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Proportional representation, Ontario style

by Wilfred Day

Ontario, like other provinces and Canada as a whole, has a winner-take-all voting system. If you vote for the most popular candidate in your riding, you elect a member of provincial parliament and win representation. If you vote for another candidate, you elect no one and are unrepresented. In the last Ontario election, won by Dalton

McGuinty’s Liberals in 2003, almost a million Progressive Conservative voters went unrepresented, as did more than half a million NDP voters.

When Ontarians go to the polls again next October, it may be the last time they elect a provincial parliament under this system. As they elect their MPPs, voters will also be deciding on a proposal emerging from the deliberations of the province’s Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform. The Citizens’ Assembly is about to begin public hearings as it works its way toward a recommendation to put on the referendum ballot. While we won’t know until next May what that recommendation will be, it will very likely be some form of proportional representation (PR).

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About the Author

Wilf Day


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