B.C. Liberals won 13 of 17 protected constituencies in 2017 election
In 2014, the commission was given its marching orders by the B.C. government: two new seats could be added to the existing 85, but 17 hand-picked constituencies had to be protected.
After everything was said and done, the 17 first-class constituencies ended up with an average of 25,382 voters and the 70 second-class constituencies had an average of 38,935.
Quite a range among the full 87, though.
Stikine has the lowest number of voters at 13,240 and Vernon-Monashee the highest with 47,373.
Vernon-Monashee would need three MLAs to come close to matching the weight of Stikine's clout in the legislature.
Using the April list of registered voters, the 25 percent rule would see Nelson-Creston with 27,338 registered voters on one end, Parksville-Qualicum (44,743) on the other and 68 in between.
Seventeen constituencies overshoot the 25 percent deviation, but funnily enough only 10 are among the 17 “protected” constituencies.
The charter applies to people not square kilometers, but since it's part of the special circumstances test, let's see how much it mattered in the government's selection?
The 17 first-class constituencies range from 2,437 to 196,446 square kilometers, but nine second-class constituencies are within that range.
Can't be size.
Perhaps it's the number of voters? The 17 range from 13,240 to 42,054 voters, but 54 other constituencies fit within that spread.
Can't be voters.
Maybe it's a form of gerrymandering? How did the 17 constituencies vote?
Thirteen went for the Liberals—representing 30 percent of their total seats—and four went to the NDP.
Might be something to that gerrymandering idea.
Under the Liberals, B.C.'s land mass hasn't changed, but the number of protected constituencies sure has, increasing from six when they assumed power in 2001 to 10 in 2009 to 17 today.
That's more constituencies than Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta protect combined.
And before B.C. votes again, the government must refer these boundaries to the B.C. Court of Appeal to determine whether they comply with Section 3 of the Charter of Rights.
Side note: as a result of merging the national register of electors (Canada's permanent list), 594,335 new voters were added to B.C.'s list in 2004, bringing the total number of voters to 2.6 million, an increase of 23.8 percent. It increased the provincial list's coverage from 70.4 percent to 88.9 percent of eligible voters, which is one reason why voter turnouts seem so low when compared to elections before 2005.