The question Ontarians will be asked in the October 10th referendum is: “Which electoral system should Ontario use to elect members to the provincial legislature?” Voters will then indicate a choice between the First Past the Post system and the Mixed Member Proportional system.
This question seems designed to favour the status quo. We didn’t need that; with a (possibly unconstitutional) 60% threshold required for a “yes to MMP” victory, votes for the status quo are already being weighted more heavily than votes for change. The Ontario government should have used a question following the format of the British Colombian referendum, which was “Should British Columbia change to the BC-STV electoral system as recommended by the Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform? Yes/No.”
It’s important for voters to understand that this new voting system was designed and recommended by their peers, just as sub-committees typically report recommendations to their parent committees.
So here’s the real question: why are the people in power so afraid of giving Ontarians a democratic, simple majority yes/no vote on such a fundamental issue?
UPDATE (June 22nd, 2007): The way the two options are worded addresses my primary concern. Apologies, that wasn’t in the original news report I read. Thanks to Saul for pointing it out.