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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Redistributing 2011 votes over new riding boundaries shows gains for Tories

OTTAWA - Elections Canada says the Conservatives would have won 22 more House of Commons seats in the last election had the new riding boundaries and their 30 new seats been in play.

The agency took the 2011 election results and redistributed the votes cast over the riding maps that will be used for the next election, expected next year.

The transposition of votes suggest the Tories would have taken 188 seats compared with the 166 they actually won in 2011.

The NDP would have gained six seats and the Liberals would have had two more.

The Tory gains in percentage terms are more modest, as they would have taken 55.6 per cent of the new total as compared with 53.8 per cent of the old.

The post-census changes to the riding map added 15 seats in Ontario, six each in Alberta and British Columbia and three in Quebec to reflect population changes.

In addition to adding the new ridings, the changes also redrew the boundaries of most constituencies.

That alone caused squabbles.

In Saskatchewan, for example, Conservatives fought a long, bitter, rear-guard action against proposals to change some ridings from rural-urban mixes to purely urban constituencies.

The Tories hold 13 of the province's 14 ridings, with Liberal Ralph Goodale sitting for Regina Wascana.

The Conservatives fear that taking the rural votes out of some ridings will improve prospects for the NDP.

Elections Canada produced the new seat totals by taking the 2011 results from individual polling places and transferring the votes to the new ridings.

The agency conducts the vote transposition exercise after every redistribution of Commons seats to meet a requirement in the Canada Elections Act.

The law says the two parties getting the highest number of votes in each riding get the right to recommend people to be election officers.

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