Sunday, July 8, 2012

Alberta Gerrymander?

Prior to the release of the proposed ridings for Alberta, there were fears from the NDP and even Liberals, that the new ridings would be gerrymandered in such a way as to prevent these parties from winning seats. The reality, however, did not see this materialize, and in fact, the "progressive" parties maintain their strength in Edmonton, and, gain strength in Calgary.

Despite that, I see a possible gerrymander. Not against the NDP or the Liberals, but against Wildrose. Consider this map from daveberta

Compare it to this map from Wikipedia, showing the provincial results.

Under the current boundaries, it is quite possible that had Wildrose run federally, they would have won 5 ridings. Sweeping Medicine Hat, taking MacLeod and Crowfoot, and winning Lethbridge by sweeping the rural areas around it, and Wildrose, by winning areas outside Banff. This would give them 5 of the current 28 seats in the province. They would also have a strong showing in Red Deer, but would be unlikely to win it given the (Progressive) Conservative support in the city of Red Deer itself.

Compare this to the new set of ridings. Remember Alberta gets 6 additional seats, going up to 34. With the new Ridings, Lethbridge, being more focused on the city, becomes unwinnible at current support levels. Wildrose as a riding is destroyed, and none of the new ridings present themselves as especially strong alternatives. Medicine Hat and Foothills can be won, as well as Bow River, but beyond this, it gets a bit tricky. Battle River has lost it's southern edge as Crowfoot, and becomes more PC-Friendly. Red Deer South (and North) split the city, and it's Anti-Wildrose vote. While the number of "possible wins given a vote increase" does go up, the number of "certain wins" is reduced to 3 out of the 34 ridings. 

This may have been an unintentional side effect of redistribution, given that there are no Wildrose MP's to file a complaint, there was no concern given to how these areas vote, and thus, they were simply done on the basis of population and community of interest. Or, this may have been a warning shot against Wildrose to not even think about jumping into Federal politics from a Prime Minister that has often faced the ire of the right-wing of his own party.


  1. 14 or 15 sitting MPs jumping to Wildrose right now would hold considerable sway over this government, to push their agenda on social issues...

  2. 14 or 15 sitting MPs jumping to Wildrose would create a minority government in Ottawa that could fall at any time.

  3. Reversing the Gerrymander (to be pro-wildrose) is easy enough:

    Rather than a united Lethbridge riding, and a Red Deer split in two, do the opposite. This would gain Wildrose 1 seat in each area.
    Cut Banff differently. This would gain them the seat.
    "Rotate" Battle River "down" rather than "up". This would gain them this seat.
    Draw Lakeland as to include as many pro-Wildrose areas as possible. Gaining them this seat.
    Adjust the Calgary-Midnapore riding to remove the "downtown" areas and add more "Uptown" areas, gaining them this riding.

    This would raise their total from 3 to 9.