Lord Kitchener has argued that campaign regulations are preventing the party from campaigning on MMP. You can read the campaign regulations here.
"Individuals or groups who choose to advertise in favour of one outcome or the other will be required to meet financial disclosure and reporting requirements. For example, those spending over $500 on advertising must register with Elections Ontario and file a report detailing advertising spending and contributions. Political parties and constituency associations will be prohibited from registering."
I think some New Democrats are hiding behind this regulation in order to justify the party's decision not to campaign on MMP in the upcoming provincial election.
The Green Party doesn't seem fazed by Election Ontario's edict. In fact, the Greens explicitly ask people to "Vote for Mixed Member Proportional in the electoral reform referendum" on their website and they link directly to the VOTE MMP campaign.
For its part, the Family Coalition Party writes on its main page:
At the same time as the election, on October 10, a Referendum question will be on the ballot. Electors will be asked whether they wish to maintain the current system or adopt the alternative Mixed Member Proportional system.
VOTE FOR THE ALTERNATIVE MMP SYSTEM!
We believe that this change will give us an opportunity to represent you at Queen's Park, if the Referendum is approved. To read more please follow this link: "The new system of Election for Ontario"
The NDP, on the other hand, doesn't mention MMP anywhere on its main page. Electoral reform is not even listed in on the website under the CAMPAIGN heading.
You can be sure that fringe parties will make MMP a central theme of their respective campaigns. They know that Election Ontario's regulations do not prevent them from taking strong principled positions on issues of public policy. The NDP has simply chosen to follow the Liberals and Tories into neutral limbo by refusing to make electoral reform a key issue. The party could easily get around the flimsy regulations with a little imagination. For example, the NDP could advertise the position that "the NDP has strongly favoured electoral reform in the past and that an NDP government would move swiftly to implement a system of MMP if the Citizens' Assembly's recommendations are approved in the October 10 referendum". However, my understanding is that the Ontario NDP is very much keeping its distance in the same way that the British Columbia NDP refused to campaign on STV. In my view, this is a bad strategy.
Mark Greenan writes: "Do we want WANT the NDP campaigning on MMP? Frankly, I don't see it as important. There are many better things the Ontario NDP leadership can do to support MMP than campaign on it."
Really? What exactly could they do in an election campaign that would be more important or useful than advertise their support for MMP? Many NDP voters are as clueless about the proposal as the general public. If the NDP were to campaign on the issue, these voters would likely be more inclined to support MMP. Furthermore, having individual NDP campaigns coordinate literature drops with the VOTE MMP camp would be very helpful. The NDP's position precludes these types of coordinated activities.
Lastly, the Daily Dissidence and Jan From the Bruce hit the nail on the head when they point out that the NDP's failure to campaign on MMP will further alienate the party in a campaign that will likely be dominated by the issues of education reform and electoral reform. The NDP's weak position on both issues, which very much mirror the Liberal positions, will surely push the party to the sidelines. (You can read my views on the NDP and education reform here.) Many progressive voters who care dearly about education reform and electoral reform may just drift to the Greens, who seem to have adopted solid and clear positions on what are sure to be important wedge issues.
The NDP has dropped the ball by choosing to not campaign on MMP.