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New election scheme voted down handily

The small pencils wielded by millions of Ontario voters were worn out on Oct. 10 picking who would get into government and the process by which future governments would be determined.

The referendum choice came down to keeping the first-past-the-post or switching to a mixed-member proportional representation system.

At press time, the existing system won in 101 ridings with a total of 63.3 percent of votes cast, as forecasted by observers in the run-up to referendum day.

Under the proportional representation scheme, 90 redistributed ridings would replace the existing 107 ridings, and each party would submit an ordered list of candidates before each election. Voters would pick both a local representative and a preferred political party.

An additional 37 MPPs would be selected from the tops of the parties’ submitted lists, distributed according to the percentage of the vote attained by each party.

For proportional representation to pass, it would have needed to win in 64 of 107 ridings and achieve 60 percent support province wide. In the event of a victory, Queen’s Park would need to pass the new system into law by Dec. 31, 2008.

Since Confederation, Ontarians have faced only five referenda — in 1894, 1902, 1919, 1921, and 1924 — and each of those dealt with alcohol.

Vaughan Today
Friday, October 12, 2007
Page: 4
Byline: José Machado