Well-Broken News: Electoral Boundary Stuff

Due to distraction, sickness and over-thinking, we’ve barely posted anything on the release of the Saskatchewan Boundary Commission’s report on new electoral boundaries (Although John at least mentioned it yesterday in his Six In The Morning (point five)–thanks John!). And I don’t have a lot of time–working on a 20th anniversary issue here! But this is super important.

So in brief: the 2012 Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Saskatchewan report has been released and you can and should read it!

At a glance, the Commission appears to have stuck to its recommendation to create a bunch of more or less dedicated urban ridings for the next federal election in 2015. And that’s good. As it stands, Saskatchewan’s political ridings–the areas that our members of Parliament represent–are broken as hell. Right now they mix rural areas and urban areas in such a way that the overwhelmingly Conservative voting habits of rural, um, jerks*, are able to swamp less Conservative urban votes. The result is gruesome and unfair: despite almost a third (32.32 per cent) of Saskatchewan voting NDP in the last election, we elected 13 Tory Trolls (and one friendly Liberal of the Goodale variety).

In total, nearly 44 per cent of Saskatchewanian voters voted against the Conservatives but the Conservatives won 93 per cent of the seats anyway. That’s not democracy. That’s a goddamn farce.

The best way to fix this bullshit is humongous electoral reform that dumps our current system and moves to something like proportional representation or preferential ballots (which I like lots because I like ranking things). But that’s not on the table right now.

What IS on the table are re-drawn ridings that make goddamn sense.

And now they’ve been proposed.

Naturally, not everyone likes them. Conservatives are tossing out every bullshit rationalization they can think of to keep the current system because the current system is broken in their favour. In fact, one of the three commissioners — David Marit, who represents rural Saskatchewanians as the president of SARM — wrote a profoundly embarrassing and shameless dissent.

We get it, Conservatives. You like your Saskatchewan kingdom and you’ll do whatever it takes to keep it. And fuck logic, and fuck democracy, and fuck NDP, Liberal and Green voters, and fuck integrity.

Your point is made. Clearly.

Hey, don’t take my outrage as the final word. MacLean’s Colby Cosh (who John linked to yesterday, but this is important) says this:

Palliser MP Ray Boughen, a former mayor of Moose Jaw, would have gotten his clock cleaned if not for the Moose Javian votes. Farmer Nettie Wiebe, the NDP candidate in Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar, won a majority in the city and got beaten narrowly (for the third time in a row) on the strength of rural votes. And, sure enough, Speaker Scheer got fewer votes within Regina than the NDP’s Fred Clipsham.

The system is broken. A repair is on the table. Don’t believe self-serving Conservative lies about the solution being unfair. The end.

*Quick update/clarification: Only the rural Conservative voters are jerks. Non-Conservative-voting ruralites–many of them authors and artists and musicians and culture-loving people–are absolutely lovely.

Author: Stephen Whitworth

Prairie Dog editor Stephen Whitworth was carried to Regina in a swarm of bees. He's been with Prairie Dog since May 1999 and will die at his keyboard before admitting his career a terrible, terrible mistake.

5 thoughts on “Well-Broken News: Electoral Boundary Stuff”

  1. Oh look, one of our esteemed Saskatchewan MPs is in the news today!

    Maurice Vellacott, who represents the blended urban-rural riding of Saskatoon-Wanuskewin has joined two Conservatives colleagues from Alberta and Ontario (Leon Benoit of Vegreville-Wainwright and Wladyslaw Lizon of Mississauga East-Cooksville) in writing RCMP commissioner Bob Paulson and requesting that the force investigate 491 abortions that occurred between 2000-2009 as possible homicides.

    Read more in this CBC report.

  2. Don’t hold back Stephen, tell us how you really feel :)

    Despite David Marit’s ramblings to the contrary, this is a great move for urban voters in Saskatchewan. The idea that I may not have Tom “type a” Lukiwski as an MP in 2015 is pretty exciting.

    This is still far from a done deal though I think. The report still has to go to a parliamentary subcommittee where SK MPs provide feedback and potentially send the report back to the Commission for further review.

  3. Oh the freedom of expression!! What a treat.
    Interesting coincidence that one of the first presenters in the Regina hearings was recently appointed to senate.
    Such a pleasure to watch our elected representatives race to the bottom for the chance to plaster their lips to Harper’s a**.

  4. David Marit wrote: “With such drastic changes in all of the ridings, I am very concerned about voter apathy. There will be voter confusion in the next election and possibly in the election after that. At a time when it is difficult to encourage voter turnout, changing the boundaries so drastically and causing voter confusion will only diminish that turnout.”

    What hack, what a sad and shameful hack.

    Au contraire, oil seed farmer from Fife Lake, I don;t think boundary changes have ever created apathy, in fact, if voter turn-out doesn’t go up, by liberal-left voters with renewed hope and their conservative opponents that much more determined to beat them in the new ridings, that I will eat the government-rationed soap and toilet paper inside my Che Guevara lunchbox.

  5. #4. voter apathy??

    Haven’t we reached the most output of any; “a” typical non voter??

    by elections sure, but if less than 50% show up to vote…

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