With files from Shawn Slaght
Come the next federal election, the ridings in Saskatchewan could look a lot different.
New electoral boundaries are being proposed by the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Saskatchewan after looking at the latest census numbers.
“It's done on a provincial basis, not by the provinces, but by a federal appointed Commission, usually a three-person panel such as we have in Saskatchewan. This year we'll go out and have a look at population changes and see if any changes in the boundaries are needed,” explained Dr. Howard Leeson, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Regina.
Currently, the West Central area technically has three ridings in Cypress Hills-Grasslands (Kindersley), Carlton Trail-Eagle Creek (Rosetown), and Battlefords-Lloydminster (Unity, Wilkie, Macklin).
Under the proposed boundary changes, some of that would be cleared up with a combination for Kindersley and Rosetown, and some of the northern towns in the region would be remaining in their previous riding.
Above are the proposed federal electoral boundaries for southern Saskatchewan. Leeson said it was interesting how the rural ridings had changed in the proposed boundaries.
“I know there's a problem here because of the depopulation in rural areas,” Leeson said.
“For instance, you have people in Lumsden voting with people in Kindersley. There's no common interest left anymore in there because the people of Lumsden are really a bedroom community of Regina, and Kindersley is quite close to the Alberta border in a very rural area.”
He also noted that there is a new riding being created within Saskatoon, saying it is unusual to see new inner-city ridings.
The electoral boundaries are examined by the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission for Saskatchewan every 10 years after the census.
The process of redoing electoral boundaries in Canada is a much different process compared to the United States. In the U.S., it is the ruling party that decides the new boundaries, which leads to gerrymandering where they skew the boundaries in their party’s favour.
Here in Canada, the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission is independent of the federal government.
“I guess I'd just like to reinforce the idea that we have a pretty good system in Canada, both federally and provincially. By the way, we have a provincial commission going at the same time and they're non-partisan. And gosh, by comparison to what they do in the U.S., it's just a much, much fairer process, I think,” Leeson said.