It’s a rainy tuesday morning and it feels like fall again. There’s something about leaving the windows open overnight and waking up to a light chill. The coffee’s hot, the cat is cuddly, and I’ve got a completed funding application in my hands ready to submit to uni-money-people today… This should be a lovely morning, but listening to the radio messed that up.
One day before the Ontario referendum. One day. And the conservative party makes it’s move on the mmp (mixed-member proportional). I’ll admit, I was expecting this a few weeks ago, but it makes a certain kind of sneaky Harper-govt sense to wait til today. The “John Tory” party is urging its supporters, as of right now, not to vote for mmp. The reason they offer is this: they want to get rid of governments (just like the twin party platform in the U.S.). They’re saying that mmp would give ‘too much power to party politics.’
Makes sense, I guess. If your goal is to let corporations run Ontario. Or if the current system creates phony majority governments (the current government won 70% of the seats with only 46% of the popular vote), and you really, really aren’t prepared to give that mess up.
While I’m not particularly proud of the Canadian government’s capitulation to big business, the solution is not to roll over and offer up parliament on the NAFTA altar. Still, this conservative party move will resonate. Two voting groups I can think of that might take the bait: 1] people who are genuinely disillusioned with Canada’s government, but think the only way to fix the system is to elect more party members who profess to hate politics as much as we do (if I wasn’t familiar with the mmp already, and didn’t have such a hate-on for scary Harper, this conservative strategy might sway me); and 2] people most likely to say things like, “We can vote with our dollar!” As an example: people who think the solution to chronic underfunding of our healthcare system is to offer ‘consumers’ (read: citizens) the ‘choice’ (read: free trade market) to sell their health as a commodity to big business.
Besides all that, it’s just sneaky and more than a little slimy to wait for the day before the referendum to push your agenda. Just another marketing strategy disguised as party politics…
An interesting thing is that the conservative party is not united on this. On that point, neither are any of the others. Reason being, there’s two ways to handle proposed governmental change: stick to parroting the party line (or lack thereof), or think for yourself.
Example: here’s a joint statement from 3 people you wouldn’t expect to ever issue a joint statement: Conservative Hugh Segal, NDP Ed Broadbent and Liberal Carolyn Bennett:
“The three of us reflect three competing, democratic, partisan traditions in Ontario. We strongly unite, however, in our commitment to an electoral system that is democratic in more than name. The Citizen’s Assembly on Electoral Reform produced an imaginative and practical proposal that will give us more choice, fairer results and stronger representation. We urge all Ontarians to come together and vote for MMP.”
My only question. After we vote tomorrow, how are the ballots going to be counted? Seriously. Will it be the usual horse-race, or will they be counting every vote before claiming a win or lose?