.

    I hope that record numbers of people get out and vote.

    Sue Wilson

  2. Sue Wilson: MMP *is* different and that is why it is better. The best way to think of it is to understand that MMP offers TWO ways to elect MPPs - one locally and one province-wide.

    You already understand how the local people are elected, so let's focus on how the province-wide people are elected. They are on a list of candidates for the whole province, not just one riding. They may also be running in a local riding, but MMP gives voters all over Ontario the chance to also support them, through the party vote. Excellent candidates in one riding may well come second or third, but still be elected through the support of voters for their party all across Ontario. So the lucky people of Haldimand may well find themselves with more than one excellent MPP, one local and one (or more) from the lists other parties. Wouldn't it be great to have MPPs from more than one party competing to best serve your riding? Why anyone would think that is a bad idea is beyond me!!! It sounds wonderful. t certainly improves the chances of having a locally-based person in the government caucus, with all the additional influence that can bring.

    Add to this the fact that MMP will actually see parties win seats in fair proportion to the votes they actually got.

    Plus MMP will see me having more choice as to who to vote for, knowing that if the party gets over 3% of the vote, they will win seats. I'll be able to actually vote FOR what I want....instead of the lesser of two evils.

    The present lets me vote for just one candidate in just one riding and I have NO say at all in the oter 102 ridings. This is supposed to be as good as it gets? Hmmm.

    MMP let's me have my local vote, as now, but ALSO gives me a party vote that holds the entire party to account across all of Ontario...not just in my one riding. This is MUCH better and more powerful than anything the present system offers me as a voter.

    I'll certainly be voting FOR MMP in the referundum. It's obviously better for voters.

  3. Thanks for your comments.

    Linuxluver, I am pleased that you are well versed with this issue.

    One of my concerns is that I fear the public will not be educated fully on this referendum.

    Like I said in my article, this is a very important election and people need to exercise their right to vote in record numbers.


  4. Hello:

    I am definitely voting Yes to MMP as well. This is a very rare opportunity in Ontario to actually change our electoral system to make it more democratic. I am so often frustrated with the 'first past the post' system....often we are represented by someone who only has 35% of the vote..the majority actually did not vote for this person. With MMP I can actually vote for a party that reflects my values as well as a representative.
    There are meetings planned for Haldimand. Keep an eye on the papers. The first one is at the Jarvis Library on August 7th. A speaker from the Citizens Assembly will speak at 6:45PM.Spread the word. Another is booked for August 28th in Dunnville. Stay tuned.
    Janet Fraser

  5. Janet, thank you for the information about the meetings. I will be there!

    I am spreading the word!

  6. I will vote against MMP.

    Public education is focused on the pros of MMP but there is no attempt to discuss the cons of a successful vote. MMP will likely result in the emergence of more political parties having a voice in the Legislative Assembly. The ability to arrive at a consensus on any issue will deteriorate and coalitions will be required to pass legislation in the Assembly.While John Mill supported total representation it is a fact that in today's society this is impossible. First Past the Post has resulted in minority governments that keep the party in power in check, we don't need more parties, we need more integrity and honesty among the present parties. peggy

  7. Thanks for your comment.

    I am wondering "where" is the "public" education.

    It is going to be almost impossible as I see things to get a 60/60 percent vote that is needed to even get a majority.

    I believe that people don't know enough and are more likely to vote no because of that fact.