So where's McGuinty's "majority"?
The devil is in the detail!
After Ontarians went to the polls
last October, literally one headline among many similar ones
hollered "McGuinty wins massive majority". Once the
bigger truth be told, a factual picture emerges that supports what
Ontarians have felt in their very fibre, that there is an extensive
and growing gap between what the citizens of Ontario want and what
their elected do.
Within Ontario's and the rest of
Canada's parliamentary democracy system, the functional purpose of
elections is to translate the people's votes - "the will of the
people" - into seats in parliament. Are Ontario's
election outcomes a faithfull translation of the will of the people?
The fact that McGuinty's liberals
"captured" 71 of 107 seats, that is more than 66%, with
only 42.2% of the popular vote, ought provide pause. Another
disquieting fact beyond dispute, is that on average, only 53% of
Ontario's electorate believed the election would actually make a
difference and went out and voted!
When the whole truth be told, only a
pathetically meagre 33 of Ontario's 107 seat provincial parliament
were actually elected by a majority of those that showed up at the
polls! That is, in 74 of 107 constituencies, more people voted
for someone other than the one elected!
This represents a "massive
majority"? But wait! Among those 33 actually
elected by a majority, stands the premier elect, Donald McGuinty, at
the rump end of the class of 33, having achieved but the barest of
razor thin majorities possible at 50.029%! Further down, at
the bottom of the barrel of 107 elected, there is none other than
McGuinty's fellow Liberal, Yasir Naqvi of Ottawa Centre, where over
65% of those who voted, did not have confidence in Naqvi!
Nor does Naqvi's team-mate Khalil Ramal, of London-Fanshawe have much to write home about either.
While Ramal bested Naqvi by garnering 38.9% support to Naqvi's
34.9%, however with only 49% of the London-Fanshawe's electorate
believing that their vote could make a difference, this means that
less than one in five of London-Fanshawe's electorate actually voted
Should there be a Doubting Thomas,
who believes these numbers are not for real, please be reminded that
Elections Ontario information is open to the public and no one need
even identify themselves in order to get the information!
A copy of the candidate by candidate results for all 107 districts
is also available here.
By contrast to McGuinty's record, and
based on public media reports, Howard Hampton was considering
throwing in the towel after his poor showing. Turning another
publicly stated statistic on its head, since McGuinty, with only 42%
of the votes received more than 66% of seats, this
"overrun" in seats means the other 58% of the population
are left with only 34% of the seats!
Digging deeper into Elections
Ontario's records, Hampton, to his credit and this by a wide margin,
achieved not only the highest percentage of vote among all the other
political leaders, he also stands near the front of the entire class
of 107. Only 4 other MPPs achieved a higher plurality!
Back to McGuinty's fabled
Further to the current electoral
system awarding 66% of the seats to the party that only received 42%
of the votes, of the 71 Liberal seats, only a paltry 24, including
McGuninty, were elected by a majority of their constituents.
Consider as well, fellow partisan
Sandra Pupatello of Windsor West. On the face of it, Pupatello
achieved a plurality of 50.18%. However with Windsor West
having the lowest turnout in the province at 40.35%; in real terms,
considering the total electorate, Pupatello did little better than
Ramal and was supported by just over one in five, (20.25%) of
Windsor West's electorate!
Applying this democratically relevant
measure and turning to all of Ontario's 107 MPPs, not one of them
merited the confidence of a majority of their total electorate!
By contrast, following Saskatchewan's recent provincial election,
nearly 14% or about the equivalent of Ontario's 15 MPPs actually
achieved majority support from their total electorate. One of
them, with a 71% plurality and a 79% turnout, factually received an
endorsement from 56% of the constituents! Ontario's best?
All under 37%!
These numbers, in no uncertain terms
provide a factually supported picture that there is much
justification for Ontarians across the political spectrum
experiencing an extensive gap between what the citizens of Ontario
want and what their elected do.
However, the partisans who had and
have control of Ontario's parliament, aided and abetted by other
partisan controlled groups like FairVote and EqualVoice also ensured
that Ontarians so-called "Citizens Assembly on Electoral
Reform" never came up with an alternative that advanced
democracy, but would increase the party hierarchies ability to
inflate the "overruns" even further, with what more
properly ought to have been called a party controlled proportional
Had Ontario's "Mixed Member
Proportional" (MMP) referendum been on a 107 local plus 39
party proportional sized parliament, instead of the 90 plus 39, then
the 107 "local" component of MMP, which would be run
exactly by the same rules as the current election, could and likely
would have produced each and every one of the above democratically
deplorable outcomes, except the parties would have had the
additional opportunity to stuff the legislature with 39 more of
their choosing! Ontarians had good reason to give a big thumbs
down to MMP as an "electoral reform" improvement!
Not one of the MMP proponents can say so differently and make it
stick. (For more of these details pleas see FPTP
Bad! MMP Worse!!!)
What would improve the current make
up of Parliament and close the gap between what the citizens want
and their elected do? Two tiny tweaks to the current system!
First, instead of restricting voters choice to a single-mark-ballot,
allow citizens to vote 1, 2, 3... for as many of the candidates as
they choose. Then continue to count the ballots exactly they
way it is done presently. However, instead of using the silly
test that leads to phony majorities and see no further than which
candidate "has the most votes", verify if any candidate
has a true majority and if not, redistribute the ballots of the
weakest candidate on the basis of the second choice and repeat if
necessary with the next weakest, etc, until one candidate has the
confidence of a majority.
Further refinements are possible,
however these two very tiny changes to the present system, almost
insignificant in comparison to the huge changes that MMP would have
required, would have all but eliminated McGuinty's opportunity for a
phony majority, and instead of 58% of the people being left with 34%
of the seats; under a preferential ballot system - voting 1, 2,
3...- then 100% of the 107 would at least have the respect and
confidence of a majority. Does not democracy at a minimum
require "majority rule"?