Yesterday I introduced a new feature that I’ll be working on over the coming weeks - a look at how redistricting Canada’s ridings will shape the results of elections for years to come. I started with Newfoundland, and I’ll now be jumping to New Brunswick. I’ll return to Nova Scotia and PEI when their final plans are published.
Now, New Brunswick is a good province for the Conservatives. Over the past few elections it has grown steadily more faithful - Dominic Leblanc and Yvon Godin’s ridings aside - and they have taken most of the seats with comfortable margins. This redistricting will only enforce that.
Acadie-Bathurst will expand, engulfing some NDP-friendly territory from neighboring Maramachi. Madawaska-Retigouche will cover more ground East-ward, collecting the rest of that NDP-leaning area adjacent to Acadie-Bathurst. Considering that riding was formerly Liberal, some Dippers won’t change the mix too much.
The existing Tobique-Mactaquac riding will be renamed Tobique-Saint John River Valley, given that it will swallow up some of the territory north-east of Saint John. Saint John, in turn, will shrink. Fredericton will fare the same. Those ridings are so solidly Conservative that these is simply cattle-trading and no substantive changes will occur electorally-speaking. The same goes for nearby New Brunswick South West, Saint John and Fundy Royal (soon to be named Fundy-Quispamsis.)
The three ridings worth looking at are: Beauséjour, Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe and Miramichi.
Miramichi: Formerly this riding had a northern sliver that separated Madawaska-Restigouche and Acadie-Bathurst. The proposal would get rid of that and divvy it up between the two. Miramichi, in turn, will take a chunk out of Tobique-Saint John River Valley in the south-west and a large bit of Beauséjour-Dieppe to the south-east.
Now, this isn’t altogether significant except to note that Miramichi would shed a chunk of NDP-voters up north in exchange for hard-core Conservative territory down south. This would make Till O’Neill-Gordon’s safe seat even safer.
Beauséjour-Dieppe: The riding will gain the ‘Dieppe’ by swallowing it from Moncton-Riverview. This riding is the last Liberal seat left in the province and was won by only 6% in 2011, despite the incumbent - Dominic Leblanc - being a relatively high-profile member of the party and a former leadership contender.
Here’s what Leblanc’s new riding may look like.
That might look like a mess to you, but there’s a few things to take note off. First note is that although the densely populated area in the middle (Moncton) is coloured in; it was never part of the riding. I added it to show that the riding will be taking the Eastern part of the city which is a mish-mash of New Democratic and Liberal polls.
First: the riding will be shedding some Conservative parts of itself in the north-west. Also worth noting that the re-district cuts out Elsipogtog, a hard-core NDP reserve.
But the biggest change is in eastern Moncton. The eastern part of the city will be added toBeauséjour-Dieppe. At the same time, a small chunk from the western part that was formerly part of this riding now goes to Moncton-Riverview. As a net result, this riding will pick up a good chunk of center/center-left support while losing a considerable amount of Conservative voters.
With the addition of those eastern parts of Moncton, it means disproportionate gains for the Liberals and NDP, while less for the Conservatives. See below:
As you can see, there’s no momentous change. In all likelihood, it will just cement it as a safe Liberal seat. It’s worth noting, however, that including those parts of Moncton that lean towards the NDP could put this riding in play for the Dippers. And keep in mind that these fluctuations in the parties’ vote share do not include advanced and mail-in balloting, which isn’t captured in poll-by-poll results.
Moncton-Riverview: So I’ve already shown that Moncton will be cut down significantly by the changes in Beauséjour-Dieppe, but what effect will that have on this riding, which was picked up from the Conservatives in a three-way race in 2011? Take a look:
While every candidate loses votes, it’s the Conservative who fares best, doubling his lead over the Liberal. This is a riding that has steadily pulled away from the Liberals in recent years, and this seemed like the changes won’t be helping them anytime soon.
So while the proposed changes in New Brunswick may not have facilitate any seats flipping in the next election, it will certainly shore up MPs who are already enjoy comfortable majorities/pluralities in their victories.
Next stop: Alberta!