Thursday, September 6, 2007

Public Forum on MMP Leads to Confusion

Looks like Elections Ontario has its work cut out for it.

Bad Press for pro MMP forces from the Niagara Falls Review:

Meeting to explain referendum doesn't 'We don't understand it,' crowd says after debate, explanation

TONY RICCIUTO Local News - Thursday, September 06, 2007

They tried to explain the Oct. 10 electoral reform referendum at a meeting last night. But as one citizen put it, there is obviously "some confusion so Elections Canada better take out full page ads to explain how this will all work."

The meeting and debate, attended by about 30 people, was hosted by the Niagara Falls Citizens for Democracy at the Niagara Falls Public Library's Victoria Avenue branch. The people who were confused admit they're close followers of politics, and were interested enough to turn out Wednesday to hear more about the referendum that will coincide with the provincial election. But after hearing the debate and subsequent explanations, there was still confusion. "We don't understand it, so how can we even explain it to seniors or those who speak a second language," said another man in attendance. When voters go to the polls in October, they will be given two ballots.

In the debate last night, Niagara Falls Citizens for Democracy president Mel Grunstein argued in favour of the mixed-member proportional system while Lorne White, from the Fort Erie Chamber of Commerce, argued the merits of the current system. Both presented valid points on why they took that position.

The confusion began when questions were taken from the floor and different people began giving their understanding of what would take place. Some were getting their information from a blue and white pamphlet called Referendum Ontario, while others were making reference to a booklet distributed by the Ontario Citizens Assembly on Electoral Reform, a citizens' group appointed by the province to study Ontario's electoral system and make recommendations for change.

At one point, Grunstein said "I hope they do a better job of advertising because if this group doesn't get it that's a problem." One man who said he has worked on previous elections admitted: "I don't understand it."

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