Canadian PoliticsLocal IssuesRegional Politics

Canada’s Broken Electoral System – Excluding the West


Before we get into the sour grapes, or being accused of sour grapes, we need some hard facts on the table. The basic premise that Canada stands on one person one vote and all votes are equal is a myth. Like you I do not have all the answers, but research the question and its very interesting what you can find.


Aside from that issue we have yet another, namely how can one person, an MP serve equally when the size of the riding’s, example Labrador, “Only 27,197 live there, according to Elections Canada. Yes it is vast — you could fit all of the United Kingdom inside Labrador and still have room for Costa Rica.”


The Skeena—Bulkley Valley Riding has been the same since 2004, there are 327,275 km2 in our riding and 67,070 voters according to Elections Canada. Compare that to say Toronto Centre that has a riding size of 6 kmyou could use a bike to serve that riding, while you could end up driving all day to get from one end of our riding to another. Should riding size determine the value of your vote?


“Canada lives with a basic and intensifying representational tension, with too few rural and too many urban dwellers. The historic compromise was to err on the side of rural representation — and in so doing, we veered away from the doctrine of “one person, one vote”


“Canadians in three provinces — Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia — live in ridings that are much larger than ridings in other provinces. While the average riding size in provinces like Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia is around 70,000 people — and in Prince Edward Island it is just over 30,000 — in Ontario it is about 110,000.”


“The question of whether or not Canadians were guaranteed voting equality was all but settled in a landmark 1991 Supreme Court ruling that said “deviations from absolute voter parity” may be justified under Canada’s charter.”


“the Niagara Falls district, which during the 2015 federal election was the most populous of all 338 Canadian ridings, with 128,357 people. The adjacent riding of Niagara West, by stark contrast, had only 86,533 inhabitants — a “mystifying inequality” of nearly 40 per cent.”


“Thanks to a historic provision that stipulates no province can have fewer MPs than it has senators. That adds up to more than four times the electoral wallop of the Alberta riding of Edmonton-Westaskiwin, Canada’s largest, according to the most current Elections Canada data, where 158,749 residents will elect only one MP.”


OK enough quotes, what is clear is that we as Canadians have to decide if or not we want to allow the city centres to have 100% control of parliament, or to keep the historic historic compromise that was to err on the side of rural representation. If we are going to choose a one equal vote system, be aware that rural Canada will no longer have a voice in parliament, at all.


Beware of what you wish for, would be in order here. Look closely at how we can give the western provinces fair representation without being lured into giving away 100% of the voice we now have. We need electoral reform, but under very careful scrutiny, or we will lose what we have now.


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