Part I Initial Report to the House of Commons (December 19, 2012) – Saskatchewan – The Changing Demographics of Saskatchewan and Final Decisions

The Changing Demographics of Saskatchewan and Final Decisions

The changing face of the province was reflected in numerous presentations made by people who, in some measure, represented the new demographic mosaic of Saskatchewan. The belief that people in Saskatoon and Regina are just one step removed from the farm may have been true at one point, but it no longer describes the reality of the cities. Within the cities, many who once lived on farms or in small towns and villages no longer have any connection to rural or agricultural life. Residents who move from other parts of the country or the world have little understanding of Saskatchewan's rural way of life. Perhaps it would be better if they did, but the mandate of the Commission is to reflect the province's reality, not to promote a particular vision.

Those who opposed the establishment of exclusively urban ridings spoke of communities of interest created by trading patterns. They talked about driving into the city to see a doctor or dentist, to buy groceries and furniture, or to work. Contact alone, however, does not create a community of interest. A number of presenters from the rural areas spoke about how their children are now living and working in the city, and how they come to the city to visit their children and grandchildren. The rural residents believe this contact gives them shared concerns with urban dwellers. The Commission does not accept that this type of contact creates communities of interest.

The majority of the submissions made following the publication of the proposal focused on, or were in opposition to, creating solely urban ridings in Regina and Saskatoon. But defining electoral boundaries is not simply a numbers game. The Commission is expected to use its knowledge and experience in applying the principles contained in the Act to the establishment of boundaries.

When the 2002 commission initially proposed solely urban districts, all 32 submissions it received during the public hearings were opposed to that approach. The 2002 commission reverted to the blended ridings in its final report, citing unanimous opposition to its proposal as a reason.

It is not for this Commission to comment on the rationale employed by the previous commission. The representations made to this Commission have been considerably different in both number and argument than those in the past. There is significant public support for dedicated urban ridings. The support, while widespread throughout the province, is mainly centered in Saskatoon and Regina.

The Commission's final report therefore acknowledges and respects the community of interest within the cities. It reaffirms three urban ridings for Saskatoon as well as two urban ridings and one blended rural-urban riding for Regina. The solely urban electoral districts of Saskatoon and Regina do not extend beyond the city limits.

As well, it should be noted that the Commission endeavoured to construct all electoral districts in the province in a manner that respects the integrity of municipal and First Nations reserve boundaries.

The names that the Commission proposes for the 14 electoral districts, the population in each district, and the percentage by which the population departs from the electoral quota in each district are as follows.

Electoral District Population
2011
Variance from Quota
(73,813)
Battlefords—Lloydminster 70,034 –5.12%
Cypress Hills—Grasslands 67,834 –8.10%
Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River 69,471 –5.88%
Humboldt—Warman—Martensville—Rosetown 74,590 1.05%
Moose Jaw—Lake Centre—Lanigan 74,399 0.79%
Prince Albert 77,361 4.81%
Regina—Lewvan 79,587 7.82%
Regina—Qu'Appelle 72,891 –1.25%
Regina—Wascana 77,208 4.60%
Saskatoon—Grasswood 72,010 –2.44%
Saskatoon—University 76,257 3.31%
Saskatoon West 76,704 3.92%
Souris—Moose Mountain 73,765 –0.07%
Yorkton—Melville 71,270 –3.45%
Total 1,033,381  




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