Who will speak for electoral reform?
Toronto - Wednesday, October 10, 2007 by: Alan Heisey

I dare to think that our traditional method of elections in Ontario will be upheld by the electorate. The phrase, "electoral reform", has been usurped, in my opinion, by those who favour some form of preferential balloting.

I think the central issue in electoral reform is strengthening the reality of "one person one vote" and frankly I am hugely disappointed with the indifference of our major political parties to this principle.

I don't think many Canadians are aware that in the U.S. Congress electoral district populations are kept the same, all across their country, within 1-2%. This reality came as a shock to me because we Canadians tend to be more conscious of their gerrymandering.

The profound differences between voter equality in Canadian provinces gets much less attention from reform-minded journalists and activists than it should. After years of abuse of Saskatchewan's urban voters by small-population rural ridings an N.D.P provincial government narrowed permissible variances to +/- 5% with the exception of their two most northerly electoral districts. In practise, most districts' populations are kept within 3%!

Other provinces keep most variances within 5%, +/-, but Ontario's political parties, in their federal and provincial manifestations, downplay giant disparities between city and rural voters. Based on the 2001 census the federally-appointed re-districting commission added three new seats to the province's former total of 100. They left the smallest of the ten northern ridings with a population of 60,570 and the largest of the province with 122,565. The average population was 107,642, meaning the smallest district was 56.2% of the average and the largest was 13.8% larger than the mean.

Please understand that the re-districting commission, hesitantly, took one seat away from northern Ontario because it had been so grievously over-represented. This lead to outrage in the north, near total indifference in the Toronto media, and a campaign promise, since fulfilled by the McGuinty government, to add that northern seat back into the Ontario legislature, which is where the current total figure of 107 comes from! Also understand that the above maximum and minimum percentages are before the addition of the 11th, extra seat into Northern Ontario!!

Unhappily, neither the provincial Tories nor New Democrats challenged that outrage and so next Wednesday's provincial general election proceeds to its conclusion with not one word of discussion of one person one vote, but most of us overwhelmed by supremely-manipulated attention to proportional representation!

Federally, the situation is equally depressing. The Harper government has made plain that it will discriminate against Ontario voters by not adding to the House of Commons close to the number of seats justified by population, although it is doing so for B.C. and Alberta. (Feeble grunts of protest from some Ontario media and, entertainingly, a letter to Mr. Harper from Mr. McGuinty!)

This participant in NOMMP activities feels that its unique, joint Liberal/Conservative grassroots committee needs to stay together, powerfully, and fight the general sloth of our media and political leadership communities on this much larger, much more empowering, profoundly well understood, and profoundly ignored, principle of one person, one vote.

Alan Heisey

Return to Ensign

This page is a story posted on Ensign, a daily web site offering a variety of material from scenic images, political commentary, information and news. This publication is the work of Faster Than Light Communications . If you would like to comment on this story or you wish to contact the editor of these sites please send us email.

Editor : Timothy W. Shire
Faster Than Light Communication
Box 1776, Tisdale, Saskatchewan, Canada, S0E 1T0
306 873 2004