TORONTO – Mitzie Hunter, MPP Scarborough-Guildwood today tabled a Private Member’s Bill (PMB), Local Choice for Local Elections Act. If passed, this Bill will go beyond the measures that the government arbitrary took away with Bill 218. It would allow municipalities to decide, free from provincial medaling, if they want to elect their local representatives by ranked ballot elections.
“Ranked ballots give more choice to voters and produces outcomes that are more reflective of voters’ preferences. They open our elections up to more voices, more perspectives, and wider representation,” Hunter argued.
In 2018, London held a ranked ballot election and elected their first Black woman to city council. There have been referendums in Kingston and Cambridge to hold ranked ballot elections in their local elections. In defense of his decision, the Premier offered that ranked ballots would confuse voters. He also claimed that the first past the post system is good enough for Ontarians in 2020 as it was in 1867 – a mere 33 years after the abolition of slavery in British North America, a time in which the working class, women, and Black, Indigenous, and persons of colour were blocked from the vote.
“In a year when society is finally asking important questions about inclusion, privilege and race, it’s unconscionable that any government would ban a widely-used tool designed to increase diverse representation,” stated Dave Meslin, founder of the Ranked Ballot Initiative of Toronto.
“Municipalities deserve to decide how they conduct their own affairs, including how they elect their leaders, free from the interference that the Premier and his government have repeatedly run in municipal affairs. The Local Choice for Local Elections Act would put power back in the hands of the people, and allow municipalities the independence and respect that they are due,” concluded Hunter.