Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Electoral Reform At Random

The next time you get a letter in the mail telling you that you may already be a winner, it won't be from Publishers Clearinghouse, and it sure as hell won't be for any bloody $10 million:

A new citizens assembly will look at whether Ontario's first-past-the-post electoral system still serves the democratic needs of its citizens.

Democratic Renewal Minister Marie Bountrogianni announced yesterday that an assembly of 103 Ontario residents chosen from the Permanent Register of Electors will debate which electoral system would best suit the province.

"In order for Ontario to be strong, our democracy has to be strong," Bountrogianni said.

Any recommendation the assembly makes for change would be put to the general public in a referendum for possible implementation in 2011, she said.

Among the options that could be considered by the assembly would be proportional representation -- allocating seats in the Ontario legislature by the percentage of vote.

William F. Buckley once said that he'd rather be governed by the first 2,000 names in the Boston phone book than 2,000 Harvard faculty members.

Perhaps this is the same sort of thinking at work in drawing 103 people off the electoral rolls to debate and propose electoral reform.

Or perhaps it will be a completely cynical exercise--pick 103 random ignorami who can't tell STV from SCTV, and don't really care, to provide the supposed blessing of the people to whatever the experts controlling the assembly decide is best.

Some sort of electoral reform is desirable. But I'm not sure this is the best way to go about it.

Source: Toronto Sun

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