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We on the Yes side have used Germany, New Zealand, Scotland and Wales as well-known examples of countries with Mixed-Member Proportional (MMP) electoral systems. The No side has responded with a new narrative in the last week: “But these are countries of millions of people, they can't be compared to little old P.E.I.!”
If the No side did their research, they would know that MMP is also used in many other states, provinces, and municipalities around the world. In South Africa, all municipalities designated as either metropolitan or local elect their municipal councillors using MMP.
Most of the provinces (states) of Germany use MMP, including Saarland, which is half the geographic size of P.E.I., and which has a population of less than one million.
Upper Franconia is another region of Germany within the state of Bavaria. Only slightly geographically larger than P.E.I., it elects a small group of 18 members to the Bavarian legislature, using the same open-list MMP model proposed for P.E.I., where voters directly vote for individual candidates rather than having parties “appoint” MLAs from their list. (MMP “appointments” are another myth that the No side throws around at will – and it's not true either).
The city of London (U.K.) also uses MMP (though it's known by the name Additional Member System), to elect the 25-member London Assembly, part of the Greater London Authority.
But the No side didn't “know” any of that, so they're voting No. They didn't bother to spend even an hour researching online, before publishing their “alternative facts” in these opinion pages to suit their political ends.
Is this what political discourse on P.E.I. has become?
Please, let's base our decisions on actual facts. Let's slow down and take time to present real, hard evidence, not conjecture, to back up our arguments.
As the saying goes, "A lie can spread halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on." And this is particularly true in the age of social media.
Slowing down the speed of politics, and making it more deliberative and inclusive, is one way to come up with better decisions. And this is what the spirit of MMP is all about. Extensive comparative research shows that the collaboration that is required of politicians in proportional systems does in fact lead places that have it to better policy outcomes.
It's hard to keep up with all the misinformation flying around, but we are doing our darndest to publish both Fact-Checks and FAQs on our webpage (www.PRonPEI.vote/faq). Check it out. We are convinced that once you “know,” you'll want to vote Yes.
Anna Keenan lives in St. Ann's, P.E.I. and campaigned with the P.E.I. Coalition for Proportional Representation before it disbanded. She currently sits on the board of FairVote Canada.