Typical local newspaper profile of an Ontario citizens assembly member
Title: Helping boost democracy; Mountain resident eager to serve on citizens' assembly for electoral reform
Date: September 22, 2006
By: Mark Newman
For the article, click here.
Jennie Stakich enjoys a long walk each day to stay healthy.
Now the central Mountain resident and retired Ontario Hydro employee will have a hand in recommending how Ontario's electoral system should (if at all) be reformed. Those reforms could lead to a healthier turn out at the polls in future provincial elections.
"It seems quite interesting," said Ms. Stakich last month after she was named to the Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform. Ms. Stakich will represent the riding of Hamilton Mountain on the assembly which features 52 female and 51 members from the 103 ridings across the province.
The assembly's first meeting was slated to be held in Toronto Sept. 9.
"I'm going to wait and see what transpires at the meetings," said Ms. Stakich, who added she has no preconceived ideas about how to reform the province's first-past-the-post electoral system.
Ms. Stakich said the assembly will meet twice a month in Toronto between September and May. A report to the McGuinty government is expected by May 15.
It's expected the group will consider a variety of options to the current system for electing provincial governments, including some form of proportional representation.
"I'm hoping to make some contribution," said Ms. Stakich, who has worked federal, provincial and municipal elections in the past as a poll clerk, deputy returning officer and supervisor.
She feels it's a privilege to serve on the assembly and remains hopeful the outcome will lead to more Ontario residents casting ballots in the future.
"I think more people should get out to vote," Ms. Stakich said.
The McGuinty government has pledged that any proposed changes to Ontario's electoral system will be put to a referendum within the government's current mandate.
Assembly members were randomly chosen by Elections Ontario from the Permanent Register of Electors of Ontario (voters' list).
Citizens whose names were chosen were sent letters asking if they were interested in serving on the assembly. Those who expressed interest attended a meeting in their area where details about the assembly and the responsibility of its members was explained. From there, those who still wished to serve had their names put in a ballot box for their riding from which one member and two alternates were drawn.