Rejig of Federal Electoral Boundaries In the Works?

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).

Author: Gregory Beatty

Greg Beatty is a crime-fighting shapeshifter who hatched from a mutagenic egg many decades ago. He likes sunny days, puppies and antique shoes. His favourite colour is not visible to your puny human eyes. He refuses to write a bio for this website and if that means Whitworth writes one for him, so be it.

7 thoughts on “Rejig of Federal Electoral Boundaries In the Works?”

  1. They are rejigging where we used to live, an NDP stronghold for many years. Basically the end result is the riding being split and combined with PC ridings so that it’s going to be almost impossible for our MP to regain his seat next election. It all sounds good and it’s supposed to be impartial, but don’t hold your breath.

  2. The Leader-Post story today states that the “unique character of Saskatchewan”, as represented by the urban-rural hybrid ridings, only dates back to the 1960s.
    On another note, people hoping for the resurgence of one party or another had better not put all their eggs in the electoral-boundary basket, because if the boundaries are rejigged “favourably”, and your candidates still lose, what then?

  3. It seems upon closer study of the proposed electoral map that Regina-Qu’Appelle still has a healthy rural component. Saskatoon’s population in the last census was about 30,000 more than Regina so it is able to contain three ridings on its own.

    As far as population per riding goes, unlike the recent provincial exercise, where it was decided that only eligible voters in a riding should be counted for population purposes, the federal calculation includes the entire province. A 2011 census population of 1,033,381 divided by the 14 seats yields a per seat population of 73,813.

    The three Regina ridings have populations in excess of the average: Regina-Lewvan 76,395, Regina-Qu’Appelle 76,083 and Wascana 77,208. Saskatoon riding populations exceed the average too, but by smaller amounts except for Saskatoon Centre-University which has 76,244 residents.

    The three ridings with the smallest populations are Cypress Hills-Grasslands at 66,693, Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River 69,486 and Souris-Moose Mountain 71,089.

    Even now, all those figures are out of date, of course. As of April 1 the province’s population was estimated to be 1,072,082.

    Party politics enters into this debate, obviously. But the fundamental reason why this makes sense is that urban voters and rural voters have different interests. And while we all have a common interest as Saskatchewan residents and Canadians, I think democracy will be better served if voters are able to elect MPs from their communities who are best able to identify with their interests and concerns to represent them in Parliament.

  4. GO!!! Express support. It’s sad but the Conservatives who don;t want to lose their strangle hold on federal politics in SK WILL BE THERE expressing their OPPOSITION.

  5. These boundaries look good on the surface to me, although I am not crazy about how Regina Qu’Appelle looks.

    Honestly though, I am so cynical about the political process that I am waiting for the game-playing to become evident.

  6. I cribbed this from a Facebook post by Noah Evanchuk on the procedure you need to follow if you’re interested in presenting to the FEBC.

    The federal riding boundary process depends on the input of citizens. For those of you in the Regina and Moose Jaw area, the commission will be holding a public hearing on September 17 at 10 am in the Ramada Hotel on Victoria avenue. If you would like to make a submission, you must provide notice to the commission in writing no later than September 3rd. In your correspondence, the commission asks that your notice of presentation should include: your name, address and contact information, the organization you represent (if any), the date of the public hearing that you wish to attend, a short overview of the issues you intend to address, your official language of preference, and any accommodation needs you may have. You may send your notice to [email protected]. The more submissions the better!

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