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Dalton McGuinty responsible for 7200 deaths, says tory candidate

Last night I attended the Guelph provincial all-candidates debate at the University of Guelph. A few things stuck out in mind that warrant discussion.

First, the Green, NDP, and Communist candidates came out in favour of MMP in the referendum. The Conservative candidate came out opposed. The Liberal candidate said she was genuinely torn and had no idea yet how she would vote on the matter. The Green party candidate, Ben Polley, made the interesting and absurdely false claim that under MMP, Guelph would have had two MPPs last election because he was the highest scoring Green candidate in the province. This shows his clear lack of understanding of how the MMP proposal he supports actually works. The lists would be pre-submitted, with their structure having nothing to do with the results of the election, and him being elected from the list would not necessarily give us a second Guelph MPP regardless, as he would be a province-wide MPP whose only constituency is the party itself.

Second, the Green, Communist, Liberal, and Conservative parties all supported, with varying degrees of urgency, GO train service to Guelph and Kitchener-Waterloo, one of my big issues. The NDP candidate chose her words carefully never once mentioning GO service but talking in platitudes about the need for increased public transit without really specifying. It's not surprising that the auto-union backed NDP would not want to support GO service. The Green party candidate here had it right with his assertion that we need to stop building highways, plain and simple, and the Communist party candidate noted that GO service can have the equivalent capacity of a 10-lane highway, another interesting point.

The most interesting bit though was Bob Senechal, the tory candidate, in a discussion about the Nanticoke coal plant still being open. He indicated that Dalton McGuinty once said that the Nanticoke plant is responsible for approximately 1800 deaths a year in Ontario. Therefore, Senechal said, "Dalton McGuinty is responsible for 7200 deaths."


Shana Tova, by the way!

Posted at 15:56 on September 12, 2007

This entry has been archived. Comments can no longer be posted.

A Dawg's bone | guelph politics reform | The real truth about MMP

Scott Tribe writes at Wed Sep 12 20:01:04 2007...

Not quite true. it wouldn't necessarily be province-wide representation he'd be doing (though in a sense it is) but it specifically would be the regional constituency for which that List MPP was nominated.. since you will see different regions created for the list MPP's to represent, as you see in other countries that use this setup. That's why we MMP supporters keep repeating that LIST MPP's would probably open regional constituency offices, as they do in Germany and New Zealand.. brcause they're representing that region.

So, in a broad sense, if Mr. Polley happened to be the List MPP nominated specifically for whatever region Guelph happened to be in, he is theoretically correct. Of course, that depends what the percentage of vote the Greens got province-wide, and how many list MPP's they were entitled to. and where he was on the order of the list.

cdlu writes at Wed Sep 12 20:14:21 2007...

Scott, you're being dishonest again. Not surprising, I haven't seen an honest fact come out of the MMP camp yet. Lots of conjecture, lots of baloney, lots of hope, lots of probability, but no facts. The MMP proposal doesn't provide any of the things its proponents claim will happen.

There is no part of the MMP proposal that assures us that we will have regional lists. You say yourself that they will "probably" open regional constituency offices, but it's a baloney argument because without a guarantee, it is completely meaningless.

What Ben Polley said was completely incorrect. It was a lie. Whether he was misleading deliberately or only because he is supporting something he does not understand, I do not know. He said that, because he was the highest-vote-getting Green party candidate in the province, he would have won. That is simply not true, no matter how you cut it. The lists are made before the vote, and if he had won a seat under MMP it would have nothing to do with his standing under the FPTP ballot.

Ben Polley writes at Mon Sep 17 22:10:46 2007...

Hello all,

Two minutes to respond to a debate question doesn't always allow for a complete response or entire context, so that seems to have lead to confusion.

I perfectly understand the MMP proposal in as far as it is written; of course there is no enabling legislation as yet so we cannot know the final outcome but based on what we do know, we can say (without arguing for or against the proposal) the following:

Each Party is responsible for creating its list of 'list-candidates' however there is no preclusion to keep such a candidate from also running directly in the election for a local seat, as I am doing presently. Further the proposal currently would require all Party's to state in advance how (/the method by which) their lists are created in order to provide transparency while allowing Party's to develop their own processes for filling the lists.

It would be most likely, as Scott suggests, that established Party's will have a list of individuals with no overlap with local riding candidates. I agree. But this isn't necessarily the only outcome.

The Green Party's position is that our own publicly announced/described method will be to say that (after the Leader and Deputy Leader(s) the top Green vote takers will occupy the list-alloted seats. In this way, it is hoped that the result will be to provide both transparency and ensure that the Green Party's list-seats are actually as representative of local/overall voter will as is possible under the new voting structure. Under this method, and based assuming that the Green Party also takes at least 3% of the vote in this election (another condition of the current proposal), then yes, I would have been selected as a list-candidate. And while it would be true that list-candidates could come from anywhere - essentially be at-large - given where I currently live, where would you presume my heart and concerns to be?

Doesn't seem that many candidates take the time to respond directly on this or other forums; I will try and drop in again and see your responses to my position above.

cdlu writes at Tue Sep 18 09:02:21 2007...


Thank you for your reply.

I still take issue with your position, though. The lists must be submitted in advance of the election according to the proposal before us, which means, at best, your position on the list would be based on the results of the previous, not the current, election. While it is entirely possible that under MMP you would now be an MPP, it would not be the way you asserted at the debate. At Wednesday's debate when the inevitable similar questions arise I would hope for a more correct answer. Had you said that under MMP based on the last election, you would almost certainly be at or near the top of the list at the next election, that would be more than fine. I agree that party lists, if, heaven forbid, we actually get them, should be based on the results of the previous riding elections, but the proposal simply doesn't allow for it to be made based on the one in progress. If it did, we would have slightly open rather than completely closed lists, which would of course be a more favourable position anyway, but is not the option on the table.

I also take issue with the suggestion that if you did win a list seat, Guelph would have two MPPs. I agree that two MPPs would come from Guelph, but we would not have two Guelph MPPs. Guelph would have one, and the Green party would have an MPP who comes from Guelph, or whatever salamander-shaped riding replaces Guelph following the 107->90 redistribution (one of the most illogical and damaging possible recommendations the CA could have made). If Guelph were to have two MPPs, and, for the sake of argument, let's say the NDP also came up with a formula to make their lists that gave Guelph an NDP MPP, we would have three MPPs by this logic. But by doing so it would mean that at least 53 ridings would have only one while Guelph enjoys its vast over-representation.

The same could certainly apply the other way with Guelph getting one of 90 representative seats and none of the 39 list seats. Neither of these are favourable for a democratic process under MMP, and therefore regardless of where you are from, as a list seat member you would have to take the whole province, or at least a sizable chunk of it, as a jurisdiction and so Guelph would certainly not have two dedicated MPPs. That said, because you would likely be elected to the list based on the previous election's results, you would have to keep Guelph in mind to keep your vote up to remain on that list in the future. The implementation of asymmetric lists, as demonstrated, can get quite convoluted, and it is the reduction in ridings and the introduction of these party lists that has me up in arms over MMP in the first place.

Guelph overwhelmingly rejected at-large representation in November of last year. Hopefully the city has the fortitude to do it again next month.

Ben Polley writes at Fri Sep 21 09:37:58 2007...

Hi David,

After discussing the issue with local referendum information officer Marty Fairburn two nights ago, I have been informed that I was in fact incorrect. The proposal currently suggests that lists must be produced in advance of the election which will preclude being able to link list candidates directly to voting totals in that election. My error has stemmed from the fact that the manner in which I described the lists being created was the Green Party's proposal via our Domcratic Renewal critic through the period of the Citizen's Assembly's work. That portion of our proposal did not make the final outcome for the purposes of this referendum. So my sincere apologies and also my thanks; your steadfastness on this item lead me to discover my error and kept me from repeating it.

A quick comment on the notion of at-large type MPP's. Essentially right now this is what we have with respect to cabinet ministers. We vote on a local candidate, who by virtue of internal Party standing or expertise become Cabinet Ministers who thereafter also represent the whole of the province. I met Leona Dombrowsky's daughter earlier this week (sitting Liberal cabinet minister) and she shared that her mother has only 1 day in an average week alloted to constituency issues while her other 4 days are consumed by cabinet work. I have never argued that the proposed MMP system is perfect, however there are existing imperfections in the existing FPP system that are not unlike those being attributed only to MMP.

I'm afraid that I will be unlikely to respond again to this list due to time constraints but I thought it appropriate for me to issue my correction.

Thanks again,

Ben Polley

cdlu writes at Fri Sep 21 10:03:34 2007...


Thanks again. Your willingness to correct yourself is refreshing.

I have never argued that FPP is perfect or optimal, only that MMP does not solve its problems. I am wide open to electoral reform, but I consider the ON-MMP proposal to be the wrong direction.

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