Thursday, October 20, 2011

Adding House Seats Fairly (and Appeasing Quebec)

In my previous article, I looked at how the latest proposed distribution of new seats in the House of Commons failed to fairly represent Ontario and Alberta. Using this same math, how could the Conservative government add new seats to more fairly balance the distribution between the larger provinces of Ontario, Alberta, BC and Quebec?

Let's work with the assumption that the government will have to give a couple of seats to Quebec to keep them happy. With those two additional seats in Quebec, how many seats would need to be distributed among Ontario, Alberta and BC so that all four of those provinces had roughly equal representation per population amongst themselves?

If we add 2 seats to Quebec,  7 to Alberta, 7 to BC and 25 to Ontario, these 4 provinces would be pretty evenly represented per capita, amongst themselves. Of course, they're still underrepresented by population when compared to the rest of the provinces.

Out of curiosity, how could seats be added to all provinces to ensure a fair representation by population for each province and without removing any seats from the province with the most sparsely populated ridings, PEI?

It would mean more than trippling the size of the House and would require some major renovation to find space to put all the seats. Also, the territories might also start to feel left out, but we have to draw the line somewhere.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ontario and Alberta Get Short Changed For House Seats

The latest rumor on the government's plan to balance the seat distribution in Canada is to add 13 seats to Ontario, 7 to BC, 5 to Alberta and 2 to Quebec. But does Quebec need more seats? Let's have a look at the numbers.

If we look at the percentage of population among provinces compared to the percentage of seats among provinces, we see that under this plan Quebec and BC are almost at par while Alberta and especially Ontario are far below where they should be.

It's expected that Quebec, Ontario, BC and Alberta should have slightly lower representation per population when compared to the smaller provinces, because the smaller provinces have been given guaranteed minimums on their numbers of seats. However, this latest speculated seat distribution still heavily underrepresents Ontario and Alberta.

If we do the same math on the government's previous proposal to give 18 seats to Ontario, 7 to BC, 5 to Alberta and none to Quebec, we see that Alberta, BC and Quebec are more evenly represented, but Ontario still lags behind.

The government's revised proposal to give additional seats to Quebec and fewer seats to Ontario and Alberta is a step backwards.

Followup: Adding House Seats Fairly (and Appeasing Quebec)