July 21, 2024
Politics are not significantly more regionalized today than they were in 2015. But Quebec is the anomaly.
Looking at the change in the pattern of seats and votes, it’s hard to sustain the view that the country’s politics is considerably more regionalized today than it was after the 2015 election; Canadian regionalism is nothing new.
Looking at the change in the pattern of seats and votes, it’s hard to sustain the view that the country’s politics is considerably more regionalized today than it was after the 2015 election; Canadian regionalism is nothing new.

A prominent theme in the wave of commentary on last week’s election is Canada’s increasing regionalism. Indeed, it’s hard not to see a reflection of the highly fragmented politics of the 1990s in the outcome of Oct. 21, 2019, particularly looking at the colouring of Elections Canada’s map of national results.

Canadian politics has always been highly regionalized, of course. Nevertheless, talk of increasing regionalism in this country seems largely—though not entirely—bogus. At least that’s the sense that one gets has after looking carefully at the pattern of change in the parties’ provincial seats and vote shares between 2015 and 2019.

The first critical point is that the 2019 election’s overall dynamics were decidedly national. The Liberals lost votes in every province. Likewise, Liberal seats were lost everywhere but Prince Edward Island, where the party saw no change in its total seats. Conversely, the Tories gained seats in every province but Quebec (where they went from 12 to 10). The party also gained vote share in every province, save, again, for Quebec (where their vote share was basically unchanged [a drop of -0.7 per cent]) and Ontario (a drop of 1.8 per cent).

In general, it appears that Tory gains were made at the Liberals’ expense. The correlation between Liberal and Conservative vote shares at the provincial level was strongly negative: by the standard statistical metric, Pearson’s r (otherwise known as the Pearson correlation coefficient), the correlation was -.73. As Tory gains increased, so did Liberal losses.

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See Also:

(1) All options for Alberta need to be on the table

(2) Western alienation as ugly as any vandal’s word

(3) The creeping horror Alberta never knew it was voting for

(4) Alberta Acts to Protect Residents, Trudeau Aims to Disarm Them

(5) The anger is real, but is western separatism?

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