Ontario voters spoke loud and clear that the current "First Past the Post" electoral system wasn't broken enough to need replacing. While not many voters actually understood the reforms that the referendum was attempting to introduce, the question was decided with wisdom and respect by an electorate that simply declined the reforms in the absence of compelling arguments in favour of the new system.
The biggest complaint heard by voters was the lack of information. The confusing, bilingual question on the ballot was so convoluted that Rick Mercer targeted it for its comic value. Details about the proposal were available to anyone doing research, but the shroud of mystery was never penetrated by the average concerned citizen.
This raises an interesting point about the MMP proposal. MMP would have reduced the number of ridings to 90 and introduced 39 new seats to be filled by individuals determined by party lists. The biggest flaw of MMP was the way political parties nominated the names on that list, compounded by those names not even being included on the ballot. The public would be asked to vote blindly for individuals that could only be identified through about as much research as was required to understand the MMP referendum. In other words, 'not going to happen.'
Once elected, a list member would have been more accountable to the political party being represented instead of the people in the vaguely-defined area being represented. We've seen examples of what can happen when political parties operate with less than the necessary amount of scrutiny. While electoral reform may still be desirable, a pretty good blueprint now exists that outlines "what not to do next time."
Pat Hoy Re-Elected
Locally in Chatham-Kent-Essex, Liberal Pat Hoy was re-elected for his 4th consecutive term. Running on his record, with a well-oiled riding associated machine covering the logistics, Hoy collected over 52% of the votes.
Doug Jackson, the PC runner-up, was hounded by an unpopular platform pressed by the party leader, John Tory. Despite running an issue-oriented campaign, Jackson had difficulty gaining traction from the start against the popular incumbent.
Murray Gaudreau and the NDP came in a distant 3rd, with Ken Bell and the Green Party improving their percentage of the vote but remaining in fourth place. Special thanks to Murray for responding to our candidate's questionnaire.
All the local candidates ran a respectable campaign and identified relevant local issues. The MPP would do well to listen to the comments and concerns raised by his ballot-mates. Pat Hoy is responsible for representing the concerns of all riding citizens no matter their political persuasion, and the other candidates uncovered a wealth of material during their campaigns that would be helpful to any representative.
Congratulations to all the candidates for putting yourselves out into the public eye and running on issues you believed in. Many of you were criticized and insulted simply for seeking political office, sometimes at a cost to personal and business relations. The most vocal detractors of politicians seemed to be from the demographic that didn't bother to vote at all. The minority that did vote has done their democratic duty that sets our system of government apart form other more repressive forms. It was a tough choice, because there wasn't a bad choice amongst the candidates willing to serve Chatham-Kent-Essex.