Friday, June 25, 2010

This Week in Alberta - Eddiemandering the Map!

The Electoral Boundaries Commission has issued its final report and, predictably enough, accusations of Gerrymandering have flown wildly.

Given the wild unpredictability of Alberta politics right now, I have a hard time believing that we're seeing riding boundaries drawn to help the PCs. Rather, the problem with the new map is the same as it has always been - Calgary and Edmonton get only half the seats, despite having two-thirds of the population (a ratio which will grow over the next decade).

Daveberta offers commentary on the new boundaries, and provides the 2008 election results transposed on the new maps.



Also in Alberta...

-Guy Boutilier becomes the fourth Wildrose MLA. Which is great, but someone might want to ask Danielle Smith at some point how a party made up of disgruntled PCs is going to be any different from the PCs. Just saying.

A new poll by Spotlight strategies shows Albertans are mostly happy and it gives vote numbers the PCs should be mostly happy about. Enlightened Savage provides some analysis here.

-More good news for the PCs: Alberta's deficit is down to a billion bucks.

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9 Comments:

  • I believe that the figure that you cited about the Calgary and Edmonton population is inaccurate. According to the Commission's report, Calgary and Edmonton combined have 52% of the population, not 66%. Either the commission is lying, which I highly doubt, or you've made a mistake.
    As for those who insist that the maps are gerrymandered, I can't figure out the logic behind those claims. I have enough faith in the impartiality of judges that I am sure that no attempts were made to benefit the PC's. I hope there are others who agree.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:22 AM  

  • Yup... they're playing around with electoral boundaries so they can elect... wait for it... another Conservative!

    More news from the "one-party province", where voters have about as much "diversity" and general knowledge about their own political "condition" as a wall painted white...

    By Blogger WesternGrit, at 10:52 AM  

  • There is little doubt that the urban areas remain underrepresented.

    Both Calgary and Edmonton have grown a lot over the past 10 years and so have their surrounding areas I believe that the 2/3 population number includes the metro areas of Edmonton and Calgary.

    When you factor in the surrounding ridings (which include large commuter communities) the Edmonton region has ~28 ridings and Calgary would have ~30 ridings. These include a number of "rurban ridings" (ie: Redwater-Sturgeon-Athabasca, Okotoks-High River).

    It's also important to remember that the two large cities are not the only urban areas in the province. Red Deer, Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, Medicine Hat, and Lethbridge all have two MLAs (though some of these ridings are "rurban").

    The Final Report isn't perfect, but it's not awful.

    By Anonymous daveberta, at 11:46 AM  

  • According to the 2006 Census, Calgary CMA has 1.08 million people and Edmonton has 1.03. Alberta's population is 3.42 million.

    So, together, they make up 62% of the population.

    Now, there might be some discrepancies depending on whether or not you're including communities around Edmonton in Edmonton's pop (which Census CMA would but not the EC report).

    Either way, there's still some under-representation in urban areas, but the big problem is that those numbers are already 4 years old, will be 6 years old by the next election, and will be 14 years old by the time they get around to updating these numbers again.

    Now, it's probably not fair to project population growth when distributing seats, but it's a reality that urban Albertans will be under represented for the next decade.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 11:48 AM  

  • And I will add, that I don't think there's any gerrymandering in the actual boundaries (which I believe I said in the initial post). I believe the commission was instructed to add 4 ridings, and they seem to have done the best they could given that.

    Ideally, they'd just reduce the number of seats down to 60 or so for the entire province, but obviously MLAs would never be on board for that.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 11:50 AM  

  • Reducing the number of seats down to 60 or so for the entire province would be a great idea. 87 MLAs is more than a province of 3.6 million needs.

    By Anonymous daveberta, at 12:47 PM  

  • You mean there actually is a differance between the Wildrose and the PCs?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:12 PM  

  • According to the 2006 Census, Calgary CMA has 1.08 million people and Edmonton has 1.03. Alberta's population is 3.42 million.
    So, together, they make up 62% of the population.


    Calgary: 23 seats
    Calgary CMA: 3 extra seats
    Edmonton: 18 seats
    Edmonton CMA: 7 extra seats

    Total: 51 seats out of 87 (58.6%)

    So it's really not off by very much. Also note that I erred on the safe side by leaving out several ridings where a significant fraction of the population is in the Calgary or Edmonton CMAs, such as:

    Banff-Cochrane
    Livingstone-Macleod
    Strathmore-Brooks
    Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock
    Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater

    By Anonymous The Invisible Hand, at 5:11 PM  

  • WesternGrit: More news from the "one-party province", where voters have about as much "diversity" and general knowledge about their own political "condition" as a wall painted white...

    You haven't been paying much attention to Alberta politics lately, have you?

    By Anonymous The Invisible Hand, at 5:34 PM  

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