Canadian politics · Democratic reform · Voting

Is equal representation fair representation?

My colleagues Peter Loewen, Michael MacKenzie and I have an op-ed it today’s Ottawa Citizen on the question of whether democracy is harmed when some constituencies have larger populations than others.

In the op-ed we describe research on the issue that we recently conducted using both experimental data and survey results from the Canadian Election Study. Contrary to the popular wisdom, our results found no evidence that those in more populated constituencies either experienced worse representation or were less satisfied with democracy than those in less populated constituencies.

As such, we argue that the desire to ensure equal representation should not necessarily take priority over the desire to ensure that rural areas and other communities of common interest are effectively represented.