First, the good news: Ontario is going to have a referendum in October on switching their voting system to mixed-member proportional representation! It’s about bloody time. This system both makes more sense, and is simpler to explain, than the single transferable ballot system which was proposed in BC. The BC referendum lost (narrowly), mostly because voters didn’t get how it would work. This is actually somewhat reasonable; it was poorly explained in the media, and no-one should be expected to vote in favour of something they don’t understand. At least this time that particular difficulty should be ameliorated. Only the Conservatives seem opposed, for reasons not clear to me. I’m still annoyed that the Liberal Party of Quebec didn’t get their act together and run a similar referendum here, but I imagine that if this is seen to work well in Ontario, it’ll increase the odds of such a system being adopted elsewhere in Canada. I can’t wait to see that happen. So, good work, Paul; all those local meetings you helped organize accomplished something after all!
Meanwhile, here in Quebec, there are more kerfuffles over immigrants’ rights: in February, a Muslim girl was told she couldn’t play soccer in her hijab, and now another group of Muslim girls have been told they can’t do Tae Kwon Do either. This one I really don’t get; the scarves are all tucked under their helmets anyways. Is it a co-incidence that a survey published here last week showed that 80% of Quebeckers favour the “assimilation”, rather than “integration”, of immigrant communities? Let me say, though, that I’m really frustrated that the English language media rarely bothers to print similar statistics for other parts of Canada by way of comparison. It’s easy to sit in Toronto and criticize Quebec, but I’d respect those papers more if they were willing to examine their own culture’s shortcomings too.