Rural beats Urban in Long Gun

The long gun registry is soon to be history in Canada as Harper finally decides to bring legislation forward to end the gift that keeps on giving.  If you are a conservative supporter, expect to receive a request for a big donation.  That request is likely in the mail.  Its intended to reach you before the law is passed by Harper's majority.

Nothing has filled the coffers of the conservative party more than their promise to scrap the long gun registry. The old reform folks were started on western alienation and the growing debt. Paul Martin took away the issue of the debt in the 1990's.  The primary issue since then has been the long gun registry.

Most Canadians live in cities. These Canadians want the registry.  The Conservatives don't have city MP's for the most part.  Our electoral system favours rural communities over urban areas.  Rural riding votes tend to count more than city ridings.  Many city ridings are over 100,000 people while ridings in Saskatchewan come in around 53,000.  Saskatchewan has only one real city riding, in Regina.  The City of Saskatoon, the Province's largest city, is part of three ridings.  Each of the three ridings is approximately half rural.  The city does not have a city riding which makes it very unique for cities in Canada.  The result is a dilution of city representation.

Right across the country the Conservatives have swept rural ridings with the exception of Northern Ontario and Quebec.  These ridings have anywhere from a 10,000 to 30,000 vote advantage on cities as a whole. Saskatchewan and Manitoba ridings have in many cases 40 to 50,000 fewer voters than many city ridings in BC, Ontario, Quebec and Alberta.

Elections Canada will have to redraw many ridings before the next election in order to give Ontario, BC, Alberta and Quebec new seats.  The challenge before Elections Canada will be to avoid the easy route which will be to try to minimize change. We must address several issues as we add seats.  Urban ridings must become more equal. Some rural ridings will have to become larger.  And Saskatoon must have at least one city riding.

When elections Canada begins to add the new seats, people in our cities need to be vigilant.  I would expect the NDP and Liberals to work to address this inequity and the Harper Conservatives will work hard to keep the current disparity in place.

The disparity in city vs rural has brought about the end of the long gun registry, the loss of a federal government support for transit, green energy, and affordable housing.  We have lost the long gun battle for now. The war can turn in our favour if we work for redistributing the balance between rural and urban ridings and ultimately toward a fairer voting system.

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