Greens Call for Commission on Electoral Reform in Ontario

Toronto – GPO leader Mike Schreiner believes now is the time to strengthen democracy in Ontario.  The GPO believes the record low voter turnout of only 48 percent in the 2011 provincial election underscores the need for a commission on electoral reform.
 
“We need to collaborate and build consensus on the best type of electoral reform for Ontario and across Canada,” says Schreiner.  “Politics as usual is clearly not working. It’s unacceptable that over half of voters feel so disgusted with or disempowered by our political system that they did not vote in the last provincial election.”  
 
The GPO supports replacing Ontario’s outdated First Past the Post (FPTP) system with a more democratic system of proportional representation (PR).
 
Canada is one of the few parliamentary democracies in the world that still uses the FPTP system. This voting system does not result in governments that reflect the values and wishes of voters, nor does it foster the involvement of diverse voices in decision-making. It often leads to majority governments elected by a minority of voters.
 
In contrast, PR systems in other countries result in coalition governments that foster cooperation and deliver solutions with broad support.  Our current adversarial political system protects special interests, undermines accountability, exaggerates differences and ultimately fails to address long-term challenges.  
 
“Electoral reform is a matter of fairness, transparency and accountability, so voters know their vote counts and our democracy works,” says Schreiner. “Our outdated system leaves many voters without a voice.  If you’re a Conservative in Toronto or a Liberal in rural Ontario, why bother voting when you know seats are safely held by the same party year after year?”
 
Fair Vote Canada holds their Annual General Meeting and Convention in Toronto starting today, where they will officially launch the Fair Vote Canada Action Network.  The GPO is committed to working with citizens’ groups like Fair Vote to strengthen our democracy.  
 
“We need to re-engage people, especially youth, in the democratic process,” says Schreiner.  “The GPO is committed to working with all organizations and all political parties who want to make democracy work by supporting electoral reform and proportional representation.”
 
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