Electoral Reform in BC - Regional Districts and Provincial Electoral Districts, 17 for 16

After the last article, I've been looking more closely at the ways in which BC's Regional Districts and Provincial Electoral Districts relate to one another. BC has made significant use of Google Maps in publishing a map of the regional districts and another one of the electoral districts. This, together with the facts about BC from Wikipedia and the (sortable! detailed!) list of regional districts also there have been my main sources.

​I have started here, because my Regionalized Proportionality idea rests on clumping electoral districts from a single regional district together. In a widely distributed province like BC (or even more, in a country like Canada), straight proportional representation is not a good fit since the urban clumps that would swamp the rural areas around them in pure proportional representation could swamp or be swamped by other, distant urban areas with very different needs and political priorities.

Right away, I was pulled up short because the edges of the urban ridings in Greater Vancouver overlap the boundaries of what used to be called the "Greater Vancouver Regional District" but now seems to be called "Metro Vancouver", so I decided to work my way around the map to get to it.

To summarize the over-all electoral/regional data in BC...

Population 4,400,056

Number of regional districts 29
Population per Regional District (100s) 151,700
Number of Electoral Districts 85
Population per Electoral District 51,800

I've gone through the 16 northernmost Regional Districts and mapped out their relationship to their local Electoral Districts. In summary, the 663,575 people living in these 16 Regional Districts:

Alberni-Clayoquot, Bulkley-Nechako, Cariboo, Central Coast, Comox Valley, Fraser-Fort George, Kitimat-Stikine, Mount Waddington, Nanaimo, Northern Rockies, Peace River, Powell River, Skeena-Queen Charlotte, Stikine Region, Strathcona, and Sunshine Coast

are represented by 17 MLAs from the Electoral Districts (a near 1:1 correspondence that I was surprised by):

Cariboo-Chilcotin, Cariboo North, Courtenay-Comox, Mid Island-Pacific Rim, Nanaimo, Nanaimo-Cowichan, Nechako Lakes, North Coast, North Island, Parksville-Qualicum, Peace River North, Peace River South, Powell River-Sunshine Coast, Prince George-Mackenzie, Prince George-Valemount, Skeena, and Stikine

These districts are (statistically) over-represented slightly, at 39,900 people per MLA, leaving 68 MLAs to represent the remaining 3,736,481 in the other 12 Regional Districts, at about 55,000 per MLA. I believe it possible that the way Fraser-Fort George is divided, with about half of Prince George placed in each of Prince George-Mackenzie and Prince George-Valemount disadvantages the rural voters of the rest of the Regional District but so far, it has seemed to be a reasonable solution and I commend the folks at Elections BC (a non-partisan office of the BC Legislature, responsible through the Speaker to the Lieutenant-Governor, embodying the Crown) for doing their jobs as well as this: we don't seem to have a problem with gerrymandering so far.

1 comment:

Arthur said...

There is a slight error in the math in this article in a couple of places, as I had not realized that the number of MLAs is growing from the current session's 85 to 87. This changes some of the details, but not substantially.

With 87 ridings, the new average representation would be 50,600 per member, not the 51,800 that appears in the table.