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It's about time for Alberta to push back

Now that our Federal Election is over, I wonder how long we will have to wait before Premier Jason Kenney demands some fairness in the distribution of seats, by Province, for the House of Commons.
McLeod Brian-mug
Columnist Brian McLeod
Now that our federal election is over, I wonder how long we will have to wait before Premier Jason Kenney demands some fairness in the distribution of seats, by province, for the House of Commons. The latest Statistics Canada data shows the average number of electors per riding in our 10 provinces and three territories.  For Alberta, the coverage ratio is extremely negative, but as we have come to expect, totally typical.

We start with the lowest number of electors per riding and province/territory, and the list then builds up to the highest number of electors per riding: Nunavut has an average of 18,000 electors per riding; Yukon has 25,000; PEI has 27,000; Northwest Territories has 29,000; Saskatchewan has 53,000; New Brunswick has 58,000; Newfoundland has 59,000; Manitoba has 61,000; Nova Scotia has 65,000; B.C. has 77,000; Ontario has 78,000; Quebec has 80,000; Alberta has 81,000.

In other words, one vote in Nunavut is equal to five votes in Alberta! (For some bizarre reason, Quebec also appears to be treated highly unfairly, which is strange considering how the Liberals have treated Quebec completely separate and far, far better, for decades).

If you consider the average number of electors per riding in Canada, and then take Alberta’s population and divide by this average, you discover that while Alberta officially has 34 seats in the House of Commons, if Alberta was just treated the same as every other province in Canada, we should have 39 seats in the House. Of course, if we were treated the same as Nunavut, Alberta would have 170 seats in the House! However, Albertans have never asked to be treated better – we simply ask: "Why we can’t be treated equally and fairly?"

There’s an old business saying that warns people who are in negotiations: “Don’t push too hard, for some day, the other side will start pushing back.” And the evidence goes on to show that when people start pushing back, they do so with a vengeance and usually push so hard that it wipes out all the gains that the first party had accomplished, so that both parties end up “back at square one.” Alberta has been pushed so hard, for so long, I sense that the “pushing back” phase is just around the corner.

For years, Alberta has been treated incredibly unfairly. At the same time, Alberta has been the generator of Canadian jobs, wealth, energy, exports and taxes. It’s about time we insist that Canadian democracy start acting like a real democracy, and stop the discrimination against all things Albertan.

Brian McLeod is a St. Albert resident.

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