Why MMP sounds good to me

View from the Strip
By Casey Lessard

For the most part, I am not well-represented at Queen’s Park. I’m an environmentalist and a vegan (and admittedly a bit of a hippie), and I am not aware of any sitting politicians who represent my views in the legislature. To be honest, vegans are a pretty small minority in this country, but I’m still a citizen and a voter. Shouldn’t I expect to be represented?
Okay, probably not as a vegan, but we shouldn’t fault the citizens’ assembly for recommending that underrepresented people should have our ideas presented in the legislature by someone who actually agrees with us. The Green party, for example, will need a lot more than three per cent to take a riding victory, but with three per cent across the province, doesn’t it make sense that someone from that party should be at the table to present their concerns and ideas? Three per cent is a lot of people: according to Statistics Canada, London is just over three per cent of the population of Ontario. Does London not deserve a place at the table? In fact, London will elect four MPPs this year.
Like you, I don’t agree with everything the Green party says. In fact, I don’t agree with everything presented in any of the party platforms I’ve read this election (or any other election, for that matter). Do you? If so, I suggest you’re in the minority. I believe most people have at least one thing they don’t like about what their party of choice stands for, and that’s equally true when we’re talking about a local candidate, even if they’re your neighbour or friend.
MMP, or mixed member proportional representation, will give you the opportunity to vote for the party you like and pick a candidate from a different party if you think they’ll serve you better at home.
Another plus is that it will give more people a reason to vote. If you know that there’s a chance someone with your ideals will be heading to Queen’s Park, you’re more likely to help make that happen.
The proposed electoral system change has made me pay attention to this election, and I think it would be good to force the big parties to listen to the rest of their legislative colleagues. As is the case in the journalism business, you don’t get an accurate sense of reality by always listening to the same people.