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Recommendations of the Ontario Select Committee on Electoral Reform

This Article is By: Federation of Urban Neighbourhoods of Ontario    On  Dec. - 01, 2005

Some of the ideas that come from the proposed Ontario citizens’ assembly on electoral reform may well percolate down to the level of local government. This is certainly an issue that will need to be considered carefully.

-- Kingston Electors 

 

FEDERATION OF URBAN NEIGHBOURHOODS OF ONTARIO
www.urbanneighbourhoods.ca
Queen’s Park Report
December 1, 2005

RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE ONTARIO SELECT COMMITTEE ON ELECTORAL REFORM

In its final report, which was tabled in the Legislature on November 29, 2005, the Select Committee on Electoral Reform made the following recommendations:

The terms of reference for an Ontario citizens’ assembly should:

(a) invite the use of a broad set of criteria that focus not simply on the electoral system, but also recognize the possible impacts of electoral reform on the party system, the functioning of parliament, the nature of government, the representation of various components or dimensions of Ontario society, and the administration of elections, including responsibility for the determination of Ontario’s electoral boundaries;

(b) require the assembly to recommend maintaining the current FPP system or propose an alternative electoral system (or systems); and

(c) provide the assembly with the latitude necessary to recommend whatever electoral system is consistent with Ontario’s (and Canada’s) constitution.

2. Any ineligibility of elected officials for membership in the citizens’ assembly should be limited to incumbent office holders.

3. Any proposal(s) from a citizens’ assembly should be as complete as possible in the essential details, in order to provide the Legislative Assembly and voters with all the information they need to make their decisions.

4. The referendum should be binding upon a vote of 50% + 1, and the support of 50% + 1 in at least two-thirds (i.e., 71) of the ridings, or any other formula that ensures the result has support from Northern, rural, and urban areas of the Province.

5. Any referendum on electoral reform should be held in conjunction with a provincial general election.

6. Responsibility for the referendum question(s) – including the wording and number of questions to be asked, and the number of referendums to be held – rest ultimately with the Legislature, acting on the advice of the citizens’ assembly, the Select Committee on Electoral Reform, and if required, Elections Ontario.

7. Elections Ontario (or another appropriate and neutral body) should be charged with the responsibility for ensuring that every voter receives adequate information about the arguments for and against each side of any question that is put to the people. Elections Ontario (or another appropriate and neutral body) should also be asked at the earliest opportunity to prepare a plan for an effective, participatory, pro-active public education campaign, with an emphasis on enabling voters to participate in town hall meetings or other community forums.

8. Members from either side of the House should not be constrained by their party leadership from taking part in any public debate and discussion of electoral reform, and be encouraged to play a role in fostering public dialogue in their own ridings.

9. The Association of Former Parliamentarians should be asked to nominate one former Member from each of Ontario’s three legislative parties to serve in an ex officio capacity on the citizens’ assembly.

10. Reform of the electoral system should contain provisions guaranteeing a review (if not also a referendum) on the suitability of the new system, to take place not before the third and not after the fourth election held under this system. One of the criteria for this review should be a measure of the acceptance of the new system by the public.

Copies of the full report are available at

http://www.ontla.on.ca/committees/REV3%20Eng-Electoral%20Reform%20Final%20Report.pdf.

F.U.N. made a submission to the Select Committee on Electoral Reform titled Suggestions for Improving the Ontario Elections Act. This document is available at the F.U.N. website at http://www.urbanneighbourhoods.ca/elreform.pdf.

 

FEDERATION OF URBAN NEIGHBOURHOODS OF ONTARIO

www.urbanneighbourhoods.ca

An Umbrella Group of Community Associations throughout Ontario

Communities count. Civic matters.

Guelph Hamilton Kingston London Ottawa Toronto Waterloo

William J. Phillips

President

21 Dale Avenue, Suite 621

Toronto Ontario M4W 1K3

416-969-8994

funontario@rogers.com