Sunday, July 15, 2007

MMP: Issues of concern-- will the gov implement it?

At Babble, there is a discussion regarding the campaign for MMP.

One poster quotes an email from NDP MPP Peter Kormos, which has circulated on a Green Party email list:

But, having said all that, what happens if there is sufficient support for the referendum question? Quite possibly, nothing. This is not, I repeat, is not, a binding referendum. All that it requires of the next government, if the referendum is successful, is that that government introduce legislation proposing the MMP structure. That's all, just that it introduce legislation proposing the MMP structure.

The bill doesn't not have to be called for second (never mind third reading) and most certainly, the bill does not have to be passed either in its original or an amended form.

I find this to be somewhat worrisome. I am campaigning to pass a particular kind of electoral reform, and I expect that version to pass.

In the same message from the Green Party email list, an email list from Elizabeth Crowley of the Communist Party of Canada writes:

On July 10th you won't be able to read the
views of any political party, candidate or
incumbent on the subject of the October 10th
referendum on Mixed Member Proportional
Representation - an electoral reform proposed
by the Citizens Assembly on Electoral Reform.

You won't see anything in candidates' or parties'
election material either. There will be nothing on
their websites and nothing in their campaign

That's because the McGuinty government has
issued Regulation 211 (an implementation
directive from the government to Bill 155 on
the Referendum) making it illegal for political
parties and their candidates to "campaign to
promote a particular result in the

Regulation 211 defines all written commentary
on the Referendum as third party advertising.
Parties are banned from putting their positions
forward, and candidates who want to express
an opinion in their election material, campaign
ads, or website, must register as Registered
Referendum Campaign Organizers under the law.
They will be required to act as third parties as well
as candidates, will be required to raise and spend
funds as third parties; will be required to file
financial reports with Elections Ontario as third
parties. This is in addition to the Elections Act
requirements for candidates and parties to file
audited financial returns for the election period
with Elections Ontario.

Clearly the intent of Regulation 211 is to ban
political parties, and gag candidates, from
participating in the very significant and
important public debate on MMP leading up
to October 10th. This is an extraordinary and
possibly unconstitutional limit on free speech
and public debate. In fact, broad and probing
public debate is exactly what is needed in
considering the proposed change to our electoral
system. The public has a right to know where
the parties and candidates stand before they vote;
and the parties and candidates have a
responsibility to state where they stand.

In view of the fact that the government and
the official opposition voted together last
spring to require a super majority of 60%
for the referendum to pass, the public has
a particular interest in knowing where
these two parties stand.

I find this information to be most disturbing.

Now....Does this mean that if I blog about it, and get a bunch of bloggers to blog about it...I am breaking the law?

Another Babbler cites a document stating that the government has pledged to implement the results of the MMP vote:

If Ontarians vote to change the electoral system, the government would be bound by the results to introduce the alternative system.

Says who?

I'm hoping that by raising these issues, the wider pro-MMP community will discuss them.

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