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OPINION: Informed people must decide MMP

An election official hands back to a voter her marked ballot to place in the ballot box so she can cast her vote for the federal election at a polling station on Toronto's Ward Island on May 2, 2011. — Canadian Press file photo
An informed electorate must make the decision on MMP in the next P.E.I. election. File Photo

Islanders will be given, hopefully, more information that will be less confusing



There have been several meetings held for information and input for Islanders regarding how the Island electoral boundaries will look, if the vote were to favor the MMP method of voting.

I believe that the premier was very wise to put this non-partisan group of men and women to work on this purposed map for Islanders to consider.

What has been developed so far, with the elimination of nine districts, 18 districts will be what we will have in relation to elected members, with each district having approximately 5,500 Islanders in each district. We now have 27 districts with 27 elected members representing 3,500 Islanders.

Now before I go on, these meetings are taking place in very good locations and I believe well-advertised, but there hasn't been anybody turned away at the door because of over-crowding and this causes me concern.

I do hope that Islanders know that we will be voting on the question of MMP or First-Past-the-Post as the method of how we will elect our representatives in the next election.

The last time that question was asked less than 37 per cent of Islanders bothered to cast their vote. I would dare say the reason for such a dismal low turnout was because the people running the show on that question ran a very confusing information session, period.

This time around Islanders will be given, hopefully, more information that will be less confusing. I believe that the next stage that will take place, will be the legislature will take the recommendation of electoral boundary committee and vote on that.

From there, I believe that there will be information sessions on how Islanders would pick nine more people who will be selected by the different political parties to represent Islanders at large, with no electoral boundary responsibilities. There will a need of much more info to be given before there can be any decision at the ballot box.

I do hope that over the next year, before election, there will be more informed Islanders going to the polls, than the paltry 36 per cent that did the last time.

- J. Bruce MacIsaac of Charlottetown is a P.E.I. businessman and longtime political observer

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