Monday, May 28, 2012

Newfoundland and Labrador Redistribution

The first of the reports on redistribution of the seats in the federal parliament, Newfoundland and Labrador.   Newfoundland and Labrador is not getting any new seats and the provincial population has not changed much. you would think there would not be lot of change needed, but St John's and area has grown by more than 20,000 people while the rest of the province has fallen by close to 19,000.   The boundaries do have to change.

The one riding the commission is not considering changing is Labrador.   Labrador has the smallest population of any riding in Canada at 26,728, a drop of 4.1% from 2001 to 2011.   It is more than 5,000 people smaller than the next smallest riding in the country, Nunavut.   If one gives one of the seven seats in Newfoundland and Labrador the total population needed in the other six ridings rises from 73.305 people per riding to 81,301.

Labrador was connected to a riding on the island from 1949 to 1988.  There is no reason Labrador could not be part of a riding with the Great Northern Peninsula again.   The proposal calls for the riding of Long Range Mountains to have the largest population, adding Labrador to the mix would allow the commission to make better representation for rural Newfoundland

Giving Labrador a seat for such a small population means that the rural parts of Newfoundland are larger than they need.   The redistribution moves the mix of seats in Newfoundland to three and a third for St John's/Avalon and two and two thirds for the rest of the island.  It has been three and three.

The proposal

  • Long Range Mountains 87,592
  • St John's North 83,062 - was more or less St John's East but loses Conception Bay South and part of Paradise 
  • St John's South - Mount Pearl 82,851 - few changes
  • Avalon 80,056 - gained 17,000 people from the suburbs of St John's and lost Trinity Bay 
  • Bay d"espoir-Central-Notre Dame 78,911
  • Bonavista-Burin-Trinity 75,336
  • Labrador 26,728 - no changes

Long Range Mountains, Bay d"espoir-Central-Notre Dame and Bonavista-Burin-Trinity are dramatically different than the existing ridings of Humber-St Barbe-Baie Verte, Bonavista-Grand Falls-Windsor and Random-Burin-St George's.   This is a fundamental change to the ridings.   People will be sharing an MP that have never done so in the past.

Based on the 2011 election, the changed result is in Avalon.   The riding lost more Liberal friendly turf around Trinity Bay and gained areas that voted NDP.   If nothing else where to change, this would be won by the Conservatives.

In rural Newfoundland I do not think there has been any sort of changes to make any of the new ridings closer than the old ones were in 2011


Wilf Day said...

Your comments on Labrador make sense, except for one point. In 2002 that Commission's Report states "It is of interest, however, that of the submissions received from other electoral districts, none objected to Labrador continuing as a single electoral district. In fact, many expressed support for this position. That being so, the Commission is satisfied that no change be made to the electoral district of Labrador." With such a consensus on the exceptional status of Labrador, why change it?

Bernard said...

Why change it? Because it violates the the concept of all votes being equal. There are many people that run in federal elections can come third and fourth that have more support than the MP elected from Labrador.

Labrador is not a province or territory, it is a region within a province. Provincially Labrador has 8.3% of the representation in the province, but federally it gets 14.3% of the federal representation for the province.

Also, in 2002 Labrador did not have the lowest population in Canada of any riding. I think a good rule nationally should be no riding in a province can have fewer people that the smallest territorial population