Friday, March 18, 2016

Saskatchewan's new electoral map

The results of the 2011 election on the new map
The Saskatchewan provincial election, scheduled for April 4 is fast approaching, and voters will be electing their Members of the Legislative Assembly on a new map. The size of the legislature will be increasing from 58 seats to 61, to compensate for the growth in Saskatchewan's two largest cities, Saskatoon and Regina. Elections Saskatchewan has not provided for a transposition of the 2011 provincial election results, so I have once again done my own transposition of votes.

The 2011 election saw the conservative Saskatchewan Party win in a landslide, picking up 49 of the 58 seats, while the remaining nine seats were won by the NDP. The Saskatchewan Party swept rural Saskatchewan, winning every seat outside of Saskatoon and Regina except for the two northern ridings, which were won by the NDP. In Regina, the Saskatchewan Party took eight of the 11 seats, and in Saskatoon they took 8 of the 12 seats, leaving the NDP with three and four seats respectively.

Actual results of the 2011 election

The redistribution process gave two new seats to Saskatoon and one new seat to Regina. Outside of the big cities, there were still boundary changes, but nothing too major. Considering the three new seats were added to the cities, one might be inclined to believe the NDP would have been the benefactor of the redistribution. This may be true in an even 50-50 race, but using the 2011 results, the extra seats would have helped the Saskatchewan Party, as they were added to suburban areas, which favoured the Sask Party in 2011. All three of the new seats would have voted for the Saskatchewan Party in 2011.

The NDP did benefit with the re-drawing of the Moose Jaw Wakamow riding. In 2011, the Saskatchewan Party candidate won the seat with 49.1% of the vote to the NDP's 45.9%. The mostly urban riding contained five rural polls that voted overwhelmingly for the Saskatchewan Party. The redistribution however removed all five rural polls, which would have been enough to turn the riding orange, giving the NDP a theoretical 48.3% to 46.9% victory. Overall, this means that redistribution would have given the Saskatchewan Party a net gain of two seats and the NDP one.

Redistributed results of the 2011 election by riding

Regional analysis

Most of the major boundary changes occurred in and around the major urban areas of the province. Most rural ridings saw only minor boundary shifts.

Saskatoon exurbs

North of Saskatoon, the riding of Martensville was divided up with the more rural northern portion (including the communities of Waldheim, Hague and Dalmeny) being transferred to the new riding of Biggar-Sask Valley, which was created mostly out of the former Biggar riding. The larger Martensville riding communities of Martensville and Warman were moved into a new Martensville-Warman riding, along with two rural polls taken from Saskatoon Northwest. That riding now becomes an exclusive exurban riding north of Saskatoon, as its other four rural polls were transferred to Rosetown-Elrose. East of Saskatoon, the new “rurban” riding of Saskatoon Stonebridge-Dakota was created, taking in the Stonebridge subdivision and part of the Briarwood subdivision in Saskatoon and combining it with a large swath of rural territory to the city's south and east, including the Dundurn area and the Village of Clavet. This rural territory includes parts of the former ridings of Humboldt and Arm River-Watrous. To compensate, the Humboldt riding had to move its southern boundary past Watrous (thus becoming the new riding of “Humbolt-Watrous”), while Arm River-Watrous also had to move its southern boundary, taking in parts of the riding of Thunder Creek. Losing Watrous meant that the riding would be re-named to just “Arm River”.

Saskatoon city

In addition to the new riding of Saskatoon Stonebridge-Dakota, the City of Saskatoon gains one new riding, in its east end. Most of the ridings in Saskatoon saw minimal boundary changes, but a number of ridings on the east side of the city saw larger changes to accommodate the addition of a new riding (as well as the aforementioned Saskatoon Stonebridge-Dakota.)

The riding of Saskatoon Southeast has become much smaller, as it loses all of its rural territory, as well as the subdivision of Stonebridge and part of Briarwood to the new riding of Saskatoon Stonebridge-Dakota. Saskatoon Greystone loses the neighbourhoods of Greystone Heights and Grosvenor Park (gaining part of Saskatoon Eastview to compensate), thus forcing a name change to “Saskatoon Churchill-Wildwood”). Greystone Heights and Grosvenor Park are moved to the new riding of Saskatoon University, which is made up mostly of the former Saskatoon Sutherland riding. In the northeast corner of the city, the old riding of Saskatoon Silver Springs is essentially being divided into two. The western half of the riding (west of Lowe Rd.) becomes the new riding of Saskatoon Silverspring-Sutherland, which also adds the Sutherland neighbourhood from Saskatoon Sutherland (hence the name change to “Saskatoon University”). The eastern half of Saskatoon Silver Springs becomes the new riding of “Saskatoon Willowgrove”, which also adds the eastern half of the College Park East neighbourhood from Saskatoon Sutherland and two polls in Briarwood and a rural poll from Saskatoon Southeast.

Regina exurbs

West of Regina, all of the rural parts of Regina Qu'Appelle Valley have been redistributed into the new riding of “Lumsden-Morse”, a sprawling rural riding that runs from Regina westward to Swift Current, taking in much of the former riding of Thunder Creek. The new Lumsden-Morse riding also takes in the rural area southwest of Regina, including the communities of Rouleau and Avonlea, which were previously in the riding of Indian Head-Milestone. Indian Head-Milestone shifts its borders eastward to compensate.

East of Regina, the riding of Regina Wascana Plains loses the community of Pilot Butte to Indian Head-Milestone, and the Regina neighbourhoods of University Park (transferred to Regina University) and part of Windsor Park (transferred to Regina Gardiner Park).

Regina city

Within the city of Regina, there were quite a few boundary shifts in suburban ridings to make way for the one brand new riding in the city. On the east side of the city, Regina Dewdney has been renamed to “Regina Gardiner Park”. It loses the neighbourhood of Glen Elm Park South to Regina Douglas Park, and part of Glen Cairn to Regina Northeast, while gaining Rothwell Place from Regina Northeast and part of Windsor Park from Regina Wascana Plains. On the south side of the city, Regina South splits in two, with the area east of Albert Street becoming the new riding of Regina University (which will also include the neighbourhood of Hillsdale, currently in Regina Douglas Park) and the area west of Albert Street joining the new riding of “Regina Pasqua”. In addition to the west side of Regina South, Regina Pasqua will also include all of the Albert Park area of the city and the Regina International Airport, currently in the riding of Regina Lakeview as well as Pioneer Village currently in Regina Rosemont. To compensate, Regina Lakeview has moved eastward to take in the Wascana Lake area from Regina Douglas Park. Meanwhile, Regina Rosemont shifts its boundaries northward, taking in the neighbourhood of Normanview West North, currently split between Regina Qu'Appelle Valley and Regina Walsh Acres. This forces Regina Walsh Acres to move its westward boundary to include Sherwood Estates, currently in Regina Qu-Appelle Valley. The remainder of the urban portion Regina Qu-Appelle Valley has become the new riding of “Regina Rochdale”.

Swift Current

Premier Brad Wall's riding of Swift Current has shrunk in size, with its boundaries becoming nearly coterminous with the city's boundaries. The riding loses all of its rural area, with about four polls being transferred to Cypress Hills, about three polls to Lumsden-Morse and one poll to Wood River.


Saskatchewan's bellwether riding of Yorkton also shrinks in size, as the riding becomes strictly urban in nature. The riding loses most of its rural territory to Canora-Pelly with half a poll being transferred to Melville-Saltcoats.

Moose Jaw

As mentioned earlier, Moose Jaw's southern riding of Moose Jaw Wakamow loses all of its rural territory to Lumsden-Morse, becoming a notional NDP riding. The riding also gains the far east end of the city from the riding of Moose Jaw North, which remains a notional Sask Part riding.

While there were other boundary changes across the province, those are probably the most noteworthy.

Saskatchewan's new election map (click to enlarge)

If the Saskatchewan Party can win another landslide on April 4, this transposition map will likely be very similar to the election results. But this is in no way a prediction of what will happen. That will be coming a little bit closer to election day.