Andrew Coyne: Why conservatives should support proportional representation

This article was modified from its original published form. The most recent modification was on2014-09-28.

In the September 22, 2007 National Post, Andrew Coyne wrote an editorial in support of MMP1, entitled Why conservatives should support proportional representation.

Let me be perfectly clear: I disagree with Andrew Coyne on much of what he says and writes. I don’t believe the way he believes. He believes that Mike Harris was good for Ontario (when exactly the opposite has proven true). But he is absolutely right when he says:

A Tory government…of Ontario would look much the same under Mr. Tory as under Dalton McGuinty. It would do much the same things, at much the same cost, with much the same results.

Oh, Mr. Tory would fiddle at the margins—cut a tax or two, expand funding to a few thousand kids in religious schools—issues that both leaders would like you to think show the vast gulf between them. But they’re not kidding anyone. Whoever wins, the forecast is for McGuintory governments, as far as the eye can see…

[The current voting system creates most of what we find in] Canadian politics—viciously partisan, yet unspeakably trivial; much ado about nothing much. McGuintoryism, in short.

I think that John Tory would be bad for the province (he keeps pretending that he’s like Bill Davis, but he’s much more like Mike Harris), but that doesn’t mean that I think that Howard Hampton or Dalton McGuinty are good for the province. Something has to change; MMP may not be the best change, but we have to try.

  1. Mixed-member proportional representation is a proportional representation scheme that was proposed for use in Ontario, but was defeated in a referendum that occurred at the same time as a general election.

  • 2014-09-28: This post has been modified to slightly moderate my tone and provide additional context on the Ontario MMP referendum for 2007.[ back ]