Saturday, November 5, 2016

Non-metropolitan Canada needs proportional representation.

Non-metropolitan Canada needs proportional representation.

Maryam Monsef keeps saying a top concern is for marginalized voters in rural and remote communities who do not feel represented. Many would certainly not feel represented by their Conservative MPs.

Canada has 33 metropolitan areas, and 225 of Canada’s ridings are entirely or primarily in them. The other 113 are in non-metropolitan areas.

Unrepresented voters in non-metropolitan areas is a big problem in the West.

Western 39 non-metropolitan ridings

In the four western provinces, Liberal voters in the 39 non-metropolitan ridings cast over 23% of the votes, but elected only one MP, and she barely counts as non-metropolitan. West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country is only 55% outside the Vancouver metropolitan area, and Pam Goldsmith-Jones was mayor of West Vancouver.

Conservative voters in those 39 ridings cast 50.8% of the votes, yet elected 74% of those MPs, 29 of the 39. As for NDP voters, with only 20% of the vote concentrated in their strongholds, they elected nine of those 39.

Any decent regional proportional system would have let those Liberal voters elect nine or ten MPs like Prince George’s Tracy Calogheros, former Penticton school board chair Connie Denesiuk, Parksville councillor Carrie Powell-Davidson, Fort McMurray M├ętis leader Kyle Harrietha, Red Deer’s Chandra Kastern, Mike Pyne from Lethbridge, indigenous leader Lawrence Joseph from Prince Albert, former Saskatchewan Wheat Pool President Marvin Wiens, Brandon lawyer Jodi Wyman, and Springfield agriculture expert Terry Hayward.

Ontario’s 25 non-metropolitan ridings

We see the same problem in Ontario’s 25 non-metropolitan ridings, where Liberal voters cast 38.6% of the votes, but elected only 7 of those MPs, 28%. A good regional proportional system would have let them elect at least three more MPs, such as Katie Omstead from Chatham—Kent, Owen Sound communications consultant Kimberley Love, and Orillia’s former hospital CEO Liz Riley, or journalism professor Allan Thompson from Kincardine, Sarnia’s Dave McPhail, or aboriginal lawyer Trisha Cowie in Muskoka Lakes.  


Footnote on stats: As of the 2011 census those 33 metropolitan areas contained 69.1% of Canadians. Those 225 ridings are 67.4% of the 334 ridings other than the Territories and Labrador, or 66.6% of the full 338 ridings.

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