So, this actually happened: Tim Hudak stood up in Ontario Legislature yesterday and said that the only people who support ranked ballots and democratic reform are people “from the tinfoil-hat crowd“.
I have never hidden this fact from the media nor from my colleagues in the voting reform movement. In fact, in recent months I have proudly worn tinfoil hats on both CBC’s Power & Politics, and CTV’s Canada AM.
So, I suppose my first question to Tim is: What’s your point? Tinfoil hats are beautiful.
But more importantly, I’d like to ask Tim Hudak why he’s trying to publicly insult the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, his current leader Patrick Brown, his entire caucus, and himself?
After all, the Ontario PC party decided in 2004 that it was time to change THEIR voting system. Guess what system they switched to?
That year, they elected John Tory as their leader using a ranked ballot. Tory only received 45% of the vote on the first count, so Frank Klees (who came in last) was eliminated from the race and his supporters’ ballots were transferred to their second choice. Tory won on the second round.
Five years later, the Ontario PCs used ranked ballots again to elect their leader. Tim Hudak only got 34% support on the first ballot, so they went through three rounds until he reached the 50% mark.
And just last year, the party gathered once again to elect a new leader. According to Wikipedia, “The party’s 76,587 members were eligible to cast votes by preferential ballot“.
Here’s a memorable moment from that big night at the Toronto Congress Centre:
So here’s what I want to know: If the Ontario PC party requires their leader to get 50% to win their election, why do they think it’s ok to for City Councillors to “win” their seats with less than 50%?
Elected to Toronto City Council, October 2014:
Christin Carmichael Greb 17%
Ron Moeser 25%
Frank Di Giorgio 28%
John Campbell 34%
Stephen Holyday 36%
John Tory 40%
Joe Cressy 41%
Maria Augimeri 42%
Jon Burnside 42%
Mark Grimes 43%
Ana Bailão 45%
Vincent Crisanti 46%
Giorgio Mammoliti 46%
Cesar Palacio 46%
Regardless, the next time Tim Hudak wants to make fun of those who advocate for ranked ballots, he may want to remember that the Ontario PC party was one of the first proponents of this important reform, and they continue to use it today.
They were the original “tinfoil hat crowd”, and they should wear those hats with pride.