New Golden Horseshoe map no solace for troubled Liberals
What impact the new electoral map in the GTA, Hamilton and Niagara regions will have on the next election
The new electoral map in the swathe of ridings running from Durham Region around the City of Toronto and out around to Niagara Falls is a mixed bag for both the Liberals and the Conservatives. Both parties come out ahead in some ridings and further behind in others.
At the margins, the map in this part of Ontario might seem slightly better for the Liberals than the Conservatives. But the biggest changes are to the net benefit of Pierre Poilievre’s party — and that’s over and above the significant shift we’ve seen in the polls toward the Conservatives, both in Ontario and across the country as a whole.
This is the latest analysis in my series on the federal riding redistribution, finally completing its cross-country tour of the new electoral map. Here’s the list of past entries in this series:
FEDERAL RIDING REDISTRIBUTION SERIES
Every decade, independent commissions re-draw Canada’s electoral map to reflect the growing population of the country. The process is completed and the last remaining steps are for Elections Canada to get everything in place to use that map when the next election is called. Because of the extra work that is required, the new map will only be used if the election occurs after April 2024. If it happens before that date, the next election will be fought over the same map as the last election.
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:
Golden Horseshoe Briefing: Taking together all the ridings with both significant and modest changes compared to 2021, the Liberals do come out ahead with a slightly more favourable map. More ridings have become safer than more vulnerable and one of the new ridings is in Liberal-friendly territory. But the changes to the map in the Golden Horseshoe, excluding Toronto and Peel Region, are relatively minor. And in the few ridings where things have changed significantly, it is the Conservatives that come out further ahead — gaining one of the new seats, closing to within toss-up status in one re-drawn riding and potentially flipping another over from the Liberals.
While the Golden Horseshoe includes Toronto and Peel Region, those areas were covered in a previous analysis. Today, we’re looking at the rest of the Golden Horseshoe, which means Durham Region to the east, York Region and Simcoe County to the north and Wellington and Halton to the southwest of Toronto, as well as the Hamilton area and the Niagara Peninsula.
One thing to keep in mind throughout this analysis is that it is using the 2021 election results as the point of reference, ignoring how things have shifted in voting intentions since the last campaign. In Ontario, the swing in the polls between the Liberals and Conservatives has been worth about 15 points. In only three of the 37 ridings covered below has the redistribution moved the results from the last election by more than five points.
In other words, if these seats change hands in the next election it will almost certainly be due to that enormous swing in party support, rather than the changes to the electoral map. Nevertheless, these changes will have an impact at the margins.
Alright, let’s get to it.