Wednesday, October 29, 2008


We do not win Ontario, we do not win Toronto, we do not lose the religious, and we do not lose immigrants, we only win or lose ridings. The Canadian electoral map is not divided into provinces, it is not divided into cities, or demographics, it is divided into the most manageable units used in electing members of parliament, ridings.

These ridings are equal and efficient, they are integral to our institutional democracy as well as our democratic spirit. With each riding containing 105,000 constituents, they are not too large for one person to represent them adequatly, nor are they too small to be a waste of resources. But these ridings are not just equal in the citizens they contain, but they are equal in their representation. Every riding elects a member of parliament, and every MP gets an equal vote in the House of Commons. With 308 MPs every one of the 308 ridings is represented and every one of them helps shape the future of our great nation.

We believe the Liberal Party is based upon and has the best principles and vision for Canada, we want a Liberal government to make Canada not just the icon of liberty and justice, but their embodiment. We want a Liberal government, and to achieve that we must not focus on Quebec or just Montreal, we must not focus on the middle class or just the Asian community, we must focus on the 308 ridings that decide our government.

The Liberal riding associations are the basic building blocks of the Party. It is they that choose a candidate for parliament that is the most representative of their riding and their constituents. These associations are the closest and most intimate part of the organization in relation to those Canadians who want to make a difference financially or politically. We must recognize that our party, that are government is not decided by cities, provinces, or some demographic, but by 308 electoral districts.

The Liberal Party must embrace a 308 strategy. In doing so the party will be more politically and financially successful, but more importantly, it will be more representative of all Canadians.


Mike said...

Scott just to clarfy there are well over a dozen ridings with far less than 105,000 constituents. All 4 ridings in PEI, many rural ridings all of the country, etc... Where did you get this figure?
Also some ridings really are too large for one MP to represent, some MPs in the North end up having to have 3 or 4 constituency office just to manage.
And while you say the country is divided up into 308 ridings, the Liberal Party is organizationally divided by province with LCP(O), LPC(Q),LPCBC playing large roles managing the campaigns in their own province. Not only would changing that require constitutional change it would never happen without massive outcry from Quebec and other provinces.

The Democrats don't have a 435 district strategy it's a 50 state strategy, therefore I much prefer the moniker 10+3 that Scott Tribe has put forth than saying a 308 strategy because no one has successfully applied an equivalent of that anywhere. We should be competitive in all provinces as we are currently not at all right now and our provincial organizations should be working together but a 308 project (and there are actually may be more than 308 ridings by the next election) seems to spread resources that aren't there too thin.

Thoughts Scott?

Anonymous said...

Mike: All ridings consist of roughly 105,000 constituents. Yes it differs between provinces, between 100,000 and 115,000 but roughly its 105,000. The PEI ridings are different because they can have no less the 4 ridings due to the Constitution. I find you are being quite picky on this point.

I don't know what measure you're referring to when you say some ridings are too large, you don't provide a specific example. Also constituency offices don't mean the riding is too large.

Everyone knows the Liberal Party is organized in a federation fashion.

I never said changing the constitution, I said it was an election strategy. Please don't put words in my mouth.

I'm not advocating we copy the Americans....We're not Americans. They have ten times the population and far less land, it would be foolish to adopt the same proportion of just 50 electoral units.

The 10+3 strategy is what occurred in the last election. It didn't work. We tried it your way, now change is needed.

Actually its logistically impossible for the boundaries to be redrawn before the next election. Ridings are redrawn based on the decennial census, and since the last the was 2001, it wouldn't be until 2011 until even the census was completed. Then after the census it takes roughly two years for hearings and plans to be decided upon.


Anonymous said...

I should clarify there are ridings that are in the 80,000 and there are some that go to 130,000. But this doesn't even matter to my post. A riding elects MPs. Provinces don't.


Anonymous said...

Mike: To suggest the US doesn't have a 435 district strategy so we shouldn't have a 308 is flawed at best. The US separates the President from Congress. In Canada we combine the two. Our 308 districts choose our "congressmen" and our "President" so our 308 are a combination of the 435 districts AND the 50 states (as they make up the electoral college). So that's why we should focus on all 308.


Anonymous said...

Democrats are indeed running a 435 district strategy this year. Watch the house results on Tuesday...

Mike said...

Fair points, but we didn't have a 10+3 strategy last election, we wrote off all of Alberta, most of Manitoba, a lot of BC. And it's worthwhile to look at a model (like the 50 state strategy) that worked to bring another party back from the dead in places they where written off before. The Democrats were in the same situation as we find ourselves now, I think we should learn all we can from them despite their different electoral system.

But A 308 riding strategy is simply not practical without the financial resources to make it happen. If Liberals start fundraising on the scale (let's say 1/10 as much as the U.S. has 10x the population) then it may be affordable, but I don't think we are even 5% of the way there yet. It's certainly an excellent long term goal, but to make a riding competitive requires not just support from grassroots but money to set up an adequate campaign. Not to mention there are spending caps that by definition create limited resources for all parties during a campaign. So to provide the same financial support to all ridings evenly in that regard would be foolish.

So yes we agree that we should expand the map, but unless I misunderstand you then you seem to be advocating we all treat all ridings the same.

Mike said...

sorry: "start fundraising on the scale of..Barack Obama"

Anonymous said...

Mike: I beg to differ. There is an Alberta wing of the Liberal Party. They and Central Org. dropped the ball.

To say we should try the same thing just trying more doesn't sound like a real plan to me.

Mike rather you like it or not, every election comes down to a 308 strategy. The difference is do we embrace this fact or deny it and worry about things that don't matter such as whole provinces?

Ridings are indivisible and in my riding pretty self-sufficient. We need every riding to be able to operate on its own through external coordination. It wouldn't need any extra money, so I don't get how you can say its not practical.

Fundraisers are individuals, ridings are made up of individuals. Provinces are just made up of ridings. We should focus on ridings because they are closer to the people, policy- and money-wise.