Thursday, August 1, 2013

Redistribution of the ridings for the BC Legislature in the run up to the 2017 election

As I understand it, there will be a redistribution in time for the next provincial election based on the 2011 census data.   BC has no set requirement of how often redistribution happens but the pattern has been after every two elections since the early 1990s.  Normally this has meant two censuses will have taken place between redistributions but this time it will only be one if it goes ahead.   The time between when the data from the 2016 census would be available and the timing of the 2017 election is too short to allow for a resdistribution.

Here are the current ridings in BC ranked by their 2011 census populations and how close they are to the electoral quota of 51,765 they are.     

Stikine                     20240 39.10%
North Coast                 22320 43.12%
Peace River South           26325 50.85%
Nechako Lakes               27055 52.27%
Cariboo Chilcotin           29415 56.82%
Skeena                      29575 57.13%
Fraser Nicola               30535 58.99%
Columbia River Revelstoke   32205 62.21%
Cariboo North               32980 63.71%
Nelson Creston              37045 71.56%
Boundary Similkameen        38160 73.72%
Kootenay East               38875 75.10%
Peace River North           39335 75.99%
Kootenay West               40675 78.58%
Alberni Pacific             43430 83.90%
Prince George Mackenzie     44960 86.85%
Delta South                 46645 90.11%
Prince George Valemount     46920 90.64%
Powell River Sunshine Coast 48325 93.35%
Vancouver West End          48595 93.88%
Oak Bay Gordon Head         48875 94.42%
Victoria Swan Lake          50110 96.80%
Esiquimalt Royal Roads      50170 96.92%
Chilliwack Hope             50745 98.03%
Abbotsford West             50790 98.12%
Saanich South               50830 98.19%
Victoria Beacon Hill        51570 99.62%
Parksville Qualicum         51950 100.36%
Juan de Fuca                52179 100.80%
Chilliwack                  52245 100.93%
Surrey White Rock           52285 101.00%
Kamloops North Thompson     52545 101.51%
Nanaimo                     52575 101.56%
West Vancouver Sea to Sky   52575 101.56%
Port Moody Coquitlam        52745 101.89%
Nanaimo North Cowichan      52910 102.21%
Abbotsford Mission          53090 102.56%
Burnaby Lougheed            53315 102.99%
Abbotsford South            53375 103.11%
North Vancouver Seymour     53405 103.17%
Delta North                 53945 104.21%
Vancouver Mount Pleasant    54230 104.76%
Coquitlam Burke Mountain    54325 104.95%
Kamloops South Thompson     54355 105.00%
North Island                54530 105.34%
Burnaby Deer Lake           54625 105.52%
Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows    55325 106.88%
Vancouver Fairview          55375 106.97%
Penticton                   55490 107.20%
Shuswap                     55510 107.23%
Coquitlam Maillardville     55575 107.36%
West Vancouver Capilano     55950 108.08%
Port Coquitlam              55965 108.11%
Vancouver Hastings          55985 108.15%
Maple Ridge Mission         56045 108.27%
Vancouver False Creek       56205 108.58%
Saanich North and the Islands 56270 108.70%
Vancouver Quilchena         56440 109.03%
Surrey Fleetwood            56550 109.24%
Vancouver Langara           57040 110.19%
Vancouver Point Grey        57065 110.24%
North Vancouver Lonsdale    57090 110.29%
Burnaby Edmonds             57340 110.77%
Westside Kelowna            57480 111.04%
Cowichan Valley             57530 111.14%
Surrey Green Timbers        57540 111.16%
Vancouver Kensington        57790 111.64%
Burnaby North               57845 111.75%
Kelowna Mission             58090 112.22%
Surrey Tynehead             58160 112.35%
Kelowna Lake Country        58785 113.56%
Richmond Steveston          59125 114.22%
Vancouver Kingsway          59345 114.64%
Vancouver Fraserview        59775 115.47%
Surrey Newton               60115 116.13%
Surrey Whalley              60165 116.23%
Vernon Monashee             61405 118.62%
Comox Valley                63540 122.75%
Langley                     64020 123.67%
Richmond East               65310 126.17%
Fort Langley                65800 127.11%
New Westminister            65955 127.41%
Richmond Centre             66035 127.57%
Surrey Panorama Ridge       68995 133.29%
Surrey Cloverdale           73570 142.12%

Legally they are not allowed to be less than 75% of the quota or more than 125% of the quota.   We have 11 rural ridings that are too small and six suburban ones in the lower mainland that have too many people.

If we remain at 85 MLAs, northern BC will have to lose two or three MLAs to the lower mainland.   Even if we were to increase the total number of MLAs to 89 rural BC should still realistically lose two MLAs.  We would have add 15 to 20 MLAs to justify continuing to have 10 MLAs in northern BC.

You can only go above or below the +-25% number in special circumstances, which in BC should only mean a single riding having a population below 75% of the electoral quota.  The Supreme Court of Canada allowed for special circumstances to allow single large northern ridings to exist in provinces like Saskatchewan or Manitoba.

It would be fairest in the redistribution if the variation was kept to +-10% with most of them being +-5% or less.   As much as I believe in rural BC, we live in a country that only recognizes population as a valid measure of equal representation.    It would fairest for equal representation if we were to have all the ridings have very similar populations.
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