QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett and Oxford MPP Ernie Hardeman will be part of hearings this week to deliberate on proposed changes to municipal elections.
The Municipal Elections Modernization Act proposes to allow municipalities to change from the present first-past-the-post system where the mayor or councilor who receives the majority of the votes wins to a system of ranked ballot. It originally allowed the change to happen with little input from voters.
During recent debate in the Ontario Legislature, Barrett commented on the proposal for ranked ballots, “. . . that stands in contrast to the long-standing tradition of first-past-the-post, which goes back hundreds of years in our British system. It goes back thousands of years, if you think of ancient Greece, for example. Think of the Greek Olympics. Much of that – thousands of years of foot races. The first one to cross the line wins.”
Oxford MPP Ernie Hardeman, the Opposition Critic for Municipal Affairs and Housing, said, “This government has put forward a bill that allows municipal politicans to change how they are elected without requiring them to consult with even a single member of the public. But the election doesn’t belong to the government or even members of the municipal council, it belongs to the people who vote in it.”
The Official Opposition is calling for a referendum so the people can decide if they want change in how they vote, not politicians. They believe people’s democratic rights need more protection. During committee debate of the bill, the Official Opposition will be putting forward an amendment requiring municipalities to hold a referendum before changing their electoral system to a ranked ballot. The referendum could be stand-alone or part of a municipal election.
The hearings into changing the Municipal Elections Act will be held Thursday, May 5 at Queen’s Park.
For more information, contact MPP Toby Barrett at 519-428-0446 or [email protected]