Saturday, December 12, 2009

Another PR Exercise

Back in July, I did a proportion representation exercise where I portioned out seats according to the 2008 election results and the current make-up of parliament. In other words, that PR exercise assumed 308 seats with the same provincial representations as they currently have in parliament.

In this exercise, I took it a step further. I divvied up the House of Commons into 332 seats, or one seat for every 100,000 Canadians. I then divided up the provinces according to that principle.

When doing so, I got 129 seats for Ontario (38.9% compared to 34.4% currently), 78 for Quebec (23.5% compared to 24.4% currently), 44 for British Columbia (13.3% compared to 11.7% currently), 35 for Alberta (10.5% compared to 9.1% currently), 12 for Manitoba (3.6% compared to 4.5% currently), 10 for Saskatchewan (3.0% compared to 4.5% currently), 9 for Nova Scotia, 8 for New Brunswick, 5 for Newfoundland & Labrador, and one each for Prince Edward Island and the territories (all three together). So, Atlantic Canada would have 6.9% of the seats in the House of Commons as opposed to the 10.4% they currently have.

Breaking it down this way, we see that the most under-represented provinces in Parliament today are Ontario (who should have around 120 seats of the 308), British Columbia (who should have 41 instead of 36), and Alberta (who should have 32 rather than 28). Contrary to popular opinion, Quebec is actually not significantly over-represented in the House of Commons. Only Atlantic Canada, who should have 22 seats in the HoC rather than 32, are punching well above their weight.

Using these figures, and portioning out seats according to the 2008 electoral results (always rounding as necessary, and giving the higher ranked parties priority) we get the following result:Obviously, still a Conservative minority. But rather than 46.4% of the House of Commons being occupied by the Conservatives, only 38.9% of it is.

In this scenario, the Liberals and New Democrats, with 150 seats combined, could out-vote the Tories. But they would still be short of a majority, and would require the support of the Greens or the Bloc Quebecois (significantly reduced, as you can see) to pass legislation.

Conservative support is mostly divided between the West (55 seats) and Ontario (51). They also have a good-size caucus from Quebec (17) and a few Atlantic Canadian MPs (6).

The Liberals have their power-base in Ontario, with more than half of their MPs from that province. Quebec and the West each have almost equal representation, while the Liberals would have the most Atlantic Canadian MPs.

The NDP would be, like the Conservatives, evenly divided between the West and Ontario (22 and 24 MPs, respectively). They'd also have 10 Quebec MPs and 7 in Atlantic Canada.

The Bloc is the big loser in this new configuration, as they would be reduced to only 30 seats.

The Greens are the big beneficiaries here, going from 0 seats to 23. They are also evenly divided between the West (9) and Ontario (10), but have three Quebec MPs and one from Nova Scotia.

Anyway, I find these alternate scenarios fascinating. What a difference it would make in Canadian politics!