Electoral math, CW for length (3108 characters hidden)
Canada just had a parliamentary election yesterday. Seat breakdown is as follows, per the CBC:
Bloc Quebecois 32
New Democrat 24
There will almost certainly be a minority government, led by the centre-left Liberals and supported by one or more of the further-left Bloc, NDP, and Greens.
The Liberal party achieved this result despite winning zero seats in the less populous western provinces outside of the Vancouver and Winnipeg metropolitan areas, and I'm starting to see people repeat the claim that a US-style electoral college would stop city voters from "ruling over" rural voters. I'm skeptical of this argument when Americans cite it as a Divine wisdom encapsulated in the Constitution, so I got the preliminary data from Elections Canada and simulated an electoral college.
First, I supposed each province and territory had a number of electors equal to the number of seats it currently gets in the House of Commons, and awarded all its electors to the winner of the popular vote within its boundaries (the Liberals came away with NL, PE, NS, NB, QC, ON, YT, and NT, while the Conservatives prevailed in MB, SK, AB, and BC; the New Democrats won only NU). The seat totals end up as follows:
New Democrat 1
Essentially, what happens is that the Liberals get a massive boost from narrow wins in very populous provinces, while the Conservatives already own most of the seats in the western provinces, so coming away with *all* of them doesn't come close to balancing things out. The Bloc came a close second in Quebec but end up with nothing to show for it and the NDP's scattered support doesn't pay off.
Canada, however, has a complicated formula for allocating seats to each province, which no longer matches up well with population distribution because some regions have grown faster than others. So I simulated it again with US-style rules where electors are distributed among provinces according to current population, while territories get zero (Canada doesn't have elected senators, so I set each province's minimum at one elector rather than three as in the States). Turns out not to make a big difference:
This masks some interesting stuff going on behind the scenes - Atlantic Canada is overrepresented, losing eleven electors across four provinces, while Ontario is underrepresented and picks up ten when this is corrected. Because these are all Liberal victories anyway, the net effect is only a loss of one (the other two correspond to the territories no longer being eligible for electors, which are mainly redistributed to western provinces).
This should be evidence against the idea that importing electoral features from the US will make Canada's political landscape more like that of America. Using either scheme, allocating a whole province at a time really changes things, but not in a way that helps strengthen rural Canada's voice. Every other party loses seats to the Liberals, which pushes them from a minority government to a very lopsided majority.
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