BY FLORENCE LARKIN
The political panel debate on CBC and Mr. Turner’s letter to the editor have inspired me to write this guest opinion in support of MMP. If the last election had been run under MMP, Mr. Turner would not have had to make a choice between his longtime friend and political party. He could have supported both. He could have voted for Mr. Dumville in his district and with his second vote, he could have voted for the party of his choice. A win-win situation.
One of the CBC political panelists commented that the NDP and the Greens were being strategic in supporting MMP just to get elected, making it sound like it was completely self-serving on their parts and therefore bad for P.E.I. I’m curious - aren’t the Liberals and the Conservatives being strategic in getting their nominees elected? Don’t they have a strategy to win (sometimes at all costs)?
Let me take the high road and suggest that perhaps the NDP and the Greens support MMP to ensure that the people who vote for them will have a voice in the Legislative Assembly. And isn’t that what democracy (a word bandied around a lot by the Liberals and the Conservatives) is all about - making sure that everyone has a say in the way they are governed? Under our current political system First-Past-the-Post (FPTP,) this seldom happens. Under MMP, this would always happen.
A final word about representation. One of the scare-mongering tactics used by the traditional parties is to say that Islanders would have less representation under MMP. In fact, the opposite is true. Islanders would have more representation. In addition to having one district MLA, they would have nine provincial level MLAs which they could go to for support. Islanders in both rural and urban areas would be able to approach any one of the nine MLAs to have their needs and interests addressed.
As an example, if you are a diehard Progressive Conservative, and a Liberal is elected in your district, you will likely find a PC you could trust and approach in one or more of the nine provincially elected MLAs.
And contrary to popular belief, these members will be voted in by the people of P.E.I. Yes, the lists will be selected by the individual parties, just like the district nominees are now selected by the individual parties. And just as people will have the opportunity to vote for their member of choice in each district, they will also have the opportunity to vote for their individual of choice on the open list of their preferred party. Another win-win situation.
With all these win-wins, isn’t it time for P.E.I. to lead the way and be the first to implement MMP. I think the next election would be a good time to start.
- Florence Larkin is a member of the P.E.I. Coalition for Proportional Representation