What to make of yesterday's referendum vote? Obviously, it was a pretty resounding 'no'- 63 per cent of voters decided to keep ye olde first-past-the-post. But what does this rejection actually mean? In a previous post, I said I would be voting against MMP. Not because I thought it was a terrible idea, but because the campaign leading up to the referendum was so thoroughly mismanaged as to be totally useless. When it came to Ontario and MMP, confusion reigned. And I think that, more than anything, is the reason why MMP when down to an ignominous defeat. When confronted with the age-old choice between the devil you know, and the devil you don't, people almost always go with the the former. The voters of Ontario simply didn't know enough about MMP to make an informed choice. However, they probably correctly perceived that electoral reform is an important thing. So rather than tripping blind into a proportional future, they decided to err on the side of caution and depth charge the whole thing.
I don't think this is the end of proportional representation in Ontario. It makes a lot of sense, and could act as a potential salve to the problem of voter apathy. But there's drudgery in social change, and if MMP is to be successful, there needs to be a lot of grinding public education and outreach. If the proper steps are taken and MMP re-appears somewhere further down the road, I think it has a real chance for success.
After all, smoking craters have a way of sprouting new growth. Well, maybe not this one in Peru. But you get my point.