Ontario Citizens' Assembly to compare Mixed Member Proportional to First Past the Post

    TORONTO, April 1 /CNW/ - Members of the Ontario Citizens' Assembly on
Electoral reform chose Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) as their preferred
alternative to compare to Ontario's current system, First Past the Post.
    The Assembly will spend their next weekend meeting on April 14-15 (at
900 Bay Street in Toronto) assessing both MMP and the current system against
the principles and objectives that have guided their work, including voter
choice, proportional election results, and strong local representation. At
this meeting the Assembly will decide which system to recommend to the
government and people of Ontario. If the Assembly recommends change, the new
system will be put to Ontario voters in a referendum at the next provincial
election on October 10, 2007.
    In the MMP model the Assembly designed, voters get two votes on a single
ballot - one for a local candidate (as now) and one for a party. The share of
seats a party wins is roughly equal to the share of votes it receives. If a
party wins fewer local seats than its percentage of party votes, candidates
from its party list (published before the election) are elected to compensate
for the difference.
    "Our MMP model is built on the current system. We've added some good
features including two clear choices: one for a local member and one for a
party," Assembly member Bryan Kim said during a plenary session on Sunday. "We
still have to decide what's best for Ontario but I'm happy that we have a good
system to compare to the present system."
    An MMP system has been used in Germany since 1949. In 1993, New
Zealanders decided, through a referendum vote, to change their electoral
system from First Past the Post to MMP.
    Chair George Thomson congratulated the Assembly, "You've made a major
decision, but you have one more ahead of you: you still have to decide which
system is best for Ontario."
    The Assembly began its work last fall with an intensive learning phase in
which members studied Ontario's electoral system and others. Through the
winter, Assembly members held consultation meetings across the province and
invited written submissions from the public. This weekend marked the
Assembly's fourth deliberation meeting, two remain, and their final meeting
will be held on April 28-29 at York University's Osgoode Hall (Keele Campus)
in Toronto. All Assembly meetings are open to the public and media.
    The Assembly's report will be submitted to the government on May 15,
    Visit the Assembly's web site, www.citizensassembly.gov.on.ca, to access
learning and deliberation materials, and to learn more about members of the
Assembly. Video footage of Assembly meetings is available on TVO's Citizens'
Assembly Micro-site at www.tvo.org/citizensassembly.

    Disponible en français

For further information:

For further information: Media Contact: Barry Koen-Butt, Executive Lead,
Communications, Citizens' Assembly Secretariat, (416) 325-0752, (416)

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