Ontario Election Post-Mortem

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Well, the Ontario elections came and went. My call of a Liberal majority was accurate. But, really, a retarded monkey could have called that one. My prediction of the seat distribution, though, was well off. I was basing it on my prediction of the popular vote, though, which, given our first-past-the-post system, would not yield an accurate view.

This is how the actual seat distribution finally came down:

Liberals – 71
Conservatives – 26
NDP – 10
Green – 0

This is how I called it:

Liberals – 59
Conservatives – 34
NDP – 13
Green – 1

D-Mack sends us his computation of what the following breakdown of seats would have been, had proportional representation been in play:

Liberals – 45
Conservatives – 34
NDP – 18
Green – 9
Other – 1

Well, I wasn’t too far off in my prediction, in a parallel, proportionally represented universe.

The sad bit is that the proposal to bring in MMP (mixed member proportional representation) was soundly defeated, with only five ridings supporting it –all, unsurprisingly, in downtown Toronto, in traditional NDP strongholds. I had foolishly predicted that MMP would win out, but that was mostly wishful thinking. All the signs were there that it would fail.

There are good reasons for voting against MMP, but I don’t think that’s why it lost out. These are the true reasons it lost:

  1. The threshold for adoption was wayyyy too strict. (Mind you, the votes didn’t even approach that threshold);
  2. MMP is a confusing system to understand, even for those of us who have invested some time in thinking about it;
  3. People tend not to choose change unless it’s been heavily marketed to them, and unless the status quo is truly overbearing –neither of which is the case;
  4. The only media bytes that mentioned MMP were negative ones.

What MMP needed was a non-governmental body to champion it to the people, to put on TV commercials and pay for print ads. Sure, there were some signs up on roadways, but no one knew what they were all about.

My concern now is that efforts at electoral reform will be summarily quashed. And I wonder if a Citizen’s Assembly really was the best way to go about it. A better way might be for the government to simply introduce an electoral reform bill, and let members vote on it. Problem there, of course, is that it is not in the ruling party’s interest to mess with the status quo.

The remaining issue is the fate of Conservative leader John Tory. Here is a genuinely likable guy with great personal conviction and dignity. He said a stupid thing about faith-based schools, and on principle refused to distance himself from it. He chose to run in an urban riding heavily stacked against him, again on principle, since if he was going to lead the “urban renewal” of the Conservatives, he was going to do so as an example to his compatriots. He lost the government and his own seat, all because of his principles. And now he refuses to step down as party leader.

His caucus will eat him alive behind closed doors. One has to question the man’s judgment. Is he so out of touch with reality? The government was his to snatch, and instead he squandered it by embracing a fatally unpopular –and unnecessary– policy till the end. I am curious to see what the immediate future holds for Mr. Tory.