Saturday, May 19, 2007

Under-representing Ontario

Conservative legislation, supposedly aimed at better reflecting Canada's new population demographics by creating more federal seats in the fast-growing provinces of Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, is set to bring the seat allocations of Alberta and B.C. (where, coincidentally, the Tories have a strong election base) into line with the other provinces, but curiously to leave Ontario (you guess it, poor potential Tory territory) substantially under-represented, albeit less under-represented than at present.
The 22 proposed new ridings, not expected to actually come into force until 2014 anyway, have been allocated 10 to Ontario , 7 to B.C. and 5 to Alberta. Using the government's own predicted populations for 2011, in all other provinces the percentage of seats will be within 1% of the relative proportions of their populations. Ontario, however, is expected to have 39.4% of the population and only 35.2% of federal seats, a shortfall of 4.2%. By 2021, as populations continue to grow, the Ontario shortfall is expected to worsen to 4.8%.
By my own calculations, that would leave Ontario under-represented by as many as 14 seats (of which a sizeable majority is likely to be non-Conservative) after the changes, and presumably up to 14+10=24 seats under-represented at the moment.
Coincidence? I think not.

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