Five things to know about new riding boundaries in the upcoming election
A woman passes by a sign in both French and English informing the public on identification needed to vote on election day in Montreal, Tuesday Oct. 14, 2008. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Chris Herhalt, CP24.com
Published Friday, July 31, 2015 5:26PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, August 1, 2015 2:50PM EDT
With an election campaign widely expected to be called sometime this weekend, Canada’s riding map will look significantly different than it did in 2011. Thirty new ridings have been added across the country. Eleven of those new ridings are found in the GTA.
We’re getting new ridings because we’re growing:
The Greater Toronto Area has grown to include more than six million inhabitants. The last time the federal government redrew the boundaries in 2003, the GTA had slightly less than five million inhabitants, according to Statistics Canada.
Suburbs will gain the most:
Peel and York Regions get three new ridings apiece for the October 2015 election. Put differently, the six new ridings represent one fifth of all the new ridings to be added across Canada. The City of Toronto receives four new ridings: University – Rosedale, Spadina-Fort York, Scarborough Rouge Park and Scarborough North. Durham Region receives two new ridings, while Halton gets one.
New ridings decided by appointed commission, public hearings and old rules:
A three-man panel led by retired Ontario Superior Court Justice George Valin decided the final boundaries of each riding, after holding extensive public hearings across the province from the fall of 2012 to the fall of 2013. During those hearings, residents could provide input on where boundaries would fall, what ridings would be called, and suggest how to compose districts that have some sort of collective identity, and aren’t just hodge-podge clusters of neighbourhoods that have nothing to do with each other. When the redistribution was completed in 2013, only 22 of Ontario’s 122 ridings had the same boundaries as before.
The rules that dictate how many residents each riding should include start with a quota of 106,213, but the final number can run above or below that number by up to 25 per cent. Prior to the redistribution, the riding of Oak Ridges—Markham had almost 229,000 residents, while Kenora in northwestern Ontario had only 56,000.
This is where things get strange. The “Senatorial Clause” dictates that no province can have fewer MPs than it does Senators. This rule guarantees that tiny Prince Edward Island must have at least three MPs. It has four. Another rule, the grandfather clause, dictates that no province can have fewer seats today than it did in 1985.
In Focus – Spadina – Fort York and University —Rosedale
The old ridings of Toronto Centre and Trinity — Spadina got a makeover, with Toronto Centre shedding its northern and western edges, and Trinity — Spadina shedding its northern third and getting a new name. Former NDP MP and mayoral candidate Olivia Chow will face Liberal incumbent Adam Vaughan, who took over the area from Chow in a hotly contested byelection, for control of the newly-christened Spadina – Fort York.
Spadina — Fort York contains most of Liberty Village, all of the entertainment district and Toronto Island, along with blocks extending north to Dundas Street West between Dovercourt, Dufferin and Bay streets. More than 90 per cent of this area was part of Trinity — Spadina, but immense growth forced it to become its own riding.
The riding of University — Rosedale combines upscale neighbourhoods such as Rosedale, Yorkville and Moore Park with the University of Toronto’s downtown campus, Chinatown, parts of the Annex and Koreatown. Chrystia Freeland, who was first elected to represent Toronto Centre (which still exists), will challenge Jennifer Hollett of the NDP for control of this riding. The vote result from 2011 put both of the new ridings firmly in the NDP camp.
In Focus – Scarborough North and Scarborough —Rouge Park
The Scarborough North riding is made up of neighbourhoods bounded by Steeles Avenue East, the Rouge River, Neilson Road, Highway 401 and Midland Avenue. It became the new home riding for incumbent NDP MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan, who represented the riding of Scarborough Rouge River, which is now called Scarborough — Rouge Park.
In the 2011 election, voters in both areas split tightly between all three major parties, with the NDP edging ahead in what is now called Scarborough North and the Liberals ahead slightly in what will now be known as Scarborough — Rouge Park. Scarborough— Rouge Park encompasses an area bounded by Morningside Avenue, Neilson Road, Rouge Park and the shore of Lake Ontario.
The 2015 Riding map: