Thursday, May 31, 2012

Our First Look at Redistribution 2013

Newfoundland and Labrador's federal boundary commission has released the first draft of what redistribution in the province will look like, and it's something of a favourable map for the Conservatives.

Earl Washburn of the Canadian Election Atlas deserves credit for getting to it first, and he's got a great overview of the ridings that I (mostly) agree with, as much as a Liberal can with Dippers these days anyways. While Newfoundland won't be getting any new ridings, five of them are getting rethinks due to shifting populations on the island. What that essentially means is that the riding of Avalon gets smaller and clawed back, because more of the population resides closer to St. John's than the hinterlands of the Rock.

Using an old map I put together of the entirety of the province poll-by-poll, you can somewhat guess how these new boundaries will affect all ridings for yourself:

Not the highest quality, I know, but you can see that every single riding that we currently hold has gained areas where the NDP and Conservatives have pockets of support. Avalon (with Scott Andrews, a really good Liberal MP who I like) and the new riding of Bay D'Espoir-Central-Notre Dame (where rockstar impersonator Scott Simms is likely to run) have become more marginal, especially Avalon where Scott Andrews loses a significant chunk of Liberal-leaning areas.

While Newfoundland and Labrador is interesting, Avalon was the only marginal riding that we knew would be affected (Labrador doesn't change, so doesn't count). In New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, however, there are a few marginal ridings that are going to be affected by redistribution, especially the ridings of Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe, Beausejour, Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, and Halifax West should likely be reshaped, and possibly not in our favour.

9 comments:

  1. All power to the hinterlands. Labrador is the smallest riding in the entire country and on average three times smaller than the average NFLD riding. That the electoral commission choose to leave it alone reveals the commission to be morally, intellectually and democratically bankrupt.

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    1. That's a fairly incredulous statement. Sure, Labrador riding has less population than other ridings, even within the province; at the same time, it's a very distinct area from the Island itself, and there is justification to keep it as a separate riding. The same goes for the territorial ridings, though granted they have more justification than Labrador.

      But to call the commission "morally, intellectually and democratically bankrupt" is really out of bounds.

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  2. There are all kinds of ridings that incorporate vastly different communities. West Vancouver Sunshine Coast is a prime example. If we were to break up ridings based on differences we would have a hell of lot more seats than we do now. Canada is big sparely populated place. Of course, all that is beside the point. The House is supposed to be organized around the principle of rep by pop and quite frankly equal representation by population must always trump all. People, not provinces or regions, deserve equal representation.



    Of course, there is not much to we can do to address the fact that smaller provinces are vastly over represented. Ontario has over 120,000 people per riding and there is no riding outside of the 4 largest provinces with over 90,000. However, it is high time the Liberals back a motion to insure that each riding within each province has roughly the same number of people. It is offensive that Labrador should have only 26,364 people in it and St John's East 88,002. It is offensive that Kenora has 64,291 (2006) and suburban riding of Oak Ridges - Markham 228,997 (2011).

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    1. It's not that I disagree Koby, quite the opposition - House electoral districts should have roughly equal populations, as close as you can get it anyways. That's just sane, and why we don't where in many cases we could, and this applies to quite a few GTA ridings even following the 2003 and the upcoming redistribution, is beyond me.

      At the same time, you cannot compare a riding like West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast, where most of the population is in the south and barely anyone lives in the interior or even the northern part of that riding's coastline, to a riding like Labrador, which has completely separate population centers from the Island ridings, and to boot, completely different economic and demographic differences than what's on the Island.

      Even a riding like Kenora is fairly distinct from areas like Thunder Bay, and I can tell you this for a fact given that I spent my summers in both areas when I was younger. There is less justification for Kenora's existence, but a lot of justification for Labrador's. Universality doesn't exist in every part of Canada, and when you have an area distinct enough from the rest of the province, even if it has less population, carving out a riding isn't half bad of an idea. You need to be reasonable about it, of course, but Labrador is fairly justified.

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  3. Labrador is a huge area with many remote communities. An MP would have a very very difficult job, and all constituents would suffer, if they were representing all of Labrador and the west coast of Newfoundland. I don't see any reason to say the commission is "morally, intellectually and democratically bankrupt." Justify that for us a bit more Koby.

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  4. Populated by season workers, Whistler is one of the youngest municipalities in country. The average age is 26. West Vancouver is one of the oldest. The medium age is 48. West Vancouver has the highest per capita income in the province. Powell River, meanwhile, is dying mill town that is dependent on the ferry service for its existence. Squamish and Gibbons are also resource communities. I can run the numbers six ways to Sunday and there will not be a more heterogeneous riding in the country in terms of the usual demographic markers. As for your implication that virtually everyone in the riding lives in Greater Vancouver, that is simply not true. West Vancouver has a population of 42,131 (2006). Lions Bay and Bowan Island 4,600. The other 80,000 or so live elsewhere.



    Jordan: No one would object to rural mps been given much more resources than urban or suburban mps. For example, there is no reason way a rural MP should not be given the resources to have multiple offices. However are you seriously making the argument that the vote of someone living in Labrador should be 9 times as valuable as someone living in Oak Ridges Markham because of geographical distance?

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    1. First off, if you go poll by poll and include every poll along the southern coast from Sechelt to Caplino and North Vancouver (which the riding takes a small chunk of), that's nearly 57,000 voters according to Elections Canada, out of the 99,642 registered voters in the riding as a whole. This is from 2011. That's just over 56% of the voters in the riding, Koby, and I guarantee of the actual population, it's over 50% at least as well. The areas of West Vancouver, Capilano, and the chunk of North Van are 37,000 voters themselves, that's already over 1/3 in a small confined area.

      Anyways, there is hardly enough distinction geographically between these areas to warrant their own riding, and certainly not demographically. Labrador is a very different area from the rest of the Island in very many ways, and it just makes sense to keep it separate. I mean, look at it. You think lumping it with Gander is a smart decision?

      Anyways, I'm not arguing this anymore. Agree to disagree.

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    2. So should an MP from Labrador/western Newfoundland be given a helicopter to travel throughout the riding?

      I agree with representation by population but that's not what we have in this country.

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  5. Serious Answer: Labrador is unique, very unique, and is a virtual Territory in many ways. It really has no "Business" being in Newfoundland if you consider the history. Labrador should be a Territory, but due to history, is not. Merging it with any riding on the Island of Newfoundland makes little sense, and in general, you'd find that Newfoundlanders agree with that. You have yet to prove that Labrador should be merged with any Newfoundland riding. Labrador is much more different than the Island of Newfoundland than any of the examples you provided. If you wish to have a serious debate, you need to prove Labrador is not different.

    Answer in the event you are actually not interested in a reasonable debate: "You are wrong, period."

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