You’ve probably heard by now that Ontarians will be asked to cast a second ballot on election day. That is, unless you’re among the 47% of Ontarians who, according to a recent poll, are completely unaware of the upcoming referendum question on whether to replace the existing first-past-the-post (FPTP) electoral system with a proposed mixed-member proportional (MMP) system. Whether this is the first you’ve heard about it—which seems unlikely since Torontoist has mentioned it numerous times—or you’ve been doggedly campaigning on the issue for months, here’s an event that’ll pique your interest.
This Friday evening, the Queen’s University Centre for the Study of Democracy is assembling a panel of media pundits and former politicians to square off in a referendum debate. In one corner, National Post columnist Andrew Coyne and former provincial cabinet minister and federal NDP MP Marilyn Churley will argue in favour of adopting the proposed MMP electoral system. In the other corner, Toronto Sun columnist Christina Blizzard and former Conservative cabinet minister Charles Harnick will champion the existing FPTP system.
Hosted by Thomas Axworthy, the evening will also feature introductory remarks from George Thomson, Chair of the Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform, which first proposed the MMP reforms last spring.
The debate offers the perfect chance for you to learn more about the MMP alternative (its finer points are also explained elsewhere) and hear the arguments for and against it in a lively public forum. It kicks off this Friday (September 28) at 7 p.m. in the Lower Hall of the MaRS Complex (101 College Street). The room holds 200 people, but seating will be on a first-come-first-served basis.
If you can’t make it Friday, but still want more information before casting your referendum vote, check out tonight’s episode of The Agenda on TVO at 8 p.m. After discussing the referendum options with guests, Steve Paikin will host an online chat with viewers.
Photo by David Sherret from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.