MMP and Regionalism

There have been a lot of good arguments for MMP written over the past few weeks. Some by me, (shameless self promotion!) and many more by others, (Glenn Hubbers, Andrew Coyne, and many others.) In these commentaries many great arguments have been made, but here’s one that I don’t think has got enough play. MMP helps to combat regionalism in Canadian Politics.

Regionalism has long been a major problem in Canada. For years Canadians have bemoaned the fact that if a party wins Ontario and Quebec, then they win the election (with a majority no less!) Our current minority Conservative government is primarily supported by Western Canada and rural Ontario. And, of course, the greatest testament to regionalism is the Bloc Québecois.

In our current system a political party can achieve great success by concentrating its platform and resources to one region, to the exclusion of all other concerns. Federally, how well represented are Conservatives in Toronto, Liberals in Alberta, federalists in Québec, or Greens anywhere?

Consider the following: if I wanted to set up the GTA Party (note: a Toronto Party has already been proposed.) Its platform would be to increase spending and services to the GTA. Funding for this would be accomplished by reallocating funds from the rest of the Province. Since I don’t have to worry about running in other areas of the province I can concentrate my efforts and money in the 47 GTA seats. It is reasonable to assume that my party could win most of those seats (say 45) giving my party 42% of the seats in the Legislature. Any kind of normal split in support for the remaining 4 parties throughout the rest of the province gives my GTA party control of a minority government and effectively shuts out the more fair-minded voters in the GTA.

MMP helps to fix this. By allowing all Ontarians to vote for the party of their choice, political parties must ensure that their platform is palatable to ALL voters, not just the ones in their geographical area of support.

Helping to bring an end to regionalism in Canadian politics is a very compelling reason to vote YES to MMP.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, September 29th, 2007 at 1:19 pm and is filed under MMP. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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