GREEN PARTY OF ONTARIO
************************** Greens vow equity, transparency in choosing candidates under MMP
TORONTO, September 27 - Green Party of Ontario Leader Frank de Jong [shown] held a press conference at Queen's Park today to reveal the democratic process his party would use to choose list candidates under the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) voting system.
"Some people are trying to mislead Ontarians by suggesting that MMP would allow parties to subvert the democratic process," Frank de Jong said. "They clearly underestimate the voting public.
"The truth is that well-informed Ontarians recognize that MMP is a valuable opportunity to introduce real democracy to Ontario, and that democracy extends to choosing candidates in a transparent and equitable manner. Voters want Ontario and Canada to join the vast majority of democratic countries in adopting an electoral system where every vote counts and everyone has a voice."
De Jong was joined at the press conference by Jeanette Fitzsimons, co-leader of the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand and an elected MP, as well as Steve Withers of the organization Vote for MMP.
Together, they highlighted the advantages of MMP, which is the subject of a referendum being held concurrently with the October 10 provincial election.
MMP, currently used with great success in New Zealand and Germany, among other nations, gives citizens two votes on their ballot: one to elect a local candidate, and another for the political party of their choice.
The "local candidate vote" determines who represents each riding, just like in the current system.
The "party vote" determines what share of seats each party will receive.
Ontario's legislature will have 90 riding and 39 at-large MPPs.
If, after the riding seats are filled, a party has fewer seats than its portion of the party vote, it is allotted the appropriate number of at-large seats to ensure fair representation at Queen's Park.
These at-large representatives are elected from ordered lists of candidates nominated and made public by each party before the election, ensuring that voters can judge the candidates and vote accordingly.
The Greens' list, de Jong said, will feature alternating male and female candidates, beginning with the party's leader and its deputy leaders, who are elected democratically in party-wide ballots.
The current deputy leaders are Victoria Serra, the candidate in Huron-Bruce, and Dr. Sanjeev Goel, who's running in Brampton West.
Also on the list are the top female and male vote-getters, by percentage, from the previous election, in order to reflect the will of party supporters.
The balance of list candidates will be chosen through a democratic election among members at the Green Party's annual general meeting.
"Under MMP, voters will expect each party to select its list candidates in an open and democratic fashion," de Jong said. "We are committed to using a transparent and equitable process to produce a slate of qualified Green candidates who accurately reflect Ontario's diverse population."