i too blame everything on the shlabotniks who are so retarded as to read the sun and or just be all punch in your face if you try to edumacate themacheron said:You try explaining electoral reform to Joe "Toronto SUN" Shlabotnik and see how far you get before he either falls asleep or punches you in the face.
It was a debate w/Genesius said:ahh crap, I missed it. I'll search for some transcripts or something...
Can you post some of your highlights?
A different version of this article first appeared on rabble.ca:
Try to strike up a conversation in Ontario about the province’s fast-approaching referendum and, recent polls show, most voters won’t know what you’re talking about. With little news coverage on the topic, few Ontarians are aware of the issues surrounding a historic referendum that will decide the future of their province’s electoral system.
For years, an electoral reform movement has been working to promote Canada’s adoption of some form of proportional representation, a voting system used in most industrial democracies.  North America has long been a hold-out, sticking with the centuries-old ‘first-past-the-post’ system under which seats in the legislature rarely reflect the popular vote, leading to widespread dissatisfaction.
It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that the current proposal to adopt a Mixed-Member Proportional (MMP) system “comes not from politicians but from a group of (103) randomly selected ordinary citizens who spent eight months learning and deliberating,” explains a member from the Ontario Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform, a group Elections Ontario created last year to review the electoral system. The citizens’ recommendation will be put to a vote October 10 in Ontario’s first referendum in nearly a century. 
Whatever one thinks of the proposal, all but the most cynical among us agree that serious issues – like deciding how we elect government – deserve informed democratic debate.
Yet, “only 28 per cent of Ontario voters say they have any familiarity with this proposal,” revealed a June Environics poll, and a majority “admit no familiarity at all.” 
Admittedly, it’s hard to be informed about an issue that has been conspicuously absent from the news. While the Toronto Star – highest circulation paper in Canada and one of over a hundred owned by Torstar Corporation – has carried a few stories on the referendum, they seriously lack explanatory depth. Moreover, it has promoted an uninformed and uninvolved public as natural. When the Star first briefly mentioned the Environics poll, its investigation accepted “widespread public ignorance” as inevitable and concluded with academic theories on which way voters might lean when they have “minimal knowledge”. 
More recently, the Star has pushed the claim that people don’t care anyway. Though the Environics poll found 90 per cent of voters familiar with the matter have an opinion (with a clear majority supporting change), the Star ignored these scientific results in favour of its own small informal survey claiming that almost no one is even “interested enough to listen.”  This flies in the face of the efforts of thousands of grassroots activists working everyday to raise public debate without help from corporate media.
With even less coverage than the Star, the Globe and Mail ran just two sentences of news on the referendum in June and July, and failed to report specific stories like the Environics poll. The Globe also chose not to report when prominent women politicians from all major parties united to urge voters to support MMP because it would enhance women’s political involvement. 
The Globe has made it clear it views the referendum as a non-issue. In a rare mention of the referendum in May, a regular Globe columnist placed electoral reform in a “contest” for “most boring subject.” Suggesting the Citizens’ Assembly could not have had thoughtful reasons for recommending MMP, he concluded that if there is no debate or awareness among ordinary citizens, then so be it – MMP will simply have to fail. This, with the headline, “Electoral reform? Chill the beer, pass the ketchup,” reflects the newspaper’s own dismissive attitude toward democratic debate. 
The Globe’s failure to report on the referendum reveals a problem with corporate-run media. Owned by CTVglobemedia Inc. – one of a handful of huge corporations that have divvied up most of Canada’s media – the Globe is focused upon serving business interests before the public, and has little reason to be interested in popular democratic debate. Profit-boosting cutbacks to quality journalism are only the most notorious example of such corporate priorities. 
Corporate media owners have also benefited directly from a lack of democracy. Our airwaves are public property broadcasters borrow on the condition that they serve the public interest. The CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) is supposed to regulate the industry for this purpose, working in proceedings open to public input. Usually, however, these proceedings have been dominated by monied industry interests while everyday Canadians are left out.
As a result, Big Media has achieved what a Senate Committee calls “concentration of ownership […] few other countries would consider acceptable.” In fact, most Canadians oppose concentrated control of media.  It is by keeping them uninvolved that Big Media has flourished.
So it is not surprising that Big Media outlets like the Globe under-report the referendum, instead using column inches to paint pictures of citizen apathy and non-involvement.
Fortunately, most Canadians don’t share this corporate attitude toward democracy. While government regulators let big business dominate our media system, Canadians are mobilizing to defend democracy by actually practicing it. A variety of groups have recently emerged, including loose radical grassroots activist groups, an independent public discussion forum, a new feminist group called Media Action Media, and a high-profile national coalition.  This new movement is acting on the principles that Canadians deserve democratic debate, that diverse media is a cornerstone of democracy, and that everyday Canadians can and should be involved in media democracy issues.
Earlier this summer, a broad civil society coalition of academics, grassroots activists, independent media, and labour joined together to coordinate an unprecedented public action campaign. In just three weeks, Canadians for Democratic Media (CDM) mobilized almost 2,000 Canadians who filed interventions in an important CRTC proceeding on diversity of voices in media in light of concentrated ownership. Today Canadians are part of a global movement to take democracy into our own hands and away from unaccountable corporate power. 
It remains to be seen whether the CRTC will listen, but what is clear is that it will take a sustained and persistent movement to achieve major change. We’ve made it happen before: public broadcasting was, in part, a gain achieved by international popular struggle for media democracy.
Following on the heels of its first major campaign, CDM, working with MDI and MediaReform.ca, is calling attention to Ontario’s ‘missing referendum’ as an example right now of the serious consequences of an undemocratic media system where so few control the information available to so many. You can learn more and get involved at www.democraticmedia.ca/mediacheck
How can the dissatisfaction be widespread if the majority of people clearly do not care about the issue of electoral reform?sticking with the centuries-old ‘first-past-the-post’ system under which seats in the legislature rarely reflect the popular vote, leading to widespread dissatisfaction.
Thanksgl*tch said:Awesome! When did you write this?
Unfortunately I don't have the time resources to do this right nowGenesius said:I'm not sure when you wrote that article but you may want to update your references from June and July to include more current polls and print coverage of the election reform issue.
I met over-worked campaigners before then, and they're quoted in articles from June - off the top of my head. Certainly they were around and active well before then but I don't have the details handy.The campaign from the ontario citizens group itself did not get launched until August.
I appreciate this, but I don't think more recent developments really affect my point. The article is up to date as of one month before the referendum, and its talking about general systemic things that it would be pretty remarkable if they changed in the past few weeks. If there's any evidence that they have I'd be delighted to learn of it.If you want to see if your argument is still solid, I suggest you incorporate more recent information.
What do the two have to do with each other?AdRiaN said:How can the dissatisfaction be widespread if the majority of people clearly do not care about the issue of electoral reform?
You asserted that "widespread dissatisfaction" existed with the current system, so I'm expecting to see a poll of all Ontarians that shows a majority are dissatisfied. You cannot just focus on those familiar with the issue to support your point that Ontarians are dissatisfied.deafplayer said:Anyway, the scientific polls I refer to provide do direct evidence of the exact opposite: 90% of ppl familiar with the issue have an opinion - preferring MMP or FPTP.
That's classic conservative thinking: "I dunno...the changes might bring something new and scary. I have no idea if that's actually true, but why risk it?"Genesius said:Couldn't do it. I had to vote no MMP. For me the tipping point reason was that I prefer the current moderate political environment over the idea of giving large voices to fringe, or extremist viewpoints. Certainly it's debatable whether or not that (or any other speculative scenarios) would actually happen under MMP, but with the information I was given (or lack thereof) I didn't want to risk it. Sorry gl*tch.
That's totally unrealistic and unreasonable. I sincerely hope you're not just being cynical.AdRiaN said:....so I'm expecting to see a poll of all Ontarians that shows a majority are dissatisfied.
Not at all. It proves that when people aren't being manipulated by disinformation or don't choose to remain ignorant or apathetic, they'll largely see it the same way (i.e. differently than it turned out).AdRiaN said:You cannot just focus on those familiar with the issue to support your point that Ontarians are dissatisfied.
I mean, for you to say 90% of people who are interested in electoral reform support electoral reform ... sounds kind of silly, non?
Save the political-psycho-analysis.SellyCat said:That's classic conservative thinking: "I dunno...the changes might bring something new and scary. I have no idea if that's actually true, but why risk it?"
Fear => Conservatism => Fear.
It's insane to think that workable democracy should represent the voices and views of everyone and that there are 30,000,000 people in Ontario.It's insane to think that 2 or 3 parties could possibly ever represent the political will of 30,000,000 people. That's not democracy.
I meant a poll that shows what percentage of Ontarians are dissatisfied with the current electoral system, not just what percentage of those Ontarians who are familiar with MMP are dissatisfied. I did not mean to suggest that every single person in the province be polled. The regular sampling techniques are fine in both cases.SellyCat said:That's totally unrealistic and unreasonable. I sincerely hope you're not just being cynical.
Apathy is not necessarily a sign of satisfaction or dissatisfaction. It can go either way. I think it's a bit of a cop-out to play the disinformation card when a vote does not go your way. How would you react if someone suggested the media coverage and public ignorance of John Tory's faith-based school funding policy caused its failure? If people truly understood the policy, would we be crowning a new Premier right now?Not at all. It proves that when people aren't being manipulated by disinformation or don't choose to remain ignorant or apathetic, they'll largely see it the same way (i.e. differently than it turned out).