The Vancouver Scrum

On the move!

Agh! You’re still here? My new site and weblog, is now up and running; new posts are building up over there, never to be mirrored here. Go! What are you waiting for? All the stuff worth keeping has been migrated over to the new server, and I don’t anticipate making any more posts here.

Bloggers and webmasters: Update your links! Simply replace with in your blogrolls or bookmarks to point to the new site. Old posts will remain on this server for as long as the people at Blogger/Google allow them to remain; unfortunately, I’m not going to bother to come up with any way of converting permalinks on this blog to their corresponding posts on the new site. Yes, I plead laziness. I also realize the irony of switching away from Blogger just it starts to add features that the demanding blog nerds insist upon.

Thanks for reading and linking, and see you over at!

—Ian King, December 13, 2004

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Whither Svend?

The recently announced proposals to adjust British Columbia's electoral boundaries to reflect population shifts over the last ten years have sparked some wild speculation about the moves that political players will make in reaction to the new boundaries. One move that a lot of people are talking about is Svend Robinson's reaction to the creation of a new Burnaby-North Vancouver riding.

Conventional wisdom has it that Mr. Robinson's prospects for re-election in the new riding are slim. North Shore voters are notoriously conservative-minded, having returned a steady string of Canadian Alliance, and before that, Progressive Conservative MP's to Ottawa.

Things may not be looking too bad for the controversial Robinson (Burnaby-Douglas), however. While his current riding will lose a chunk of Burnaby (west of Royal Oak, between Hwy 1 and Imperial), the number of North Vancouver residents in the proposed riding works out to about 20,000 people, or less than 20% of the new riding. A rough analysis suggests that the Canadian Alliance would win the new riding by about 2000 votes, but that doesn't factor in the fact that the NDP didn't put much effort into North Vancouver, and ran a no-name candidate in 2000.

Furthermore, there is no accounting for the fact that Ted White also wins a lot of votes in his North Vancouver riding based on his personal popularity, and this distorts the number of votes that some other candidate would win in the new North Vancouver-Burnaby riding. It also doesn't take into account the voting in that particular part of North Vancouver, or the fact that Svend Robinson could win more votes than a generic NDP candidate. Hell, if you want that kind of analysis, you've gotta pay. You may leave your payment in a brown paper bag under the bleachers at...

If Svend wants to run in Burnaby South, he'll likely be given a clear shot by the local riding association. Svend represented the southern part of Burnaby back in the 1980's, so it would not be illogical for him to run there. In fact, Robinson's old Burnaby riding, which he represented the last time that a North Vancouver-Burnaby district existed, looked very much like the proposed Burnaby South riding for 2004. His odds would likely be better if he did run in Burnaby South, as Burnaby has had a long history of tending towards the NDP in elections at all levels, and the city has been well-served by an NDP-aligned city government.

I don't think that Robinson will run in Vancouver-Kingsway, however. While Liberal Sophia Leung is nearly invisible in the media, she is not terribly unpopular in her riding. Although Vancouver-Kingsway has a long tradition of NDP voting in the past, it is likely that lingering animosity towards the former provincial government will dash NDP hopes outside of Vancouver East and wherever Svend decides to run.

Vancouver East, incidentally has elected, with two exceptions, CCF or NDP members of Parliament since its creation in 1935. The cuurent NDP MP, Libby Davies, is a longtime community activist and enjoys a reputation as a tireless advocate for her constituents. Even in 2000, with the NDP in disrepute thanks to the actions of the provincial government, Davies won her seat by over 3400 votes.

In the other Vancouver ridings, expect to see things stay pretty much as they are. Riding boundaries have been adjusted to reflect the fact that the City of Vancouver now has five members of Parliament to itself. There is talk of a move to convince the loose-lipped Hedy Fry to decide not to seek another term as MP from Vancouver Centre. Dr. Fry's March 21, 2001 claims of burning crosses in Prince George, BC have damaged her reputation and have made her a source of embarrassment for the Liberal Party. Fry could win another term as MP from Vancouver Centre, as the people of Vancouver Centre have little other choice but to vote Liberal. The Canadian Alliance is seen as hostile towards gays, who are estimated to be as much as 25% of the riding's population. The NDP has never won in Vancouver Centre despite considerable success in provincial elections in downtown Vancouver polls, and has been nowhere near competitive since 1988. However, there are Liberals who would like to not have Dr. Fry around as an MP in the future, as her presence could harm Liberals in other races. Stay tuned on this one...

In Northern B.C., the elimination of the Cariboo-Chilcotin riding, and the creation of a huge new Skeena-Chilcotin district, is causing a great deal of controversy. I'll post some thoughts on this in the near future, and whether the Electoral Boundaries Commission in B.C. could do a better job in re-drawing the ridings to reflect historic and commercial ties while still crafting electoral districts of roughly equal population.

For more information on the federal representation adjustments taking place, visit the Federal Representation 2004 site.

Great resouce of the week:

The History of the Federal Electoral Ridings since 1867 is a unique electronic resource that provides information on the electoral history of Canada since Confederation. This site has the description of every riding, every candidate, every election result, in every district since Canada came into being. It's a very handy and powerful resource. It would be nice of maps of the historical ridings were provided, as it can be difficult to place the old ridings on a map. Nonetheless, it's one for the bookmarks.
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