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POL214Y July 12th Notes - Regionalism

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Political Science
Carey Doberstein

......finishing up last lecture...... Key take-away Points -key lesson is that there is not a neutral transmission belt for translating canadian voters to the composition of the house, and in fact changes ppl's perceptions of canadian political opinions across the country, and exxasperates regionalism, etc. -let's look at harper's formula.... to counteract growing trend of inequities, he gave 3 fastest growing provs more seats, at same time protecting smaller provinces and Quebec. effective representation -within provs, we allow rural and remote areas geographically isolated areas stronger weight in votings than larger urban areas, -urban voters have diluted votes in canada -this is another compromise we have made to rep-by-pop -our provs have skewed distribution seats, we want smaller seats to have some protections, but within provs, there is inequity as wel -once we determine seat counts, we have to decide where to draw the boundaries in each prov for each riding -drawing boundaries can be very political exercise is now done in non-partisan method, -before the boundaries act, the comitee in HoC drew the district themselves thus partisan considerations sometimes creeped into the drawing (i.e. drawing supporters into your riding, etc) -this is called GERRYMANDERING (using positon as drawer of boundaries to their advantage) -under gerrymandering system, 1 person 1 vote is often compromised -look at map of the chicago congressional district gerrymandering Canada's 1964 Law: -every 10 years, redetermine our ridings -chief electoral officer sidts down with the seat formula already discussed and announces how many seats each prov gets -step 2: non partisan electoral boundaries comission is created each prov, with task of drawing up new boundaries (senior judge chairs each one to make sure its independent, and includes 2 other members selected by HoC speakers who are academics interested in this topic, so the point is independent members are in these commitees -step 3: each comission is directed to draw up riding boundaries so that population of each riding is as close to... (slides) -Table 13.1: look at the right at electroal quotient, shows how many citizens should be in each riding. -what the comission have to do, they have certain boundaries, so for example look at BC, they must have like 108,000 per riding, they can do about 75% 125% of the 108,000 flexibility , this flexibility so can create community of interests and not allow ridiculous looking districts -accomodate factors like lack of populationd ensity, geographic considerations, historical patterns of representation and community of interest ( i.e. you won't cut a riding through middle of china-town for example...) One person, one vote versus effective representation -on the basis of the charter, we are all given right to vote, so all our votes should count equally ideally -someone thought this was case and took it to supreme court in 1991 -the result... says principle of 1 person 1 vote was not a constitutional right, did not require that every one's vote counted the same.... argument is that everyone is entitled to EFFECTIVE REPRESENTATION, not equal representatuion, which might require some people's votes be diluted. Think about it, geogrphically isolated ridings have smaller average populations, so their physical size is manageable by the MP. It's so that its easier to effectively represent their constituents. -another justification of dilution of 1p1v, is to respect "communities of interest". -communities of interest important: so they dont be ignored by MPs running -step 4: (slides) -step 5: (slides) the map sent to parliament commitee, gets further consideration, gets formal comments back, choose what to do (ignore or refine it), and then publishe the final legally binding version. changing the rules of the game -objective is to create electoral map which is generally percieved to be fair and legitimate -process is transparent, fair, etc -this is a happy story of our electoral system after discussing many flaws. -rep by pop is not most important value, it is a important value, as a result, ridings within a province are never equal in population. wrapping up again?! -we deviate from 1 vote 1 person in 2 ways: -1: seats are not alocated fairly among the provinces; and -2:within the provinces, rural/geographically isolated volters are over- represented and urban voters under-represented. -so canadians do not get equal represented, electroal system summary -so electoral systems is all about the rule of the game, they are political themselves, but they embody conepts of fairness and equality, and not others. - (slides) TODAY'S LECTURE: REGIONALISM -regionalism is perhaps most important dynamic in CA politics -regionalism is reflected in political institutions and political actor behaviour. -we also have region-based political cultures, regon based political parties, etc -so regionalism is uniquely powerful in CA compared to other countries -U.S even though with all its blue and red state talks, regionalism isnt as strong in US compared to CA -regionalism isn't urban/rural cleavage (which is very common in all industrialized countries) -regionalism is not always associated with the boundaries of the provinces Defining regionalism regionalism (economic): regionalism (identity): basis of identity, areas of canada with distinct political culture, not limited to quebec. maritimes/west also, etc. -regionalism (political institutions): whether provs have institutional capabilities to deal with regional demands etc. -so depending on issue we're talking about, talking about 1 o9f these 3 regionalism frameworks -generally, accepted in canada there r 6 regions in CA: BC, prariries, ontario, quebec, maritimes, and the north. -why ontario, quebec and BC considered regions and not just provinces? BC in the west, often lumped in with prairies, but has distinct economy, distinct history from prairies etc. -what a region is can depend on your perspective in the end, -for example, to a quebcer, it is probay more difficult to differentiate any of english canadian regions from other -to an albertan, ontario and quebec coudl easily be lumped together as 'central Canada' given their collective political dominance throughout Canadian history. drivers of regionalism 1. expansive geography (big country) - small population, big country, so we have diverse landscapes, and on practical level, we live far from each other, interactions between BC and newfoundlander is pretty rare, much like quebecers and albertans. Maritimes is probaly more familiar with people in north-eastern states than people in saskatchewan for example. 2. populationd distribution: not only are we far apart, we are not equally distributed across country, like Ont is 40% of total population, Quebec little less than 25%, so we have 65% in just 2 provs. Like rep-by-pop somewhat in parliament also can make regionalism exxasperated. Most CA pms come from ON and QC. This central canadian bias in HoC -> resentment from other regions/provs. 7 of 22 from western canada, though only 5 real (dont include joe clark and kim campbell) 3. economic disparities: prairies - agriculture, etc (now albertans big
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