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Ontario awaiting go-ahead on ranked ballots from Toronto council, Kathleen Wynne says

Mar 25, 2015 2:17:08 PM - 748

Premier Kathleen Wynne says she’s waiting for the go-ahead from Toronto city council before changing legislation that will allow for ranked ballots in the next civic election.

“Let’s let council make their decision,” she told reporters Wednesday after announcing music industry grants at a Scarborough recording studio.

“Obviously if they want to do it for the next election we have to move on it.”

But Mayor John Tory (open John Tory's policard) — who spoke in favour of the voting reform earlier this week — quickly reminded the premier that council spoke its mind on the issue two years ago.

Tory, who became mayor last year, said he’s tired of issues being endlessly debated and re-debated in what amounts to political “ping pong.”

The next municipal elections in Ontario are in 2018.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Wynne believes another council vote is necessary in Toronto.

However, she said the offer is open to other cities and towns as well.

“If municipalities are interested in going that route we’re interested in working with them. It’s an interesting idea, if councils want to try it I think that we owe them that respect.”

Tory told the Star on Tuesday that “change and reform” are needed in municipal elections, with the potential to dramatically alter the makeup of council.

Backers of ranked ballots, which would require citizens to mark their first, second, third and subsequent choices for mayor and council would ensure winners are supported by more than half the voters, unlike the current “first-past-the-post” system in which a simple plurality is needed.

It’s widely believed that ranked ballots, would make candidates less likely to unleash attack ads on opponents — because a broad base of support is required to win — and would encourage discussion of issues.

As well, proponents say citizens will not feel their votes are wasted.

Canada: (Latest Stories)