An answer to low voter engagement

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Sean in Ottawa
An answer to low voter engagement

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Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Charismatic leaders?  Leaders who can actually motivate folks to vote? Remember Trudeau-mania? I'm in Quebec, but I come from Ottawa, so I watched this race from afar. I didn't find any of McGuinty, Hudak, or Horwath inspiring in the least - this was the most boring election I've seen in a while. All I wanted was for someone to stop Hudak - that's the extent of my interest. McGuinty and Horwath were at least competent, I have to admit, which is more than I say for that prick Hudak.

I remember Bill Davis - he one day was serving free "Davis Burgers" on the Sparks Street Mall in Ottawa during one of his elections, and I was on welfare, so I took advantage of the opportunity to get free food. It was a long time ago but I still remember the event. I got a chance to talk to Davis, and I thanked him for his work as Education Minister. He was full of bonhomie, good natured, and interested in having a chat. I could see then why he was a natural at politics.

dacckon dacckon's picture

Or mandatory voting with a none of the above option to make it fair.

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Parliaments that enact legislation for the good of the majority.  Most people who don't vote likely believe that all politicians are basically the same and cannot be trusted to keep their promises.  In Ontario the broken promises of the Rae government, while not in the forefront, seem to be still an underlying current.  

In Ontario over 70% of the people who voted, voted for right wing parties.  The biggest obstacle to getting a left wing government in Canada are clearly the voters who live in the centre of the universe.  

Sean in Ottawa

Ontario posted a terrible voter turnout-- and this is a worsening problem. I think I know part of the problem.

Parties try to play it safe on the big issues and discuss till we all tune out minor stuff. When they pretend it is major they lose even more credibility.

In Ontario the campaign was dominated by two issues:

1) The issue of "foreign workers" from Hudak responding to a small jobs program for immigrants. The program and Hudak's response were examples of bad boutique policy emphasis in an election. Taking up the air with unimportant issues so you never have to talk of anything important.

2) Then the HST on heating and Hydro. Andrea talked her head off of it. You would think it was a real life changer that would affect homelessness and poverty. Well. HST part of tax is 5%. Most spend no more than $200 on utilities. Comes to $10 per month.

We don't talk about the big issues because our gutless parties fill the air with safe meaningless crap. They would rather have an issue that affects everyone by a dime than a few people by a lot. That is a mistake. People are sick of the politicians making a big deal out of little. If the people who are feeling the pressure of a weak economy, crappy low wage part-time jobs, rising costs of living and housing choose a $10 utility tax as a priority it is because they were given really shitty options. No wonder most stay home. We need people to stop talking about change as a concept associated with micro policies and instead show us policies of change. In the meantime stop using the word.

Since I am a New Democrat living in Ontario I wrote a letter to the NDP saying why I thought we should do better than this and why I think the NDP could only manage 10% of eligible voters with a majority staying home. 23% support from an electorate where more people stay home than vote is not good enough. Having a party almost win a majority with less than 18% of eligible voter support is a joke.

People are suffering and fed up with the low value debate, imagination-free policy discussion. If HST on heating and hydro is the best you can come up with-- put bluntly, you don't deserve to get elected. Sorry and I am a NDP member.

The NDP did come up with one significant idea-- not to give tax cuts to corporation that did not earn them by creating jobs: A good idea buried by a low value one on the HST. If the parties can't set more appropriate priorities-- even identify their higher value items to emphasize in speeches why should we trust them? And why can't they do better. Here is my letter to the ONDP including policy debate discussions that are a higher value and impact:

*************

I'm a party member. I was hung up on by policy staff when raising an important issue (needing enviro and energy efficiency standards for rentals rather than more and more money for home-owner retrofits) last time I made contact with you.

Nice to see NDP with more seats but it could have gone better. The low turnout should be a waring for all parties. The NDP in particular needs to give reason for non voters to get out. That the party needs to be more in touch and more responsive to members is one thing.

More specifically there is a serious disconnect on the issues: All parties are focusing on safe small issues that mean little t most people even if they affect all of us. Taking HST off home heating and hydro for example. These cost most of us maybe $200/month so at 5% total value of change is $10/month. We are in more serious shape than to spend the campaign talking about something this small. Nice supporting policy but not for a central plank for your campaign.

In most speeches you buried the more important issue of not giving tax cuts to business that do not create jobs to repeat this small policy ad nauseum.

Many other issues including the one I tried to raise were not discussed at all or too little like specifics on healthcare.

All parties must be more thoughtful, more creative and do a lot more policy work in preparing platforms if they want people to vote. And yes they need to take some risks. Let's be honest in third party position, taking a risk is less of a deal. The NDP could put forward real progressive ideas and debate them. Like having all car owners in cities pay a tax to make public transit free. Then those who have a car can consider more bus use, rush hours would be reduced and the plan makes sense financially, environmentally and socially.

What is our education policy? Cutting fees to those who perform better might be a way to reward hard working students and is a step to lower costs based on merit in order to stop the best students from being shut out due to rising costs.

What about new technologies for hydro. WE have limited programs for people to create electricity and lag other countries.

What about made-in-Ontario buses? Why can't we find and retrofit some closed auto plant and make buses/trains for transit users in Ontario-- high energy efficient.

What is the jobs plan-- we need an industrial strategy that is better than letting publicly owned companies from other countries export our jobs to them while we sleep at the switch.

What about a new approach to minimum wage. Rather than increasing the rate causing difficulty for smaller business why can't we take the income tax off minimum wage earners to give them a bump in pay they can spend to stimulate the economy without making their labour a more expensive commodity?

Can we look at a different way than a housing tax to support municipalities? No wonder we have so many homeless when we run an entire jurisdiction on a tax on a single essential service- housing. Let's have a commission on alternatives for funding cities that will not increase housing costs which are rising far beyond inflation and wages are not keeping up. Can we look at an auto tax in place of a property tax? How about luxuries? Would it be better to have a third income tax and relieve property tax altogether? Or perhaps only tax properties when they are sold or inherited? Don't decide on this yourselves have a public examination of the issue first.

Perhaps not all these would be great policies but what they have in common is that they are significant-- some might not like them but they could make voting worthwhile for others. Would sure beat debating a $10 a month tax for a whole month and then wondering why people are not inspired to come out and vote.

 

Unionist

dacckon wrote:

Or mandatory voting with a none of the above option to make it fair.

Naw - an option that reads: "I only voted to avoid being fined or jailed."

And if that option gets the most votes, then whoever proposed mandatory voting gets fined or jailed.

Justice. Coming soon to a polling booth near you.

 

Unionist

Er - Sean, on a more serious note: All those promises mean nothing. The NDP came to power 20 years ago and broke its promises. That's why they've been toast in Ontario for a generation.

If you want to improve voter engagement, I have two proposals:

1. Keep one or two promises if you are ever elected again in this century. People will remember that.

2. (Much more important.) Have party activists engage with "voters" - in their real-life struggles in workplaces, schools, communities, social movements. Once people see how party activists fight and lead, they may be more interested in voting so as to secure legislative and governmental support for what people are already doing in real life. Then the "platforms" will become less relevant, because people will already know what the party stands for without having to listen to condescending media releases during a condescending campaign.

Sean in Ottawa

Before we make voters have to choose isn't it fair that we give them some real choices on issues more important than say $10 a month? I am not saying the policy is bad or worthless but is it really worthy of almost completely monopolizing debate for a month?

So for all those living in an apartment that includes utilities-- what reason did the NDP give them to come out and vote?

There is a good reason none-of-the-above was the popular option.

I voted. I always do.

Was I inspired? No.

Did ANYONE including my party speak to ANY of my priorities. No.

I picked the best of a weak field.

Yay.

Was there a difference? Yes. But I am a political junkie. I can split those hairs. I have time, knowledge and background to do so. For most people the few understandable policies amounted to a pile of politicians distracted by minutia failing to discuss the things changing my life for the worse. By suggesting that my life would be better in any meaningful way by the HST coming off my heating and Hydro bills, the NDP showed that it did not know what my real issues are or was too gutless to engage them. I already know the other parties are hostile to anything that matters to me but I don't expect lip-service on social justice from the NDP and I'm getting too much of that lately. Sorry to the hyper partisans but this is as long a way from an election as it is going to get and we better start this conversation or the next election will suck as bad as the last.

Sean in Ottawa

Hi Unionist--

I like your second point

(On the first the NDP did keep promises towards equlaity and settling land claims and they cost billions in their first budget so I don't accept that the NDP in 1990 broke all promises-- public auto was a biggie though-- still would rather not debate a generation old screw-up)

To me it does not even matter if they would keep their promises now-- nobody is talking of much that is important so it does not matter either way.

I'll acknowledge the Liberal plan to roll back tuition 30% is a real policy -- let's see if they do it. Beyond that what life-changing policies were even suggested?

The NDP plan to roll back tax cuts to corps and reward those who create jobs -- well that was the NDP's only major proposal I saw. Will they press for it? Let's see. But the Cons and Liberals don't need the NDP to govern.

First step is to start talking of things that matter again -- then we can talk about keeping those promises because if they don't talk about what matters they will never be in a position to keep or break any promises.

BTW-- I think Horwath is fantastic-- great communicator -- like her style and approach. Just add some real policies and she could be a winner. Then yes, you are right-- keep those policies. In the meantime how would we know if they would keep any?

Polunatic2

Turnout in yesterday's Ontario election was less than 50%, probably a record low and big plummet from 2007. 

One of the factors is the first past the post voting system which leads many voters to conclude that there's no point voting because they're in a "safe" riding and that they would be wasting their vote (and their time). 

Ontarians had a chance to run this election under a proportional representation system but rejected Mixed Member Proportional voting in the 2007 referendum. It seems that voters would rather not vote at all than vote democratically. Go figure.

Had the referendum been successful, it was expected that turnout would have improved although obviously that's impossible to prove. 

p.s. - Had it succeeded, the NDP would have won 23% of the seats (30/129) instead of 16% of the seats that they did win (17/104) with 23% of the vote. 

Caissa

I support mandatory voting. I'm quite prepared that it is a citizen's obligation to take part in the democratic process, however flawed it currently is.

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

BTW-- I think Horwath is fantastic-- great communicator -- like her style and approach. Just add some real policies and she could be a winner. Then yes, you are right-- keep those policies. In the meantime how would we know if they would keep any?

Therein lies the rub.  

The NDP when it promises things like HST rebates it is trying to sell something that people at least will believe they can deliver.  The big social justice issues require fundamental changes to our societal institutions and the NDP in Ontario did not seem to highlight any direction towards the kinds of fundamental changes that would be required.  

The people who are being exploited the most in our society are the ones who are the lest likely to vote.  Political parties, because they have to appeal to the people who actually do go to the polls, end up offering very little to the marginalized. No sweeping changes to address poverty instead HST reductions for the people who have jobs, own a home and vote.   

In BC there is now more talk about serious change but then I live in the province with the ongoing shame of being the poverty capital of Canada.  Dix is talking about serious change and talks about engaging the unengaged young voters.  We shall see.  

The idea of government itself has been under attack in BC for longer than any other province.  The 1983 Restraint Program made BC one of the first jurisdictions in the world to openly and enthusiastically embrace Milton Freedman's neo-fascism.  Since then every government has looked at ways to cut costs.  That included the NDP governments of the 90's.  They spent a lot of political capital on balancing the books and then got no praise in the right wing press and instead are still vilified for being less than 3% wrong on their budget forecasts. To balance those books they did unpopular things like freezing spending on programs for people with disabilities and introduced welfare "reforms" that negatively impacted on the people in the system.  Dix has an uphill battle to convince the marginalized in BC that any party cares about their lives.  He needs to convince the disposed that he will speak for them.  If he convinced only 15% of non-voters to vote that would bring the popular vote to only about 65% but it would mean a comfortable NDP majority 

genstrike

Caissa wrote:

I support mandatory voting. I'm quite prepared that it is a citizen's obligation to take part in the democratic process, however flawed it currently is.

I think a democratic process is something which happens more than once every four years.  Therefore, I support mandatory black bloc-ing

Caissa

Was that an attempt to live up to your signature genstrike? 8^)

Fidel
Gaian

A letter that one naive hopeful got into a local paper on the eve of election:
The Editor:

"Those seniors now waiting in long lines for entry to a long term care facility will not be relieved to hear the accumulating polling results for Thursday's election. It will be rather too late for them to benefit, but those of us who will be needing care down the line might now perhaps expect better, it seems.

Those people on social assistance whose special diets were eliminated in the name of balanced budgeting can expect to benefit much sooner since a return of funding for those with special dietary needs acan be accommodated without waiting for construction of more "homes," always a project requiring several years in process.

And the single mother trying to live on social assistance that leaves her some $9,000 below the poverty line, a social reality in Ontario, may now find her situation bettered somewhat.

That can be read into those polls since there's now the possibility of a minority government in which a second party of proven social conscience will hold feet to the fire on these issues. That would not be too shabby an outcome."

And, somehow, that naive letter-writer still believes that it was the best possible outcome, if the productivity of past minority governments for the marginalized is any indication. Mind you, the intellectuals of the province, and the poor-me twenty somethings will yawn and turn to their distractions - beer on campus is always a chugalug winner. But perhaps that really, really meaningful election outcome will yet arrive and save them all from having to decide...or even having the opportunity to. C'est la vie.

milo204

more people might vote if there was a system that promoted involvment and actual democracy as opposed to what we have now.  People don't care because the only involvment they have is limited to spending five minutes putting an X on a piece of paper once every few years.

Also, since most of the parties have essentially the same stance on most major issues, it makes it irrelevant for most people.  I think that changed somewhat when the NDP became opposition, but still our system sees to it that people have little or involvment in the political system.  It's really hard for the average person who doesn't have several hours a day to read news to make any sense of it or see through the propaganda, so they tune out.

it's like if someone asked me to vote in a referendum on some really hard chemistry problem.  i don't know anything about it other than very general concepts, i don't have the knowledge to make a good choice so i most likely wouldn't participate since i don't know really what i'm voting for anyways.

Gaian

From tht link: "2007's election, until now Ontario's worst for voter turnout at 52%, broke a record set in 1923."

And, of course, all the history buffs will know what moved the voters (not) in 1923 in Ontario and elsewhere.... Fear. Strange, I don't see it listed in this thread. Have I missed it?

takeitslowly

the answer to low voter engagement?

 

people are more self involved than ever.

Many people have 2 jobs and work long hour. People don't want to take time off work regardless of what the law says. The energy it takes to commute to a polling station does not out weight the benefits.

Nothing in the ndp platform moves me as a renter. I voted because Jack would have wanted us to.

JKR

Here are a few suggestions:

- Fair voting/proportional representation .
- Telephone/cell phone voting.
- Internet voting.
- Mail-in voting.
- Make a set voting day a statutory paid holiday.

 

takeitslowly

thats really insightful, WD!

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Decent progressive polices - and a leader who inspires!

genstrike

Caissa wrote:

Was that an attempt to live up to your signature genstrike? 8^)

Well, I believe I won that title for opposing compulsory voting in one of Brian White's many threads on the topic, so one could say that yes it is.

ReeferMadness

To those who advocate mandatory voting:

People who don't vote obviously don't think it's worth the trouble to take an hour out of one day once every 4 years to vote.  That says something about the state of our democracy.  I know it may seem easy and satisfying to simply make everyone go to the polls but what makes you think that non-voters will improve democracy?

Maybe there is a way to improve the situation that is less fascist in its approach?  How about we think of some things that may make democracy more meaningful?  I know it may seem tougher but sometimes doing things right is just better than taking the easy way.

Thanks!

Wilf Day

Polunatic2 wrote:

Ontarians had a chance to run this election under a proportional representation system but rejected Mixed Member Proportional voting in the 2007 referendum.

Not exactly. Across Ontario, 63.1% voted against MMP. About 31% were simply against proportional representation. Many more were voters who wanted all MPPs to be personally elected, not on closed lists. Many more were voters who wanted all MPPs to be locally anchored, not on province-wide lists. Another 7.5% were voters outside Toronto who disliked province-wide closed lists even more than Toronto voters did.

It is easy to see the correlation between distance from Toronto and rejection of the model.

Region,. . . . . . . . percent against MMP
Toronto:. . . . . . . . . . . . 55.6%
Peel Region: . . . . . . . . . 61.5%
York Region: . . . . . . . . . 61.7%
Central West:. . . . . . . . . 62.6%
Hamilton-Halton-Niagara: . 64.0%
Central East (Barrie to Brockville): 65.1%
Southwest: . . . . . . . . . . 65.4%
East:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67.3%
North: . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71.3%

Is this just because Toronto voters are more progressive? But compare York Region’s six ridings with Ottawa’s seven ridings. York Region voted 8.1% NDP and 6.7% Green. Ottawa voted 12.3% NDP and 8.7% Green. Yet York Region voted 38.3% for MMP, while Ottawa voted only 34.9% for MMP. And look at Northern Ontario, which voted 36.7% NDP and 4.1% Green – the two parties that supported MMP – yet only 28.7% for MMP.

http://wilfday.blogspot.com/2011/10/did-ontarians-reject-province-wide.html

Wilf Day

ReeferMadness wrote:

How about we think of some things that may make democracy more meaningful?  I know it may seem tougher but sometimes doing things right is just better than taking the easy way.

Agreed. Federally the NDP has supported PR (with a 5% threshold) since 2003, and this year's convention overwhelmingly supported a resolution “That the federal New Democratic Party make electoral reform and proportional representation a priority issue within the coming sessions of parliament and in communities across Canada.”

The resolution was submitted by Palliser riding, in Saskatchewan, where NDP voters elected none of the province’s 14 MPs despite casting 32.3% of the votes, enough to elect five MPs.

In Ontario the NDP has supported a regional MMP model since the 2002 convention.

dacckon dacckon's picture

Look, we already pay taxes. You might as well take 15 minutes out of your day to decide how much taxes you pay (and others) and where they will be redistributed. We have the laziest type of democracy, representative democracy. You pick some guy who has roughly the same principles as you to vote on your behalf. Often, they vote in line with the party and ocassionally based on political oppertunism.

I think that compulsory voting overall increases voter turnout by 7 to 16 percent. Whats the point of having a democracy if noone bothers to vote?

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

dacckon wrote:

I think that compulsory voting overall increases voter turnout by 7 to 16 percent. Whats the point of having a democracy if noone bothers to vote?

I see the problem from the other side.  How can you call this a democracy if people don't even vote every 4 years.  Forcing them to vote will not improve democracy it will only improve voter turnout and they are not the same.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I can see voters voting their resentment against the party that forced them to vote. Laughing

Sean in Ottawa

If we were to agree that there are serious problems with our democracy beyond turnout-- such as the way votes are counted, the power of MPs, the choices presented by the parties-- would it be fair to say that making people vote and suggesting they are the weakness in the system is a form of victim blaming?

Another point against mandatory voting: some people spend the time to get engaged to understand what is being said and make a choice-- don't we devalue their efforts by having people randomly select an option to satisfy a legal requirement? How can you legislate taking time to know what to do in the voting booth and is it fair if those who put in the effort are outvoted by those who do not-- against the will of those people? Some people who don't understand the process want to not vote and let those who do make a choice because they respect that knowledge. Is that a valid choice?

Would masses of people forced to vote create even more power to propaganda? The more informed and engaged you are the harder to move your vote with a slick ad. What of vote selling? I care about my vote and would not put a price on it-- but perhaps I could buy the support of people who do not care and do not want to vote. Would voter corruption go up?

I have long argued for mandatory voting and in principle I agree it is not much to do and is a duty of a citizen. On principle it is a fair idea that people should come together and share their views to create the best possible government. My problem is all the many years I have argued this-- I have been unable to answer the questions I am now raising and when people have raised them with me I have been less and less able to accept them as trivial.

Even the fact that we are discussing widespread problems in our democracy-- and say it is at least partly due to low turnout-- is this like taking away pain receptors so our democracy cannot feel its heart attack until it dies? Maybe turnout is an essential measure to test how our democracy is doing.

On a personal level I will encourage everyone to vote. I would also encourage them to know what they are doing when they vote. I tell people to vote on their own interests -- including solidarity and concern for others-- rather than the expression of other people's interests. I also tell people not to listen to people who might no more about the system but also have different interests. I say there is no good or bad PM so much as one good for you or bad for you and that definitely is a different answer for different people. I am still tempted by mandatory voting but am far less categorical about it than I was because I cannot find satisfactory answers to these questions.

We have had discussions here in which people like me have said only lazy people do not vote only to have very strong impassioned and reasoned arguments that convinced me that there are at least some people who have very good, thought-out  reasons for not voting. We fought on these threads about this. For all that anguish-- have we not learned something from those discussions? Now that I know this is a political expression -- how can I argue to remove or bury this form of political expression? The fact that low voter turnout is being seen as an emergency by many perhaps is a sign that it is working.

For me this issue has become more complicated. Can anyone help address these points as I have been forced into the undecided on the strength of good arguments I have been unable to refute in spite of my principled belief that people ought to vote?

ReeferMadness

Northern Shoveler wrote:

  Forcing them to vote will not improve democracy it will only improve voter turnout and they are not the same.

Exactly.

JKR

Wilf Day wrote:

Federally the NDP has supported PR (with a 5% threshold) since 2003, and this year's convention overwhelmingly supported a resolution “That the federal New Democratic Party make electoral reform and proportional representation a priority issue within the coming sessions of parliament and in communities across Canada.”

The resolution was submitted by Palliser riding, in Saskatchewan, where NDP voters elected none of the province’s 14 MPs despite casting 32.3% of the votes, enough to elect five MPs.

In Ontario the NDP has supported a regional MMP model since the 2002 convention.

What about the NDP governments in Manitoba and Nova Scotia?

Why don't they support fair voting/electoral reform?

The NDP governments in Manitoba and Nova Scotia could implement fair voting immediately if they chose to.

Does it make any sense to argue that fair voting is an idea worth implementing only in jurisdictions where the NDP does not rule via a phony FPTP majority?

This kind of hypocrisy weakens the electoral reform movement.

Hopefully the BC NDP will not renege on implementing electoral reform when it comes to power.

dacckon dacckon's picture

If they were to do such a thing, would it pass? Should we have a constitutional change now to resolve issues and get quebec on board to finally sign? Or should we wait(or create) for winning conditions. If there was a referendum today in manitoba/ns, would electoral reform win? Probably not, and it would be interpreted as a waste of money. Although more must be done to promote it. We have to remember what happened the U.K. recently.

JKR

dacckon wrote:

If they were to do such a thing, would it pass?

The NDP in Manitoba and Nova Scotia have majorities, so it would easily pass.

dacckon wrote:

Should we have a constitutional change now to resolve issues and get quebec on board to finally sign?

Electoral reform does not require constitutional change.

dacckon wrote:

If there was a referendum today in manitoba/ns, would electoral reform win?

A referendum is not required to pass electoral reform just as it wasn't required to establish the constitution, repatriate the constitution, implement free trade, enter into war, enact Medicare, enact income tax, etc....

Pogo Pogo's picture

Why don't we have a voting lottery.  One ticket assigned to each person who cast a ballot.  Take all money used to promote voting and use it as the lottery prizes.

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Pogo wrote:

Why don't we have a voting lottery.  One ticket assigned to each person who cast a ballot.  Take all money used to promote voting and use it as the lottery prizes.

Sounds good to me.  People will line up for a chance to win a million dollars.  So have a million dollar prize for every province.  PEI voters odds would be better than Ontario voters but thats okay.  It would likely take at least one election for it to have any effect but after the first prizes where awarded I think people would pay attention. Better a carrot than a stick. 

Pogo Pogo's picture

I was thinking of one prize per riding.  The first job of the new MP would be to give the prize to the lucky voter.  Just guessing, but I suspect that lottery participation is close to the inverse of voter participation, so this 'gimick' would be directed precisely at the people who currently are not voting.

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

To many ridings to have a big enough prize to make a difference to people.  It would be like a scratch and win ticket not a 649 prize.  At $20,000 a riding that is over 6 million bucks.  At $40,000 it comes to my tongue in check $13,000,000 commitment to a voting lottery.  Although a national prize of $5,000,000 might have an effect.

Wink

Wilf Day

lil.Tommy wrote:
Can the NDP make this embarassing turnout a way to introduce (push for) electoral reform? i.e. Online voting, reducing the voting age to 16, making election days civic holidays... oh ya and SOME form of PR (MMP perhaps would be nice, the scottish model would do best in ontario since we're a province of regions... but that's a whole-nother thread i'm sure) :P

And here's that thread.

Yes, the Scottish model is right for Ontario. The Law Reform Commission of Canada did a better job for Ontario than the Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform, which ran out of time before they could go back and look at making their model regional.

Except that polls in Scotland show voters would like to have the option of voting for a regional "top-up" candidate personally, not just for a regional list; so the Arbuthnott Commission found. Again, the Law Commission of Canada said the same thing.

So write your nearest NDP MPP and/or any other NDP MPPs you know or have contact with. Ask them to make proportional representation a priority. Remind them that the federal party at its June Convention voted "That the federal New Democratic Party make electoral reform and proportional representation a priority issue within the coming sessions of parliament and in communities across Canada.”

Remind them of Ontario NDP Policy as adopted at the 2002 Ontario NDP Convention:

"ONDP reaffirm its endorsement of a system of Proportional Representation for Ontario;

The proposed system of voting incorporate the following characteristics:

a) preservation of the traditional link between voter and MPP by keeping constituency seats;

b) two votes: one for a local constituency candidate and one for a Party's list of candidates;

c) Party lists to be developed and applied at a regional rather than provincial level;

d) restoration and enhancement of democracy through the provision of additional seats in the Legislature;

e) additional seats to be filled from Party Lists so as to offset disproportionality between the constituency elections and the popular Party vote."

Point out that the NDP's regional MMP model is NOT the flawed model produced by the Ontario Citizens Assembly which featured province-wide closed lists. That model was not saleable, especially in the North, since MPPs from province-wide lists would not be accountable to anyone but the central party or party leader. Fair Vote Ontario concluded this at our post-mortem conference shortly after the referendum. Across Ontario, 63.1% voted against MMP. About 31% were simply against proportional representation. Many more were voters who wanted all MPPs to be locally anchored, not on province-wide lists. Many more were voters who wanted all MPPs to be personally elected, not on closed lists, but open lists were not feasible province-wide. Another 7.5% were voters outside Toronto who disliked province-wide closed lists even more than Toronto voters did.

http://wilfday.blogspot.com/2011/10/did-ontarians-reject-province-wide.html

It is easy to see the correlation between distance from Toronto and rejection of the model.

Region . . . . . . . . . . . percent against MMP
Toronto: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55.6%
Peel Region:. . . . . . . . . . . . 61.5%
York Region: . . . . . . . . . . . 61.7%
Central West:. . . . . . . . . . . 62.6%
Hamilton-Halton-Niagara: . . . 64.0%
Central East (Barrie to Brockville): 65.1%
Southwest: . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65.4%
East:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67.3%
North: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71.3%

The Liberals are not necessarily interested in the NDP's regional MMP model, but they should be interested in the model produced by the Law Commission of Canada in 2004 which was very similar except for one point: "provide voters with the option of either endorsing the party “slate” or “ticket,” or of indicating a preference for a candidate within the list."