Why did eastern B.C. and Canadian Prairies largely vote Conservative in Oct. 2019?


I screenshot CBC on Oct. 22 2019. I know these electoral districts (ridings) didn't vote Conservative —

  • BC — South Okanagan-West Kootenay

  • AB — Edmonton-Strathcona (too teeny to be seen in screen shot)

  • MB — 6 electoral districts in Winnipeg (too teeny to be seen). Undeniably Churchill.

(On the map, deep red represents the Liberal Party; orange-red represents the NDP; deep blue represents the Conservative Party; light blue represents the Bloc Québecois; and green represents the Green Party. The full list of MPs elected in the 2019 election can be found here.)

enter image description here


Posted 2019-10-22T23:24:58.447

Reputation: 1

3Did this change compared to the last election? (Just going from my general bias those are areas where I wouldn’t really be surprised about a conservative majority.) – Jan – 2019-10-22T23:48:16.077

It would be quite helpful if you would include a key to what the colors mean. – jamesqf – 2019-10-24T03:54:10.823



Notice that those few Liberal ridings have large urban areas like Edmonton and Winnipeg (Calgary is of course an exception, and still very Conservative).

The same thing happened in southern Ontario:

enter image description here

The red Liberal areas match the high population density areas: Windsor, London, Waterloo, the Greater Toronto Area, Niagara, Peterborough, Kingston, and Ottawa.

The blue Conservative areas match low population density areas, mostly agricultural with small towns. I think Barrie is the only city with over 100,000 population to go Conservative, and that could simply be because they personally liked their incumbent.

The more isolated people are, the more independent they are, and the less they want government intervention. For them, socialism means higher taxes, not better service. Except when the Conservative party is especially off track and alienating their supporters, it's natural that they would vote the way they do.

Ray Butterworth

Posted 2019-10-22T23:24:58.447

Reputation: 2 170

3"The more isolated people are, the more independent they are, and the less they want government intervention. For them, socialism means higher taxes, not better service." I cannot speak to Canada, but it's well-established in the US that rural areas tend to be net consumers of government revenue, and urban areas net providers of government revenue, exactly the opposite of what this would suggest. – Steven Stadnicki – 2019-10-23T17:54:59.717

1@StevenStadnicki This is primarily due to progressive income tax and property tax paid as a fraction of property value. – puppetsock – 2019-10-23T18:08:12.033

2@puppetsock I can't speak specifically to the origins (so I can't confirm your claim one way or the other), but if that's so then doesn't it just reinforce my point? 'Redistribution of wealth', after all, is one of the (arguable) core facets of socialism, and rural areas tend to be poorer than urban ones even in the median — so it would seem that more socialism would be more beneficial to rural areas. I'm well aware that that's not how it's generally painted (going back at least to Reagan) and that this is a major facet of rural areas going more Conservative (cont)... – Steven Stadnicki – 2019-10-23T18:17:27.713

...but to assert prima facie that 'more socialism means higher taxes and not better service' for rural areas needs some evidence behind it, since the first level of data suggests somewhat the opposite. – Steven Stadnicki – 2019-10-23T18:18:37.980

@StevenStadnicki, US government aid tends to be in terms of farm-subsidies, government contracts, etc., the big lobby groups. In Canada, the obvious government aid is for social programs like day-care, drug-abuse centres, immigrant settlement, Agenda 21 infrastructure projects, social counselling, climate change initiatives, housing, jobs, seniors, technology, and public transit. These are things that affect large cities much more than rural areas. A farmer or someone living in a small village sees very little direct benefit from this, but still pays the taxes for it. – Ray Butterworth – 2019-10-23T18:30:19.510

@RayButterworth Do you have a reference for that? I'm curious now; I know there are differences between government appropriations (the US military budget, for instance) but I'd be surprised if they're that vast a difference. (For instance, it looks like the overwhelming majority of Canadian aid goes to seniors, and a priori I can't see any reason to expect that seniors would be concentrated in urban areas; if anything, my impression is that rural areas skew older than urban ones.) – Steven Stadnicki – 2019-10-23T19:06:18.100


@RayButterworth I found what might be the closest thing: https://lop.parl.ca/sites/PublicWebsite/default/en_CA/ResearchPublications/201701E — it suggests that Alberta aside (and I suspect that's strongly correlated to oil revenue, of course) the more rural provinces (esp. the maritimes) tend to be the ones with the greatest imbalance of federal revenue to federal spending. It does very much seem to skew along an east-west divide, though, which explains much of the current political tenor — Alberta and Saskatchewan being net revenue generators, in particular.

– Steven Stadnicki – 2019-10-23T19:25:49.897

@StevenStadnicki says "majority of Canadian aid goes to seniors", but is that mostly in the form of pensions and health care? Even then, health care is much more readily available and more likely to be used in urban centres. And there are many things like seniors recreation centres, and subsidized seniors clubs that are plentiful in cities but not in rural areas. – Ray Butterworth – 2019-10-23T21:26:22.693

1@Steven Stadnicki: This is true only if you look at total spendings, and not what directly affects individuals. For instance, spending around $7 million per mile to build a major interstate highway through rural areas counts as spending on those areas, but does very little to benefit the people living there (it may even harm them). It mostly benefits people & business in the cities on either end. – jamesqf – 2019-10-24T04:02:25.650

@StevenStadnicki You have the causality backwards. The urban areas aren't more prosperous because they have more "socialism"; they have more "socialism" because they are more prosperous. The benefits are an expense urbanites can afford. The rural areas being net consumers of benefits is simply because they have less to tax than the urban areas. Taxable assets are not distributed in the same way as entitlements are. Many people who are too "poor" to be wealthy but too "rich" to get entitlements disfavor increased entitlements exactly because it is a cost with no benefit to them. – Joe – 2019-10-24T12:00:17.403


The answer by Ray Butterowrth is correct, and I gave that answer an up-vote. However, there are lots of nuances to it.

For example, contributing factors for Toronto going liberal include a combination of hatred for Doug Ford, reminiscence over various figures in the recent political history such as Jack Layton, and strategic voting on the part of the NDP voters.

Doug Ford, the conservative prov. premiere, has a long history of annoying the more liberal or socialist leaning folk in Toronto. This has roots at least as far back as when Rob Ford, Doug's brother, was mayor of Toronto. So there is a significant feeling that anything connected with Doug Ford must be defeated.

Jack Layton was a highly popular NPD figure in Toronto. There is a lot of fondness for his memory. It produces a lot of loyalty to his party, quite outside of and even in contradiction to ideology.

A big thing in the Alberta and Saskatchewan is the ongoing struggle to decide what to do with and about oil produced there. Other resources as well such as wheat and lumber. This is at least as old as Pierre Trudeau, the father of our current PM. Various issues such as where pipelines are permitted, who has to pay how much for using them, what resources belong to who, and how much tax will be paid, among many other issues, have embittered relations between Ottawa and the Prairies for a very long time.

There are lots of other factors that tend to produce a divided country. For example, a quick glance at the map in the question would allow you to be fairly accurate as to guessing what regions are predominantly controlled by natives. They tend to strongly favor liberal or NDP candidates. This is a big part of the orange and red in the north and in BC. And Quebec is solidly Bloc Quebec, the dark green shade in the map. These groups all have separatist and cultural/language isolation issues that unite them and set them apart from the rest of the country.

This election is potentially troublesome for Canada. It's a deeply divided nation at the moment. Those different colored regions have some strong feelings of resentment and frustration.


Posted 2019-10-22T23:24:58.447

Reputation: 668


Below is a map showing the election results of the 2015 election (taken from Wikipedia where a full list of contributors is available)

Canadian federal election results 2015

If you compare this map to yours, you will notice that in eastern BC and the praries most seats were Conservative holds. Anther map from Wikipedia, which I will only link rather than upload in the interest of space, shows how most of those Conservative holds have a strong Conservative majority especially those in Alberta. Those that swung to Conservative almost invariably showed a very weak lead in the 2015 elections (I didn’t check all). This is most prominent (because it is a large constituency) for the northern Saskatchewan seat that Conservatives gained from the New Democratic Party.

All things considered, I think the best answer to your question is: they voted Conservative in 2019 because they did so before and saw no reason to swing away.


Posted 2019-10-22T23:24:58.447

Reputation: 8 390

So your answer to why they voted conservative now is because they voted it then? Um... The story of my life, here I am. Why'd they vote it then? – puppetsock – 2019-10-24T14:28:12.303

@puppetsock That’s a different question, not the one that was asked. – Jan – 2019-10-24T15:13:20.803