On the morning of April 15, 2007 in a non-descript room at Queens Park,
a group of 103 citizens cast their final vote concluding a remarkable journey
that began eight months earlier. In doing so, they would set into motion
a province-wide referendum the first since 1921 on the election of
provincial politicians. The decision of the Ontario Citizens Assembly
on Electoral Reform (OCA) will be put to all voters in the provincial election
on October 10, 2007. The process that lead to its decision is an extraordinary
one both in terms of citizen engagement as well as the capacity of ordinary
citizens to reason on matters of complex public policy. This article will
attempt to summarize the work of the OCA by examining its three phases
and offer some tentative observations about its usefulness as a tool of
While they arrived at their destination in April, it was November 18, 2004
when the OCA was launched by Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty. He announced
plans to have a citizens assembly examine the issue of electoral reform
and promised to hold a binding referendum on the assemblys recommendation.
From June to November 2005, an all-party Select Committee on Electoral
Reform examined the options around electoral reform and recommended the
terms of reference for a citizens assembly including criteria for the
assembly to assess electoral systems. These principles1 would later form
the basis of how assembly members understood and analyzed different electoral
systems. The assembly was created on March 27, 2006 with the appointment
of George Thomson as Chair.
The regulation that established the OCA (Ontario regulation 82/06) did
provide some guidance as to the composition of the Assembly. Unlike the
British Columbia citizens assembly, the selection of OCA members would
be done by the independent electoral office, in this case Elections Ontario.
The regulation stated that there had to be one member from each electoral
district and that the assembly had to be comprised of 52 females and 51
males. It also stated that one person had to be an identified aboriginal.
Its list of those who could not serve was very clear. Members of the Ontario
legislature, or Canadian parliament were unable to be Assembly members
as were members of elected members of municipal governments. In an effort
to ensure a reasonable level of neutrality, federal and provincially nominated
candidates and officers of a constituency association were also prohibited
from serving as members.
Members were chosen by Elections Ontario from May to July 2006. Over 120,000
initial letters were sent from Election Ontarios Register of Electors.
The register had been recently updated to ensure that the list was as accurate
as possible. Of those who received the letter 7,033 responded affirmatively
to Elections Ontarios request asking if they would be willing to attend
a meeting where a member from the electoral district would be chosen. In
essence, they were consenting to be short-listed. From this pool 1,253
were invited to attend one of the twenty nine selection meetings held across
the province where one member and two alternates from each electoral district
were chosen by random draw. The alternates were to be used only if the
members dropped out before the first meeting in September. Since no members
dropped out during the entire eight month project no alternates were used.
While this provided some good parameters for selecting members, one crucial
element was missing. The regulation was silent on whether age would be
filtered in addition to gender. There was a concern that if Elections Ontario
did not control for age, the make-up of the Assembly might not reflect
the age demographics of the province. Elections Ontario consented to control
for age in its selection of the 1,253 potential members who were to attend
the selection meetings and as the table below indicates the final random
selection closely approximated the age demographic of the province.
In other ways, too, Assembly members were diverse. Collectively, they spoke
over 28 languages, 66 of them were born in Ontario while 11 were from other
provinces and 27 were from outside Canada. In terms of occupations, they
were also a very diverse group as indicated in the Assemblys final report.2
Largely because of the organization of Elections Ontario, the selection
of Assembly members was very smooth though there were some lessons to be
learned in the selection phase. One of the most surprising things I observed
was that many members of the public who attended the meetings and were
not chosen were visibly upset, which I think speaks to the remarkable and
unique nature of the project. It also was portentous in terms of signifying
the commitment that members had throughout the eight months. Those who
were chosen were committed at the outset. While the Assembly members were
chosen at random, there were several factors that mitigated against the
randomness of the selection. First, citizens were asked to reply to a request
to examine electoral reform which may have given an initial pre-disposition
toward reform. It seems plausible that those who received the letter who
had no interest in changing the system would choose not to participate
in the Assembly. Having said that, there were Assembly members who were
initially opposed to reform and made their views known in the learning
phase. Judging from the penultimate vote of the Assembly on April 14, 2007,
16 of the 103 members voted for the current system when asked should Ontario
keep its current electoral system or adopt the Assemblys Mixed Member
Proportional system? which suggests that at least 15% of Assembly members
preferred the current system than the one the Assembly finally recommended.
The commitment of time to the Assembly by members was considerable. A second
factor that may have affected the randomness of the process was the time
commitment required by prospective members. One conclusion that might be
drawn from table 1 is that the age cohort of the assembly in part reflects
the time available to participate in such a project. For example, those
55-70 years old were over-represented in the Assembly because these were
the group most likely to have the on average 30 to 40 hours a month to
commit to the project. The same logic may explain why the cohort of 25-39
years old were under-represented. This is the group most likely to be in
mid-career and with young children arguably the group that has the most
burdens placed on their time. One other problem with randomly choosing
members through the Register of Electors is the inherent bias this has
against those who are homeless or who may find themselves moving regularly
and not having their residence information updated. These problems, while
minor, must be considered in the selection of members if and when another
citizens assembly were to take place.
After the selection meetings between May 27 and July 5, members were called
by the Chair to determine if any member had special needs, given a guide
book that told them about the process of the Assembly and rules about expenses
and travel etc. as well as given summer reading material, the first evidence
that they were eager to learn. That material ranged from basic information
about our parliamentary and party system to more advanced information about
electoral systems. Members were offered articles to ensure that they were
ready to begin the process of learning about electoral systems in September
and many were happy to take that offer.
Demographics of Assembly Members vs. Ontario Population
|11% (11 Members)
|22% (23 Members)
|31% (32 Members)
|24% (25 Members)
|12% (12 Members)
|100% (103 Members)
Hitting the Ground Running: The Learning Phase
The Assemblys regulation was silent on the time that the Assembly had
to learn, consult and deliberate on electoral systems though was clear
on when the Assembly had to report. As the Chair, George Thomson said,
We know the date of arrival. We just dont know the destination yet.
Much was learned from the BC Citizens Assembly which provided the rough
template from which the Ontario Assembly would be based. In April, prior
to the selection of members, the Chair, Karen Cohl, the Executive Director
and I, as the Academic Director, spoke with BC Assembly staff and members
to begin thinking about how the Ontario model might build on the obvious
strengths of the BC model but also modify it to suit the needs of Ontario
and the style of the Secretariat. There was always an assumption that the
learning phase would be six weekends much like the BC model. Like the
BC model, there would be one primary educator with facilitators chosen
from graduate students in political science.
Early on it was decided to do two things that differed from the BC example.
First, unlike BC, in Ontario former provincial politicians, one from each
party represented in the legislature, would talk to Assembly members in
a session billed as the work world of parliament. The second difference
was to use simulations as an integral component of learning about electoral
systems. The reason for having a panel of three former politicians speak
and answer questions for 90 minutes was to balance the lecture members
had been given on the functions of parliament. All three politicians3 spoke
of the trade-off between constituency work and policy making in the legislature.
They also spoke of the tension that arises around when party discipline
conflicts with personal preferences. All three also spoke of time commitment
that MPPs put in their work including the length of time spent traveling
both in their electoral district as well as between their constituency
and Queens Park. In short, having a panel of former politicians did a
few things. It put a face to the oft-maligned work of politicians, it reinforced
the importance of constituency work and third, it showed that the work
of an MPP involves considerable trade-offs not only in terms of policy
vs. constituency work but also in terms of party vs. personal preferences.
I think the members left feeling more enriched by the discussion and surprised
at the complex range of issues faced by members of all parties.
The use of simulations was another difference between the Ontario and BC
citizens assemblies. Electoral systems are notoriously complex. On one
level, they are simply about the translation of votes to seats. On the
level that OCA members were expected to think about them, they required
a careful balancing of different principles and competing notions of representation.
For example, the simple question of whether single member seats had greater
merit over multi-member seats was really a proxy for whether a legislature
should be more about local representation where accountability lies with
one member or proportionality where diversity of interests is given primacy.
This is a tough issue for many students of politics to understand. Simulations
were seen as a tangible way for members to learn by doing.
On the first weekend of the learning phase, OCA members and staff voted
in mock elections using single member plurality, a majority system called
alternative vote and list PR. In order to make it meaningful, members were
told that the results of their votes would determine the kinds of food
snacks they would be served on the second weekend of the learning phase.
This exercise was designed to be a fun and tactile introduction some of
the different ballot types and electoral formulae. The objective was to
emphasize that different electoral systems produce different results. The
value of these simulations was evident throughout the learning phase as
members referred back to this exercise when learning about and discussing
these electoral systems.
On the last weekend of the learning phase advanced simulations were conducted
using the mixed member proportional, parallel (or mixed member majoritarian)
and single transferable vote systems. Members were again asked to vote
for food snacks. Unlike the simulation on the first weekend which was simply
to expose members to different kinds of ballots and reinforce the connection
between ballots and electoral results, these simulations were designed
to explain the complexities of ballot structure. In these, features of
electoral systems such as district magnitudes and proportional formulas
were altered to produce different results in terms of proportionality
and the relative strengths of parties in the legislature. The purpose was
to help make learning about these relatively complicated systems more accessible
and help members understand that the task of electoral design involves
more than the choice of an electoral system. Moreover, the simulations
gave members practical experience using electoral systems and ballots that
they had not previously been exposed to. Members were given a feel for
how different electoral systems work in practice to complement their theoretical
discussions about the nature and purpose of political representation.
Simulations were only a part of the learning philosophy. On the first weekend,
members were given a learning contract which outlined what they could
expect to learn and the approach taken as well as what was expected of
them.4 The basic pattern each weekend saw a lecture outlining broad themes
followed by small group discussion lead by a facilitator. In order to make
the small groups an important part of learning, facilitator guides were
given to the facilitators prior to the weekend and discussed at a Friday
night meeting before each learning weekend. These guides provided fairly
detailed plans about how each hour long small group session should be structured
and listed the pedagogical goals as well as often providing a learning
activity. Prior to the learning phase several of my early lectures were
focus group tested on literacy educators to ensure that language, tone
and pace were appropriate for a diverse group of learners. As table 2 shows,
feedback from weekly surveys given to members suggests that both plenary
lectures as well as small groups were seen as useful activities for learning.
The data also show that the lectures by visitors5
were also ranked highly.
An important principle in teaching assembly members was active learning
which involves giving learners exposure to tangible learning tools in order
to help illustrate or explain abstract concepts. Discussions of political
representation may not as easily lend themselves to active learning. But,
one tangible component of an electoral system is the ballot. Early in the
learning phase, members were given a collection of ballots used in a variety
of jurisdictions employing different electoral systems. During a small
group session they were asked to compare these ballots to a sample ballot
used in Ontario provincial elections. This exercise was used to initiate
a discussion of the nature of representation under different electoral
systems. This exercise appears to have helped members make connections
between abstract concepts of representation and the various ways representation
finds expression in different electoral arrangements. It was seen as an
important way in which the abstract ideals of electoral systems could be
The weekly evaluation suggests that the learning methods were seen as appropriate
but they are silent on how effective they might have been. While an analysis
of the detailed surveys that assessed members knowledge has yet to be
done, preliminary work suggests that knowledge about fundamentals of electoral
systems increased during the learning phase. Members were asked four questions
about political facts. These required respondents to name another country
that used single member plurality; a mixed system; an ordinal ballot and
one that uses proportional representation. Before the learning phase only
9% were able to answer three or four of these questions correctly. After
the learning phase, 81% were able to answer three or four of the questions
correctly. This is consistent with their own confidence about electoral
systems. Members were asked how informed about electoral systems do you
feel? where 0 is not informed and 10 is very informed. Before learning
the mean was 4.32 (with a std. dev. of 2.2). After learning it was 7.68
(with a std. dev. of 1.38).
Usefulness of Activities for Learning (in descending order of usefulness)
|Plenary lectures by staff
|Plenary lectures by visitors
|Small group sessions
|Plenary discussions by the whole assembly
|Informal conversations with staff
|Informal conversations with other members
|Conversations with family, friends, and/or other people in your riding
|Discussion on the web forum
Note: Question asked was: Please rate the following activities in terms
of what was most useful for LEARNING. (Please circle your answer for each
question, where 1 means least useful and 7 means most useful.)
Source: Institute on Governance, Citizen Deliberative Decision-Making:
Evaluation of the Ontario Citizens Assembly on Electoral Reform, (Ottawa:
IOG, 2007), 44.
The weekly questionnaires as well as surveys to the members tell us that
they were able to understand the complexities of electoral systems. The
Assembly members also understood that learning was a critical component
of their success. When asked to rate the most critical elements to the
success of the Assembly (where 1 means not important and 7 means very important)
members listed the learning phase (6.64), Academic Director (6.62) and
Chair (6.61) as the top three factors contributing to the Assemblys success.6
There are several observations that can be made about the learning phase
of the Assembly. The most important is that presentation of learning material
should be in as diverse a manner as possible. Diversity in the presentation
of learning material was the hallmark of the education phase. Learning
material was presented in different venues as well as in different forms.
The importance of teaching to different learning styles (visual learners,
verbal learners, self learners) was always paramount in the preparation
of the material. In addition to the plenary for the introduction of broad
concepts, small tutorial style groups where in-depth discussion could
occur much learning occurred in semi-structured learning time at the hotel
in the evenings after the formal sessions had ended. These evening sessions,
known as Politics 101 were originally designed as remedial sessions for
members who wished for additional assistance. They quickly evolved into
an advanced class in the nuances of electoral systems.
What lessons can we draw from the OCAs learning? One issue that did come
up regularly among members was the lack of time. While electoral systems
were covered in depth, some subjects, such as the role of parties, functions
of legislatures or issues around political culture, were presented more
in terms of breadth and were at an introductory level. If the OCA is any
indication, citizens desire for knowledge when given the right incentives
such as the possibility of changing policy is great. Members were often
more at ease learning than making tough decisions which they would sometimes
delay by requesting more information. Having more time may have abated
that tendency somewhat and lessened their quite reasonable feelings that
they were being rushed. A second issue has to do with Jane Jacobs idea
that the look of things and the way they work are inextricably bound together.
Citizens assemblies are not juries. They are not impassive bodies that
hear evidence and choose among options. Rather, they are active and engaged
participants in collective deliberation. The space that they do their work
conditions how they work. The Assemblys meetings were held in a large
university lecture hall at Osgoode Hall law school called the moot court
room. The theatre-style seating with seats and long tables in front of
them made for easy note taking but did not easily facilitate the crucial
dialogue among members that must occur. Like the typical university class
it was, the focus was on the dissemination of information from the stage
to the students not the interaction among the students. This structural
limitation was mitigated somewhat by ensuring that those speaking were
projected on a large screen in front of the class so that all could see.
Subsequent assemblies would be wise to pay particular attention to the
space where the assembly meets.
Citizens Consulting Citizens
Time was not only the only pressure point in the learning phase. It was
a critical factor in the second phase of the OCA, the consultation phase
which ran from November 2006 to January 2007. During that period citizens
were invited to share their views with OCA members in two ways. They could
write a submission or they could present at consultation meetings. Many
members of the public did both. Over 1000 written submissions were received
and over 500 individuals presented at 41 meetings across the province.7
Almost 2,000 people were present at these meetings. The views of otherwise
marginalized groups were solicited by having four special outreach groups
for low income, single parents, people with disabilities, immigrants and
other hard to reach groups. A total of 115 members of the public attended
those meetings. Every Assembly member attended at least one consultation
meeting and many attended meetings in other parts of the province or in
adjacent electoral districts. A members-only web forum provided an opportunity
for written submissions to be discussed and for members to provide feedback
to each other about consultation meetings.
Knowledge of Electoral Systems: A Test of Four Questions
|Number of correct answers
|Before the learning phase (% of members)
|After the consultation phase (% of members)
Percentages are rounded; N=97 before and N=93 after. Source: Institute on Governance, Citizen Deliberative Decision-Making:
Evaluation of the Ontario Citizens Assembly on Electoral Reform, (Ottawa:
IOG, 2007), 42.
There are several interesting observations to be made about who participated
in the OCA consultation process and what effect consultation had on members'
decision-making. Eighty percent of all registered presenters were men suggesting
that parts of this issue engaged men more than women. Members of the public
could address either the mechanics of electoral system concentrating on
different systems and their elements or they could focus on what an electoral
system should accomplish using the OCA principles as guidelines. While
most public presenters supported some change almost 90% of those making
submissions favoured change with 32% arguing for MMP8. It is impossible
to know what kind of impact this had on OCA members but it is clear both
from statements made in plenary sessions as well as the Consultation Reports
that the members claimed they learned a lot from the public who participated
and were impressed the presentations9.
In a survey given to OCA members
after consultation, 87.4% found written submissions from the public very
informative or somewhat informative while 95.7% found the public meetings
they attended informative or very informative. However, of the elements
that members said that contributed to their success, they saw the consultation
as the second least important (though the range from the most important
to the least important is small).10 For members, there seems to be an ambivalence
to consultation. They found the consultation sessions informative but not
important to their decision. It is difficult to know whether this is because
it reinforced their own ideas held at the time or whether members were
unsure of their role in consultation.
Usually in public consultation exercises, it is experts who are consulting
citizens. In the OCA and any citizens assembly, it is citizens consulting
citizens. OCA members were in the unusual situation of being citizens who
believed they had little expertise consulting the public who they believed
had significant expertise. As one member said I am a member of the Citizens
Assembly, but Im also a member of the public. I am an ordinary person.
While another said about those who appeared at the public meetings a lot
of these people have been thinking about these views for years, and as
ordinary citizens its nice [for us] to get different views.11 I believe
that OCA members, though eager to hear their fellow citizens views, did
not possess the vocabulary to use the public consultation in a manner that
would aid in their deliberation. This is because they too were citizens
and there were few new ideas raised at these meetings. As one OCA member
puts it when asked if anything new was learned at these meetings, No,
it goes to show you how well prepared we are.
So, what was the role of the citizen assembly members during consultation?
Were they experts listening to laypeople? Were they citizens listening
to the concerns of other citizens? Were they beginners listening to the
opinions of experts who have been thinking about these views for years?
OCA members no doubt played all of these roles at one time or another during
the consultation phase but even if an individual member had a clear sense
of his or her role it was not always clear what to do with the information
The difficulty is that although the members were obliged to listen to the
concerns of other citizens they struggled with the fact that the consultation
phase was not primarily about obtaining information (like the learning
phase) but could be more easily understood as an exercise in legitimacy.
It can be argued that the OCA consultation phase was not designed to benefit
those doing the consulting (the OCA members) but instead to benefit the
public whose views were sought.
Getting to A Decision: Deliberation in Four Weekends
Like the learning phase which preceded consultation, the deliberation phase
came almost immediately after consultation. In the BC Citizens Assembly,
members had an entire summer between consultation and deliberation giving
them an opportunity to discuss, debate and examine the views heard in consultation.
The OCA had to digest the feedback they received from the public in much
less time. In order to aid that, on the first weekend of deliberation in
February, members were given four documents summaries of what they heard
at consultation meetings (What we Heard), themes that emerged from written
summaries (What we Read) and a summary of meetings held with special
outreach groups. Some members of the public devised their own electoral
system or created a hybrid out of two or more systems. These unique systems
were summarized and given to members so that they might be useful during
It was evident in the first weekend of deliberation that the decision
whether to maintain the present system or to recommend another system
would have to be made not in the six weekends that were scheduled but in
four. This is because first weekend of deliberation was a review of consultation
and a discussion of the deliberation plan. The final sixth weekend had
to be devoted to approval of the final report which meant that there were
four substantive weekends to choose alternative electoral systems, work
up viable models that reflected the assemblys priority principles and
to compare those to the present system.
Deliberation marked a turning point in the behaviour of the assembly. Up
to that point, this was a group who was operating on keeping an open mind
about everything and not eliminating anything from discussion. The mantra
of the Chair, theres no decision until the final decision was certainly
true but the actions of the assembly during deliberation reflected the
reality that it needed to come to a decision and that meant making choices.
This was, without a doubt, the toughest part of the assemblys work in
part because they felt they were making decisions with imperfect information
but also in part because of the time pressures which made them feel rushed
in decision-making. When confronted with a important or contentious decision,
they would inevitably ask for more information.
Several decisions were easy. On what alternative systems to work up, they
overwhelmingly settled on mixed member proportional (MMP) and chose single
transferable vote (STV) as a distant second choice. The design of the latter
was relatively straight-forward, in part because the elements of STV are
fewer than those of MMP. Over the two weekends they spent designing MMP,
they had to make fifteen design decisions compared to STV which required
only six substantive design decisions. On contentious issues such as whether
their MMP model would allow balance seats to compensate for overhangs12,
members were deeply conflicted. On this decision, for example, the assembly
voted three times, finally settling on not allowing balance seats but only
after it had been assuaged that its model likely would not have generated
considerable overhangs. This decision is reflective of the very cautious
and methodical way in which the assembly operated. Comfortable making decisions
when they had full information, the assembly struggled when they were faced
with making choices in the face of deadlines or without being certain of
The tension between providing assembly members with robust information
while at the same time not drowning them in data or priming them to an
answer is a very fine line. Arguably, the most critical element to a successful
citizens assembly is to do two apparently contradictory things: to support
the Assembly in its decision and deliberation but also to ensure its independence.
According to James Surowiecki the independence of a deliberative body is
a crucial element to it reaching a sound decision.13 The process needed
to be strongly supported by a Secretariat whose job was to ensure that
members received the resources and tools necessary to help them with a
decision without steering them in any direction. At the same time, members
needed to seek their own sources of knowledge and be willing to share that
with their colleagues. This was done through a members-only web forum
which served as a place for members to post articles, web-links or engage
in debates about issues they were working through. Members extra-curricular
learning occurred at evening sessions at the hotel where ad hoc groups
would form to discuss issues before the assembly that weekend. From feedback
in weekly surveys, members believe they were well supported and that plenary
presentations were neutral. One question asked whether staff were readily
available and helpful. Based on a 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly
agree) scale, ratings were between 4.62 and 4.81 throughout the twelve
weekends suggesting a high degree of support. The crucial measurement of
neutrality was also upheld with 93.3% of members saying that the presentation
of the options of the Academic Director and research staff were very or
Citizens Assemblies, as policy making, deliberative bodies, are still
in their infancy but already we can detect similarities among them. What
is apparent from all of them is that citizens have the capacity to deliberate
on complex issues. They are able and eager to learn. In the OCA, no more
than 5 members were ever absent on any weekend. That over the twelve weekends
the average absence in a group of 103 was two, speaks strongly to members
commitment to the project.15
Significantly, assembly members were able
to put aside partisan differences to find a common solution something
that is often lacking in legislatures on which citizen assemblies are based.
Like the other citizens assemblies, the learning and deliberation of OCA
was well supported by a staff who were perceived by Assembly members as
neutral and even handed in their presentation of material. Neutrality in
the presentation of material and independence of decision-making are two
of the most important elements in any citizens assembly. It is also vital
that the deliberative process be undertaken only after members have fully
examined the range of issues and are confident in their grasp and the implications
The usefulness of citizens assemblies on other policy matters has yet
to be determined. Arguably, one of the reasons why the Assembly worked
well was that members did not have a clearly articulated or well thought-out
positions on the issue being decided. How a citizens assembly would function
on a matter where opinions were entrenched is not known.
We do not yet know if the OCA recommendation will be endorsed by voters
or not. Whatever its outcome, the OCA has demonstrated the importance of
this alternative policy making body. Its significance is determined not
by whether or not its recommendation will be accepted but whether or not
as a process of learning, consulting and deliberation it offered a creative
approach to citizen-participation. On these grounds it was clearly a success.
1. These principles are legitimacy, fairness of representation, voter choice,
effective parties, stable and effective government, effective parliament,
stronger voter participation and accountability. The assembly members would
later add a ninth, simplicity and practicality.
2. One Ballot, Two Votes A New Way to Vote in Ontario: Recommendation of
the Ontario Citizens Assembly on Electoral Reform (Toronto: Queens Printer
for Ontario, 2007)
3. These were Dianne Cunningham (Liberal), Joan Fawcett (PC) and Floyd
4. See table 7, Learning Contract Ontario Citizens Assembly Secretariat,
Democracy at Work: The Ontario Citizens Assembly on Electoral Reform A
Record of Ontarios First Citizens Assembly Process, (Toronto: Queens
Printer for Ontario, 2007), 65.
5. Visitors who spoke to the Assembly were former MPPs on weekend 2, a
panel of political scientists on weekend 3 and international scholars of
electoral systems on weekend 5. A full list of names can be found in Ontario
Citizens Assembly Secretariat, Democracy at Work 219
6. See Institute on Governance, Citizen Deliberative Decision-Making: Evaluation
of the Ontario Citizens Assembly on Electoral Reform, 71.
7. See Democracy at Work, pp. 84-94
8. Citizens Assembly on Electoral Reform, Public Consultation Reports
(Citizens Assembly Secretariat, 2007). 1-8, 2-3
9. See 1-14, Consultation Reports
10 See IOG, Citizen Deliberative Decision-Making: Evaluation of the Ontario
Citizens Assembly on Electoral Reform, 54
11. These are discussed in Lyndsey Hannigan, The Effectiveness of Public
Consultation: A Case Study of the Ontario Citizens Assembly on Electoral
Reform. Unpublished B.A. honours thesis, Queens University, 91 and 98.
12. Overhangs occur in MMP systems when a party wins more local seats than
its share of the party vote entitles it to. Since these local seats are
not taken away from that party, temporary or balance seats are added to
the legislature to compensate other parties who did not have overhangs.
If balance seats are not allowed, when overhangs occur, other parties share
of the list seats is reduced.
13. See his Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many are Smarter than the Few and
How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations.
(New York: Random House, 2004).
14. Institute on Governance, Citizen Deliberative Decision-Making: Evaluation
of the Ontario Citizens Assembly on Electoral Reform.
15. Democracy at Work, 137.