¨ In 1996, the value of a rural vote in federal elections was 1.15, compared with 0.96 for all urban visible-minority votes. In short, votes of visible-minority citizens living in urban ridings were worth 17 percent less than their rural counterparts.
By 2001, urban visible-minority voters had seen the value of their votes decline to
0.91, while the value of the votes of all urban voters was virtually unchanged at 0.96 and that of rural voters increased to 1.22. Vote dilution among visible minorities thus worsened relative to both rural and urban voters, essentially due to the fact that visible minorities tend to cluster in urban ridings that already have relatively large numbers of voters.
Given this clustering pattern, and the fact that the Conservative government is planning to grant citizenship to many immigrants currently considered permanent residents, the problem of urban visible-minority vote dilution is likely to worsen.
The paper details possible solutions to ensure fairer representation. I think the Conservative Party should endorse this paper for two reasons. The findings speak to a better democracy, which the Conservatives always claim to champion. Also, and more importantly, what better way to "reach out" to minorities than to endorse a reform which grants more relative power. Any endorsement would be particularly impressive, given the current vote preference of minorities. How could anyone question the sincerity of a party that endorses reforms which could potentially hurt their own political fortunes?
The Conservatives usually fair better in rural ridings, while the Liberals tend to do well in the urban, ethnic areas. If the Conservatives were to endorse such a risky strategy, based on the fundamental principle of equality, then they would enjoy instant, unquestionable integrity, betraying a real sensitivity. Jason Kenney should get a copy of this study, because it might just be the magic bullet the Conservatives crave.