We’ve reported on this before, but every ten years following the Canadian census commissions are established in each province to assess shifts in population and tweak federal electoral boundaries to ensure that voter differentials remain within prescribed limits.
At least, that’s typically what happens.
In Saskatchewan’s case, based on the skewed results of the last few elections, where the Harper Conservatives have been able to capture the vast majority of the 14 federal seats with a modest majority of the popular vote, concerns have been expressed that the hybrid urban/rural nature of the eight ridings that Regina and Saskatoon were divided up into following the last boundary review in 2002 require more than just a tweak to remedy.
Representations to that effect were made to the Saskatchewan commission, which is chaired by Justice Ron Mills, by groups of University of Regina and Saskatchewan political science professors this spring. Today, the Federal Electoral Boundary Commission released its proposal for a revised electoral map.
You can read the entire report here. But as far as Regina and Saskatoon go, the commission is recommending the creation of three predominantly urban ridings in both cities: Regina-Lewvan, Wascana, Regina-Qu’Appelle in Regina; and Saskatoon-West, Saskatoon-Grasswood and Saskatoon Centre-University in Saskatoon. The remaining eight seats are distributed throughout the rest of the province.
Of course, a similar riding distribution was proposed by the 2002 commission. But in the public hearings that followed representations were made about how the hybrid ridings reflected the unique character of Saskatchewan and therefore should be maintained. So the commission reversed its recommendation to establish distinct urban and rural ridings.
The above link has information on the hearing schedule for the 2012 review. It begins in Regina on Sept. 17 at 10 a.m. at the Ramada Hotel and concludes Oct. 5 at the Radisson Hotel in Saskatoon, with six other dates in between: Swift Current (Sept. 18), Weyburn (Sept. 19), Fort Qu’Appelle (Sept. 20), North Battleford (Oct. 2), Prince Albert (Oct. 3) and Tisdale (Oct. 4).