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Why scrap ‘first past the post’

system of voting?

By MPP Toby Barrett

This spring your Ontario Legislature has been debating legislation to scrap our longstanding ‘first past the post’ system of electing municipal councilors – the system of whoever comes first in number of votes, wins.
The so-called Municipal Elections Modernization Act will bring in a ranked ballot system. Instead of voting for a single candidate, a voter will rank the candidates in order of preference. The votes will be counted and the candidate with the least votes drops off the ballot paper. All ballots that ranked that candidate as the first choice are then distributed to the candidate the voters had ranked as their second choice. If no candidate has received over 50 per cent of the vote, the lowest candidate once again drops off and their votes are redistributed to the next choice ranked on the ballot. And so it goes until a winner rises to the top.
Case in point, in 1996, Dalton McGuinty won the Ontario Liberal Party leadership on the fifth ballot after coming in fourth on the first ballot – he was not the delegates’ first choice, period.
I personally see this ranked system as a means to rig, not fix. Anyone who watches a horse race knows the horse that crosses the finish line first is the winner.
During Legislative debate, I pointed out this system of ranked ballots “stands in contrast to the long-standing tradition of first-past-the-post, which goes back hundreds of years in our British system. It goes back thousands of years, if you think of ancient Greece, for example. Think of the Greek Olympics . . . thousands of years of foot races. The first one to cross the line wins.”
Many municipalities have passed resolutions criticizing the changes, including Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa and Niagara Falls.
The Town of Minto passed a resolution to “not support a ranked ballot system for municipal elections in Ontario for the following reasons:
(1) Issues of splitting the vote, negative campaigning or abandoning a race are generally not problems in rural Ontario;
(2) ‘One candidate one vote’ councils elected in Ontario have built communities that are the envy of the world, with open, transparent and fair races with very few issues;
(3) Ranked ballots will be confusing and will increase cost for training candidates, election officials and voters as well as require expense and unnecessary equipment;
(4) Ranked ballots may encourage political parties to run slates of candidates to attempt to win as many first-, second- and third-place votes so that a party secures the office over an individual.”
Changing the entire electoral system based on the views of a small number of people not only shows disrespect for our democratic system; it is irresponsible. I cannot support a bill that allows government to change the way municipal councillors are elected without first consulting the people. We live in a democracy.
Elections belong to the people who vote, the people who come out every four years to vote for the person who represents their values and supports their issues. These people need to have their voice heard if there is to be a change in the voting system.
Holding a referendum is protection for voters. Without that requirement, there’s nothing to stop governments and special interests from rigging the electoral system to benefit themselves and keep themselves in power.

Newsroom


Barrett says students are losers in union payouts

SIMCOE – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett said students are being shortchanged after the Auditor General confirmed earlier this week the government paid $80 million to education-sector unions since 2008.

[Read More]

 

Government’s plan to scrap natural gas an attack on our way of life: Barrett

SIMCOE – In a time when people are already struggling to pay their electricity and grocery bills, Ontario does need the added expense of switching from natural gas to electricity for heating as detailed in a Globe and Mail article released today.

[Read More]

 

Have your say on the growth plan

SIMCOE- Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett is encouraging Haldimand and Brant residents to have their say in proposals to the growth plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, which includes the two counties.

[Read More]

 

Where are carbon capture incentives for Ag, Agri-Food, Forestry?

QUEEN’S PARK – MPPs Toby Barrett and Lisa Thompson raised the issue of just how much influence the Ontario Minister of the Environment is having on agriculture policy during Question Period today.

[Read More]


Hearings slated into municipal election changes

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett and Oxford MPP Ernie Hardeman will be part of hearings this week to deliberate on proposed changes to municipal elections.

[Read More]

 

Electricity rates going up again

SIMCOE- Electricity rates are on the rise again.

[Read More]

 

Government collusion with big money a threat to democracy: Barrett

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP weighed in on the Ontario government’s high-priced private fundraisers during debate in the Ontario Legislature this week.

[Read More]

 

Barrett: Budget hinders agri-business

SIMCOE – Opposition agriculture critic and Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett again highlighted the impact of cuts to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs during debate in the Ontario Legislature.

[Read More]

 

Government collusion with big money a threat to democracy: Barrett

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP weighed in on the Ontario government’s high-priced private fundraisers during debate in the Ontario Legislature this week.

[Read More]

 

Barrett: Budget hinders agri-business

SIMCOE – Opposition agriculture critic and Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett again highlighted the impact of cuts to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs during debate in the Ontario Legislature.

[Read More]


Barrett questions easements in Bill 100 Trails Act

QUEEN’S PARK – Following concerns raised by constituents in regard to Bill 100, Supporting Ontario’s Trails Act, 2016, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett raised concerns about the legislation in the Ontario Legislature.

[Read More]

 

Barrett bill on organized crime voted down

COURTLAND – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett’s Private Member’s Bill The Ontario Commission of Inquiry into the Black Market Trade and Trafficking of People, Drugs, Money, Tobacco and Weapons Act, 2016 was voted down by the Liberal majority on Thursday, March 24.

[Read More]


Barrett questions cuts to ministry supporting province’s top industry

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP and Opposition Critic to the Minsitry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs questioned why the government cut $28 million from the budget of the ministry supporting the province’s top industry..

[Read More]

 

Barrett speaks of budget impact on business and agriculture

QUEEN’S PARK – The impacts of the provincial government’s financial policies are hurting rural Ontario, and this will only be magnified in the recent provincial budget, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett told the Ontario Legislature..

[Read More]

 

Barrett bill to address black market

SIMCOE – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett has proposed legislation to address trafficking and the black market trade. .

[Read More]

 

Barrett speaks to the importance of farm safety

QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario’s Opposition Critic to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs highlighted some of the old dangers – and some new ones – during a recent speech in the Ontario Legislature to highlight Canadian Agricultural Safety Week..

[Read More]

 

$28 million budget cut ignores the value of agriculture: Barrett

QUEEN’S PARK – Toby Barrett, Opposition Critic for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and Haldimand-Norfolk MPP, spoke of the value of agriculture while supporting Agriculture Literacy Week.

[Read More]


‘What ag programs will be eliminated?’
Barrett questions ag minister on budget

QUEEN’S PARK – Opposition Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Critic and Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett challenged the minister on cuts to the ag budget and how that will impact agri-business.

[Read More]

 

Where is the help for farmers in the budget: Barrett

QUEEN’S PARK – Farmers may not find much to crow about in today’s budget, according to Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett, Opposition Critic for the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

[Read More]

 

Barrett calls out Premier on new gas tax

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett took Premier Kathleen Wynne to task for breaking her promise to not bring in a new gas tax.

[Read More]

 

Government cuts wound Ontario’s patients

QUEEN’S PARK – Money that should be invested in front-line health care is being spent on things like cancelled gas plants.

[Read More]

 

Barrett introduces legislation for inquiry into trafficking and black market

QUEEN’S PARK – Worried about the black market in his riding and across the province, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett has introduced a Private Member’s Bill titled Commission of Inquiry into Illegal Trade and Trafficking of People, Drugs, Money, Tobacco and Weapons Act, 2016.

[Read More]

 

New energy saving program not for everyone: Barrett

PORT DOVER – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett says the recently-announced Ontario government energy savings program is a good concept, but he charges the program favours only those who heat with natural gas and are customers of two large suppliers.

[Read More]


Preventative approach on Lyme Disease highlighted
WINDSOR – Preventative and proactive measures are key to taking the bite out of Lyme Disease.
[Read More]

 

ALUS testifies before Finance Committee
HAMILTON – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett welcomed a presentation by Bryan Gilvesy, Executive Director of Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) Canada, during today’s pre-budget hearings before the Finance Committee.
[Read More]

 

Barrett calls for re-evaluation of neonic ban
CALEDONIA – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett is calling on Agriculture Minister Jeff Leal to re-evaluate the pending ban on neonicotinoid insecticides.
[Read More]

 

Accountability needed in premier’s office after OPP charges against Liberal operatives
THUNDER BAY – Today, the Ontario Provincial Police announced they have laid breach of trust and mischief charges against David Livingston, former Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty’s Chief of Staff, and Laura Miller, former Deputy Chief of Staff, following the completion of an almost two year investigation.
[Read More]

 

Barrett wants action on black market trade
QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett will introduce legislation to strike a commission to investigate Ontario’s illegal trafficking of tobacco, drugs, money people and weapons.
[Read More]

 

Barrett and PCs score victory for Ontario homeowners
Queen’s Park – The Ontario Government has reversed its decision on extending the Municipal Land Transfer Tax (MLTT) which would have seen homebuyers slapped with a $10,000 bill due at closing on the average home sold in Ontario.
[Read More]


Enforcement of legislation cannot be on racial lines

Queen’s Park – In speaking to Bill 113, the Police Record Checks Reform Act, local MPP Toby Barrett warned that although he supports the bill he trusts it will be enforced fairly and equally, using Caledonia as an example where laws were not enforced to their original intent.
[Read More]

 

Barrett proposes Commission of Inquiry into trafficking of tobacco, other drugs, humans, weapons…
Queen’s Park – “The province of Ontario is now being viewed, essentially, as an illegal drug pusher, and it’s coming right out of just west of Toronto, in this part of southern Ontario,” Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett has told the Ontario Legislature.
[Read More]


Barrett calls on government to support families of fallen first responders

QUEEN’S PARK – MPP Toby Barrett supported the call for establishing a fund to support the families of first responders, such as firefighters, police officers and paramedics, who are killed in the line of duty.
[Read More]

 

Construction resumes on Cayuga bridge
CAYUGA – Construction has resumed on the Highway 3 Cayuga bridge replacement today.
[Read More]


Barrett doesn’t get answers to “Power Line to Nowhere” question

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett was dragged into the ongoing “blame game” at Queen’s Park as he tried to find answers to when the power line that terminates in Caledonia will be finished.
[Read More]

 

‘Power line to nowhere’ costing taxpayers millions

QUEEN’S PARK – In Caledonia, an unfinished power line stands as a symbol of unresolved conflict as it continues to cost taxpayers millions of dollars in wasted money.
[Read More]

 

Municipal Land Transfer Tax will hurt home buyers

PORT DOVER – The provincial government plan to give municipalities the power to levy a Municipal Land Transfer Tax will hurt the average Ontario resident looking to buy a home.
[Read More]

 

Government votes to continue Death Tax

SIMCOE – The Liberal Government have voted down Leader of the Official Opposition Patrick Brown’s Private Member’s Bill, the Estate Administration Tax Abolition Act, which proposed the elimination of the so-called Death Tax.
[Read More]


Stalemate continues with bridges in Haldimand County

QUEEN’S PARK – It’s been a year since work stopped on the Provincial Highway 3 bridge in Cayuga due to protests from Confederacy Chiefs and their Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI). Today, local MPP Toby Barrett questioned the government what the plan is to finish this project.
[Read More]


FAO Report Confirms Hydro One Fire Sale a Bad Deal for Ontarians
QUEEN’S PARK – The Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO) confirmed the sale of Hydro One will be a scary scenario for Ontario residents.
[Read More]

 

‘Half Your Plate’ promotes fruit and vegetables
QUEEN’S PARK – Promoting healthy choices is not only good for the health of Ontarians, but also good for the economic health of farmers.
[Read More]


Barrett wants Auditor General to ‘follow the money’ on Liberals’ bargaining payouts
QUEEN’S PARK –MPP Toby Barrett is joining his MPP colleagues in questioning why the government finds $2.5 million to pay out to teachers’ unions, instead of spending it in the classroom.
[Read More]


Barrett takes Leal to task on Hydro One sale
QUEEN’S PARK – The question of who is standing up for farmers at the Cabinet table in regards to the sale of Hydro One remains unanswered.
[Read More]


Barrett queries Ontario government on U.S. Steel Canada

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett sounded the alarm about the immediate threat of pension and benefit losses facing U.S. Steel Canada pensioners. After hearing from a number of constituents at the Norfolk County Fair, Barrett raised this during Question Period in the Ontario Legislature this morning.
[Read More]

 

Barrett fears Nov. 1 hydro rate hike will force more to ‘heat or eat’
SIMCOE – The news of yet another unaffordable increase in electricity rates as a result of failed energy policies was met with disapproval from MPP Toby Barrett.
[Read More]

 

Government’s Great Lakes Act won’t protect environment: Barrett
SIMCOE – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett is disappointed the government has passed a flawed bill intended on helping the Great Lakes. Rather than working with the Opposition to protect the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin, the bill was rammed through with debate cut off.
[Read More]

 

Hydro One executive salaries soar while Ontarians struggle with paying power bills
QUEEN’S PARK – During Question Period this week, Opposition Leader Patrick Brown asked Premier Wynne why her government is paying Hydro One executives lavish salaries, while average Ontario families cannot afford to pay their electricity bills.
[Read More]

 

Ontario’s home and community care sector is failing patients
QUEEN'S PARK - Last week, the Auditor General of Ontario released her report on the financial operations and service delivery of the 14 Community Care Access Centre’s (CCAC’s) in Ontario.  The report stresses that the provincial government must take urgent action to address the poor state of the home and community care sector in Ontario. 
[Read More]

 

Bees to be covered by agriculture insurance
QUEEN’S PARK – Toby Barrett, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP and Opposition Critic for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, welcomed today’s announcement that the government would cover bees under agriculture insurance. The concept was put forward by the Official Opposition as an amendment to the The Agriculture Insurance Act.
[Read More]

 


Cayuga bridge fiasco raised again at Queen’s Park

QUEEN’S PARK – MPP Toby Barrett continues to question when construction will resume on the Cayuga bridge.
[Read More]


Neonics: Who is standing up for farming?
QUEEN’S PARK – Who is standing up for farming at the Cabinet table?
[Read More]

 

Barrett appointed Caucus Chair; reappointed Agriculture Critic
SIMCOE – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett has been appointed Caucus Chair and reappointed as agriculture critic by incoming Opposition Leader Patrick Brown.
[Read More]