McGuinty Government Announces Referendum Question



    Ontarians To Choose An Electoral System in Historic Referendum

    TORONTO, June 20 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government is announcing the
question that will be posed to Ontarians in a historic referendum on electoral
reform, the Minister Responsible for Democratic Renewal, Marie Bountrogianni,
said today.
    "The Citizens' Assembly has proposed a new electoral system for Ontario,"
said Bountrogianni. "In October's referendum on this option, it is crucial
that the referendum question be clear, concise and impartial. The referendum
question needs to be easy to understand and not biased toward either outcome."
    The referendum question that will be used in Ontario's October 10, 2007
referendum on electoral reform is:

    Which electoral system should Ontario use to elect members to the
provincial legislature?/Quel système électoral l'Ontario devrait-il utiliser
pour élire les députés provinciaux à l'Assemblée législative?

    The existing electoral system (First-Past-the-Post)/L'actuel système
    électoral (système de la majorité relative)

    The alternative electoral system proposed by the Citizens' Assembly
    (Mixed Member Proportional)/L'autre système électoral proposé par
    l'Assemblée des citoyens (système de représentation proportionnelle
    mixte)

    The referendum question will appear on a separate referendum ballot.
    The question is being released today to familiarize Ontarians with the
question in advance of the referendum on electoral reform.
    The government recently passed legislation that requires the Chief
Electoral Officer to undertake a non-partisan public education campaign
leading up to the referendum on electoral reform. The campaign will raise
awareness of the referendum and educate the public about the alternatives
under consideration.
    On May 15th, the Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform submitted its
report, One Ballot - Two Votes: A New Way to Vote in Ontario, to the
government. It proposed that Ontario adopt a Mixed Member Proportional (MMP)
system.
    "No government in this province has ever given citizens this kind of
opportunity to shape Ontario's democracy. On October 10th, every elector in
this province will have a chance to make the choice for themselves. Our
democracy belongs to its citizens, and it is the voters of this province that
should decide how their representatives should be elected," said
Bountrogianni.

    Disponible en français

    
                       www.democraticrenewal.gov.on.ca


    Backgrounder
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

               CREATING AN OPPORTUNITY FOR ONTARIANS TO CHOOSE
                   Ontario's Referendum On Electoral Reform
    

    The Citizens' Assembly

    The Citizens' Assembly's process, initiated in September 2006, brought
together a random cross-section of Ontarians to assess the current electoral
system and others, and recommend whether Ontario should keep the current
system or adopt a new one. This marked an historic opportunity for the
citizens of Ontario to have an impact on the future of our democracy.
    The assembly included 103 members, one from each of Ontario's ridings.
There were 52 female and 51 male members of the assembly. One member was
Aboriginal. Members of the Citizens' Assembly learned from a range of experts
about different electoral systems and led 41 meetings across the province. A
parallel citizens' assembly process for Ontario high school students was held
in November 2006 to complement the work of the Citizens' Assembly.
    The Citizens' Assembly's report, One Ballot - Two Votes: A New Way to
Vote in Ontario recommends that Ontario adopt a Mixed Member Proportional
system. The report is posted on the Citizens' Assembly's website at
www.citizensassembly.gov.on.ca. It is also be available at ServiceOntario
locations and Publications Ontario. The submission of the final report on
May 15, 2007 concluded the Citizens' Assembly process.
    A referendum on this recommendation will be held in conjunction with the
next general election on October 10, 2007.

    The Referendum

    The Electoral System Referendum Act, 2007 ensured that if a referendum on
electoral reform was required, Ontarians would have a legitimate process in
place that would deliver a clear outcome.
    This historic legislation required a referendum to be held if the
Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform recommended an alternative system for
Ontario. With the success of the Citizens' Assembly process, and legislation
that has made a referendum on electoral reform possible, the McGuinty
government is making it clear that the shape of Ontario's democracy is a
matter for Ontarians to decide.

    The Question

    The referendum legislation established that the government would set the
referendum question. It also ensured that the question be clear, concise and
impartial.
    The referendum question that will be used in Ontario's October 10, 2007
referendum on electoral reform is:

    
    Which electoral system should Ontario use to elect members to the
provincial legislature?/Quel système électoral l'Ontario devrait-il utiliser
pour élire les députés provinciaux à l'Assemblée législative?

    -   The existing electoral system (First-Past-the-Post)/L'actuel système
        électoral (système de la majorité relative)

    -   The alternative electoral system proposed by the Citizens' Assembly
        (Mixed Member Proportional)/L'autre système électoral proposé par
        l'Assemblée des citoyens (système de représentation proportionnelle
        mixte)

    The referendum question will appear on a separate ballot.

    The Decision Rule and Threshold

    A referendum decision rule sets the level of popular support required for
a referendum option to carry. A decision rule may include more than one
threshold that must be met.
    The Electoral System Referendum Act, 2007 sets two thresholds for the
referendum vote to meet:

    -   60 per cent of all votes cast provincewide, plus

    -   a simple majority of more than 50 per cent of votes cast in at least
        64 provincial ridings (the equivalent of 60 per cent or more of
        provincial ridings).
    

    British Columbia and Prince Edward Island used this decision threshold in
their respective referendums on electoral reform.
    If Ontarians vote to change the electoral system, the government would be
bound by the results to introduce the alternative system.
    The adoption of a new electoral system would represent a foundational
change to Ontario's democracy. This is an important decision that would
require the support of a solid majority of Ontarians across the province.

    The Referendum Framework

    The referendum legislation ensures that referendum voting will be
administered in a similar manner to voting in an election.
    The government created a regulatory framework that ensures integrity of
the referendum process.
    The regulation sets out the registration, transparency and contribution
rules that will govern the conduct of the referendum campaign and that will
set the rules for campaign advertising.

    Public Education

    With the recent passage of the Election Statute Law Amendment Act, 2007
the Chief Electoral Officer is required to undertake a comprehensive
non-partisan public education campaign leading up to the referendum on
electoral reform. The campaign will raise awareness of the referendum and
educate the public about the alternatives Ontarians will be asked to choose
between in the referendum.

    Disponible en français

    
                       www.democraticrenewal.gov.on.ca
    





For further information:

For further information: Sarah Charuk, Minister's Office, (416)
212-7234

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