A hypothetical legislature

by Aaron Wherry

Last month there was some speculation that once this year’s round of elections was complete, Conservatives (of various partisan affiliations) might occupy more than half of all federal and provincial seats in the country.

Because of regional differences—especially in Quebec—this math is pretty subjective, but here’s one attempt to tally the standings with only Saskatchewan left to vote.

First, remove the Nunavut and Northwest Territories legislatures from the equation because they do not operate on the party system. Second, consider the Saskatchewan Party, the Yukon Party, the Wild Rose Alliance and the Action democratique du Quebec as Conservative parties. Third, consider Quebec solidaire as the closest thing Quebec has to a provincial NDP.

That leaves two provincial parties—the British Columbia Liberals and the Quebec Liberals—to be classified. Neither are formally affiliated with the federal Liberal party and both draw from the centre-left and centre-right. For the sake of argument, let’s split their seats between the Liberals and the Conservatives (24 and 33 to the former, 24 and 32 to the latter).

Add all that to the more straightforward affiliations and I get the following at the provincial level.

Conservatives 327
Liberals 176
New Democrats 153
Other 58
Vacancies 1

Add the federal numbers and I get the following overall.

Conservatives 493
New Democrats 255
Liberals 210
Other 63
Vacancies 2

With 1,023 seats overall, the Conservatives remain 19 seats short of a majority in this back-of-napkin legislature.




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A hypothetical legislature

  1. You split the BC Liberals between the Liberals and the Conservatives?

    Unless you include the Greens, there are really only two parties in BC: the NDP and the coalition that tries to stop the NDP (whether that’s called Social Credit or Liberal). It’s definitely right of centre.

  2. While the split in B.C. might make sense I think it is far too generous to the Conservatives in Québec. Perhaps 45 – 20 for the Liberals.

    As well you could certainly assign some of the PQ members to the Dippers and some to the Conservatives.

    • True. To really do this with absolute specificity, you’d have to go through British Columbia and Quebec (and maybe Saskatchewan) and assign specific MLAs to the Conservatives, Liberals and NDP. Then you’d have to have something like a hundred individual debates about who should go where. 

      This is just the quick and dirty math.

      • You’re gonna need a bigger napkin.

  3. The Newfoundland Progressive “Conservatives” are about as conservative as Québec solidaire. Seriously.

    • Well, that goes to the whole problem with this exercise — e.g., the Sask and Manitoba NDP are indistinguishable from a lot of Liberal parties, they’re much more centrist than the BC or Ontario versions of the NDP.  And, of course, trying to parse out which “part” of the BC Liberal Party is “liberal” and which part is “conservative” is a mug’s game.

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