Conservatives win big with new Alberta map
New federal boundaries in the province look tough for the Liberals
The Conservatives won 30 of 34 ridings in Alberta in the last election. If that is the only thing you knew, you’d expect the addition of three more ridings to the province to benefit the Conservatives more than anyone else.
And that’s very much the case. The new boundaries have plenty of good news for Pierre Poilievre and the Conservatives, a little for Jagmeet Singh’s New Democrats, and not much at all for Justin Trudeau and the Liberals.
This is the eighth analysis in my series on the federal riding redistribution. So far, we’ve taken a look at the preliminary and final proposals throughout Atlantic Canada, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec. Now it’s time to take a look at the new boundaries for Alberta.
EARLIER INSTALMENTS IN THE SERIES
Every decade, independent commissions re-draw Canada’s electoral map to reflect the growing population of the country. The final proposals for each province have been tabled and the public hearings and opportunities for MPs to raise their objections have concluded. A few commissions are still in the process of considering those final MP objections, while other commissions have completed their work and the new boundaries are moving on to the representation order that will officially establish the new electoral map that will be used in any election that occurs after April 2024.
Changing riding boundaries can have a real impact on electoral outcomes. In this series, I’m diving deep into the re-drawn map to see what those impacts might be (with the help of J.P. Kirby’s excellent Riding Builder tool). Paying subscribers of The Writ are taking that deep dive along with me, but before plunging in here’s the TL;DR of what you need to know:
Alberta Redistribution Briefing: The Conservatives win big in Alberta, gaining two of the newly created seats and flipping two others at the expense of the Liberals. The gain of the third new seat for the Liberals mitigates their losses, but a tough province for Justin Trudeau looks likely to be even tougher next time.
Update on other commissions
Since my last piece on the redistribution, the commissions in P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador did not receive any objections from MPs and so their final proposals will go ahead unchanged.
In New Brunswick, the commissioners rejected the objection from New Brunswick Southwest MP John Williamson to the change of his riding’s name to Saint John–St. Croix. No other changes were made.
In Nova Scotia, the commissioners decided not to change the name of Central Nova to Pictou–Eastern Shore after all, but otherwise rejected the objections made by MPs Lena Diab, Sean Fraser and Jaime Battiste related to some boundary changes.
A small change was made in Manitoba, accepting the objections raised by MPs and moving Little Saskatchewan Reserve No. 48 and Obushkudayang from Selkirk–Interlake–Eastman back to Churchill–Keewatinook Aski.
In Saskatchewan, the commissioners agreed not to make significant changes to Regina–Lewvan, opting not to give it some of the downtown polls from Regina–Qu’Appelle that were in the final proposals. Those polls put the riding within range of the NDP, but that no longer appears to be the case. The commissioners also agreed to reverse the removal of Wynyard and Ituna from Regina–Qu’Appelle.
In Quebec, the commissioners received objections from 18 MPs and accepted several of them. In the Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean area, the commissioners abandoned changes in their final report and went back to their first proposals, and decided to keep the name of Jonquière unchanged. Electorally, this does not have an impact on my initial assessment.
The old Manicouagan riding will now be called Côte Nord–Kawawachikamach–Nitassinan, with that last segment replacing Uapashke in the riding’s name. Another accepted recommendation was to use Côte-du-Sud–Rivière-du-Loup–Kataskomiq–Témiscouata in place of the proposed (and far shorter) Montmagny–Témiscouata–Kataskomiq.
A few minor swaps were made in the Eastern Townships without any significant impact. Mégantic–L'Érable will now have Lotbinière added to its name. Bécancour–Nicolet–Saurel will add Alnôbak to the end of its name.
Elsewhere, Montarville becomes Mont-Saint-Bruno–L'Acadie and Beauharnois–Soulanges becomes Beauharnois–Salaberry–Soulanges–Huntingdon, and Dorval–Lachine–LaSalle and LaSalle–Émard–Verdun will keep their names as is. Finally, Hochelaga will now become Hochelaga–Rosemont-Est.
Alright, now that we’re through all of that business let’s finally get into the details of the changes that have been made to Alberta. I’ll then update the scorecard on the 2022-2023 federal redistribution.