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The Ontario Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform
Jonathan Rose

On the morning of April 15, 2007 in a non-descript room at Queen’s 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 public policy. 

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 assembly’s 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 Ontario’s 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 Ontario’s 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 Assembly’s final report.

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 Assembly’s 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. 

Table 1
Demographics of Assembly Members vs. Ontario Population 

Age  Citizens' Assembly  Ontario population 
18-24  11% (11 Members)  12.29% 
25-39  22% (23 Members)  28.86% 
40-54  31% (32 Members)  29.67% 
55-70  24% (25 Members)  17.46% 
70+  12% (12 Members)  11.72% 
Total  100% (103 Members)  100% 

Hitting the Ground Running: The Learning Phase 

The Assembly’s 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 don’t 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 Queen’s 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 made concrete. 

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). 

Table 2:
Usefulness of Activities for Learning (in descending order of usefulness) 

  No  Minimum  Maximum  Mean 
Plenary lectures by staff  94  6.36 
Plenary lectures by visitors  94  5.97 
Small group sessions  94  5.62 
Personal study  92  5.58 
Plenary discussions by the whole assembly  94  5.34 
Informal conversations with staff  90  5.31 
Informal conversations with other members  91  5.26 
Conversations with family, friends, and/or other people in your riding  93  4.61 
Discussion on the web forum  87  3.82 

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 Assembly’s 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 OCA’s 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 Jacob’s 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 Assembly’s 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. 

Table 3:
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) 
90  17 
22 
59 
  100%  100% 
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 I’m 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 it’s 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 obtained. 

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 deliberation. 

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 assembly’s 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, “there’s 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 assembly’s 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 outcome. 

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 somewhat unbiased.14 

Conclusion 

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 of them. 

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. 

Notes 

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: Queen’s Printer for Ontario, 2007) 

3. These were Dianne Cunningham (Liberal), Joan Fawcett (PC) and Floyd Loughren (NDP) 

4. See table 7, “Learning Contract” Ontario Citizens’ Assembly Secretariat, Democracy at Work: The Ontario Citizens Assembly on Electoral Reform A Record of Ontario’s First Citizens’ Assembly Process, (Toronto: Queen’s 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, Queen’s 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. 


Canadian Parliamentary Review Cover
Vol 30 no 3
2007






Last Updated: 2017-10-03