March 14, 2007


Guess who's getting ripped off?

The 2006 census results have been released.

During the 2004 federal election, I put together an Excel chart comparing the population of each province (based on the 2001 census) with how many seats they have in the House of Commons. I've updated it to reflect the new data; you can download the file here.

Here's some of the highlights. First off, we have each province's percentage of the total 2006 population, percentage of the current HoC ridings, and the difference between the two (a negative percentage means that province has fewer seats than its population warrants; a positive one means it has more).
    Population   Ridings   Difference
AB 10.41% 9.09% -12.7%
ON 38.47% 34.42% -10.5%
BC 13.01% 11.69% -10.2%
QC 23.87% 24.35% 2.0%
NS 2.89% 3.57% 23.6%
MB 3.63% 4.55% 25.1%
NB 2.31% 3.25% 40.6%
NL 1.60% 2.27% 42.1%
SK 3.06% 4.55% 48.4%
NT 0.13% 0.32% 147.5%
PE 0.43% 1.30% 202.2%
YU 0.10% 0.32% 237.9%
NU 0.09% 0.32% 248.2%
Now, based on the above data, here's how many seats each province should have in an ideal Parliament of the same overall size. I've included both the 2001 and 2006 results; the latter includes how many seats they'd gain or lose.
       Actual   2001   2006 (Diff)
AB 28 31 32 (+4)
ON 106 117 118 (+12)
BC 36 40 40 (+4)
QC 75 74 74 (-1)
NS 11 9 9 (-2)
MB 14 11 11 (-3)
NB 10 7 7 (-3)
NL 7 5 5 (-2)
SK 14 10 9 (-5)
NT 1 1 1 (N/C)
PE 4 1 1 (-3)
YU 1 1 1 (N/C)
NU 1 1 1 (N/C)
Total 308 308 309
(Note that technically, the territories would only warrant one seat between all three of them, although I've listed them here with one each.)

Based on this data, we can see that Alberta is the worst off when it comes to getting its fair share of representation, with almost 13% fewer seats than it should have. Ontario and B.C. are close behind, with just over 10% less. (In the 2001 data, B.C. was the worst off, with Alberta in third.) Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and the Atlantic provinces are all over-represented to varying degrees; it's interesting to note that P.E.I. is worse than the Northwest Territories. I had always assumed that Quebec was considerably over-represented, but it turns out that it has almost exactly the right amount, with only one extra seat.


It may be even worse. The census counts released are actually the preliminary estimates of population which, after going through adjustment for over and under-counting, become the basis for calculating transfer payments. In September 2008 (or there abouts) we will know what the 'true' count should have been as estimated by Stats Can. There can be some rather large adjustments which would have some impact on your seat distribution. More critically to the provinces and territories is that the transfer payments made historically can be adjusted for the adjusted population leaving provinces having to repay part of previous payments if their population had been overestimated between census years.

All in all, lots of population fun to be had yet.
Saskatchewan as 14 seats; Nova Scotia has 11. What would happen if in the next census Nova Scotia had a greater population than Saskatchewan. How many seats would each province get?
Blame the Constitution!

PEI gets 4 seats. And Quebec will always beat Alberta and BC combined, no matter their populations.
_A dozen more seats for Ontario, err, I mean mostly the 'Golden Horseshoe' section of Ontario? Good luck selling that :)
Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?