Four days after denying any involvement with phone calls made to Saskatchewan residents about changes to riding boundaries in the province, the Conservative party admits it was responsible for the calls. Here is the statement from party spokesman Fred DeLorey.
In regards to the calls last week that went into Saskatchewan concerning redistribution, the calls came from the Conservative Party. There was an internal miscommunication on the matter, and the calls should have been identified as coming from the Conservative Party.
As I said in the past, we are not polling on this issue, we already know where people stand – 75% of people who attended the public hearings and submitted written submissions opposed these drastic changes to the boundaries. But we are doing a host of things to communicate with voters and get their feedback.
Not only were these changes opposed by 75% of the public, but an actual member of the commission also opposed these changes, which led to an unprecedented Dissenting Report by the boundary commission.
We agree with the Dissenting Report of Commissioner David Marit on the basis that:
—These drastic changes were opposed by 75% of the public who presented at the Commission’s public hearings;
—There will be fewer MPs representing urban areas than under the previous maps, a fact pointed out by the residents, city-councillors, and business leaders in Regina and Saskatoon;
—Because of population growth, the next boundary commission will have to change the ridings back to rural-urban blends; and
Rural Saskatchewan plays a vital role in supporting the urban population centres and it only makes sense to have MPs that represent both rural and urban areas to reflect that important characteristic of the province.
Colby Cosh covered the dispute within the boundary commission last week. As I noted a few weeks ago, the new boundaries theoretically turn a province with 13 Conservatives and one Liberal into a province with 11 Conservatives, two New Democrats and one Liberal.
And as I noted shortly after the last election, the popular vote result in Saskatchewan is a glaring example of first-past-the-post failing to reflect the province-wide will of voters. Here again are those numbers from the 2011 election.
Conservatives 256,004 votes (13 seats)
NDP 147,084 votes (0 seats)
Liberals 38,981 votes (1 seat)