What Ontario’s election tells us about electoral reform

Op-ed: My latest in the Citizen, on the potential for democratic reform in the wake of last week’s provincial election in Ontario.

Ottawa Citizen

Last Thursday, Kathleen Wynne and the Ontario Liberal Party converted just under 39 per cent of the popular vote into a solid legislative majority. With turnout at about 52 per cent, the support of roughly one in five eligible voters proved sufficient to win 58 of 107 seats in the provincial assembly.

Meanwhile, according to Elections Ontario, 31,399 voters formally declined their ballots. Just 2,335 did so in 2011.

Last week’s election was the latest in a long line at all levels of government spotlighting the country’s growing democratic deficit, and voters’ increasing frustration with the status quo.

Paradoxically, that same election has produced a government seemingly willing to do something about it. The Liberals made local democratic reform a plank of their platform, committing to allow municipalities the option to experiment with ranked ballots. They are now positioned to make good on that promise.

Certainly electoral reform, whatever…

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