Council expresses support for electoral reform

Tue, 03 May 2016

Oakville's Town Council voted unanimously in favour of a motion expressing support for the proposed changes to municipal elections in Ontario outlined in Bill 181, the Municipal Elections Modernization Act.

The motion was moved during Monday's town council meeting by Ward 4 Town and Regional Councillor Allan Elgar. It conveys support for the provincial government's intent to make municipal elections more transparent and open.

The Province would give municipalities the option to allow voters to rank candidates according to their preference, thus replacing the "first-past-the-post" system currently in place. The option of using ranked ballots currently exists only for the City of Toronto.

Bill 181 would also give municipalities the ability to ban corporate and union donations, create a framework to regulate third-party spending, and remove barriers affecting candidates and voters with disabilities.

"Bill 181 makes real changes to improve the openness and transparency of our elections, which is something we welcome whole-heartedly," said Councillor Allan Elgar. "I am pleased to see our Council moving forward unanimously alongside the provincial government to strengthen our local democracy."

The motion also calls on the Town of Oakville to undertake consultation with residents when the framework for implementing ranked ballot elections iis provided by the Province.

"Introducing a ranked ballot system would fundamentally change the way residents vote," said Oakville Mayor Rob Burton. "We will take as much time as necessary to consult the Oakville public on whether to make such a significant change."

Mayor Burton will be providing input on Bill 181 to members of Provincial Parliament at a provincial committee this Thursday, May 5.