Riding Size Inequity Analysis

Some of the inequities in voting can be attributed to disparities in riding sizes. Voters in larger than average ridings will have less legislative power than voters in smaller than average ridings. In the 2019 election, the smallest riding was Nunavut with 9,454 voters. The largest, Edmonton–Wetaskiwin, was more than nine times larger with 87,455 voters.

The following chart gives a local relative influence score of 1.0 to every voter, no matter whether they voted for a winning candidate or a losing candidate. The other factor in the Legislative Power Score is the relative size of the riding. The effect of that component is shown in the following chart.

When compared to the complete LPS inequity chart, it becomes obvious that the majority of the inequity comes from the local relative influence determined by whether the voter’s favoured candidate won or not.

There are obvious increases in equity starting with the 1968 election and again starting with the 1997 election. The first coincides with the introduction of non-partisan Electoral Boundaries Commissions. The second follows a 1991 Supreme Court decision ruling that riding sizes should have reasonably similar numbers of voters.

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The example of Nunavut and Edmonton–Wetaskiwin crosses provincial/territorial boundaries. Those differences are unlikely to change so this chart (as with our other work) only compares riding sizes relative to the average riding sizes in the same province or territory.