Class Notes (837,836)
Canada (510,504)
POLSCI 1G06 (280)
Todd Alway (280)
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Department
Political Science
Course
POLSCI 1G06
Professor
Todd Alway
Semester
Fall

Description
3. In a 2007 referendum, voters in Ontario were given the opportunity to modify the Province’s existing electoral system. The referendum question asked: Which electoral system should Ontario use to elect members to the provincial legislature? - The existing electoral system (First-Past-the-Post) - The alternative electoral system proposed by the Citizens’ Assembly (Mixed Member Proportional) Ultimately the referendum failed to pass. Elections provide a forum upon which the public can input their position on issues of national importance, however for the average Canadian citizen, the franchise is often neglected due to a plethora of reasons. Principally, voters question their impact within the political system and cite inconsistencies in election results as their justification. Through transitioning from a past the post system to an alternative electoral, more direct, proportional representation system, such as a list system, it can be argued that more consistent voter turnout, more accurate representation, and more effective accountability will result. In this essay, I will argue that moving from the current FPTP system to proportional MMP system would provide for electoral results which more accurately reflect the popular vote, better representation at the local level, and would cause no more difficulty for the voter. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the first-past-the-post system? "First-past-the-post," or FPTP, is the current method of electing MPPs and is how Canadians have traditionally chosen federal and provincial representatives. It is a winner-take-all system, where the candidate with the most votes wins a riding. The political party that wins the most electoral districts forms the government. Simplicity and familiarity are two of its greatest advantages. The system is in use in countries around the world, including Britain and the United States, and has served Ontario and Canada for generations. Disadvantages: According to John Stuart Mill, who was the first important political thinker to popularize proportional representation, he thought that the first-past the post system, which was widely used, gave too much power to the triumphant majority. An evident disadvantage to this is that the triumphant majority would then use this power to abuse the rights of minorities. Another disadvantage is that it may extinguish the smaller parties and leave certain minorities permanently underrepresented. Another disadvantage is that the winner-take-all nature of it means that the majority's voting intent may not be honored. In recent history, most Ontario voters did not want Dalton McGuinty, Mike Harris or Bob Rae as premier, yet all three were elected with majority governments. Canada’s first-past-the-post voting system is notoriously unfair. The system is based on the winner-take-all principle, which means votes and vo
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