Magazine article New Internationalist

Big Babies

Magazine article New Internationalist

Big Babies

Article excerpt

Political life can sometimes give you flashes of democracy's real potential. I recently had the opportunity to witness one of these. A couple of years back, the Government of the Province of Ontario (Canada's most populated province), where I live, put together an assembly made up of interested citizens - one picked from each electoral riding - to explore whether the present first-past-the-post electoral system was the best we could do. After a year of deliberation and close study they decided no' - that the system was unfair in a number of ways. Instead, they proposed an electoral system that would give contending political parties the number of seats dictated by their percentage of the votes. This would allow every citizen's vote to count (not just those who voted for a winner in their particular riding) and also give smaller parties a better chance to win seats. The idea will now go to referendum. Whatever the result, the way these non-experts came to grips with the intricacies and implications of potential electoral models was truly impressive. …

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