Cartographer's Corner: Mapping Liberal Ontario
Don't know what it means that Bonnie Crombie won "6,911 points"? You're not alone
I love cartograms. You might have run into these quirky visualizations before:
Most Canadian elections aren’t actually about the total number of votes cast: The goal is to win an advantage in as many ridings as possible. Since every riding is equally important, it often makes sense to create election maps that show every riding at exactly the same size. That’s a cartogram!
The author’s cartogram-style map of the 2021 federal election.
There’s one thing that’s too good to be true: When you twist physical space in order to match political geography, the result is pretty exotic. Northern Ontario withers away. The Canadian Territories vanish. The City of Toronto takes up more space than Manitoba. Confusing and disturbing… but also a fantastic representation of how political strategists see the country.
Canadian political parties are free, within reason, to invent any system they like to govern their own internal elections. The Ontario Liberals, who elected centrist Mississauga mayor Bonnie Crombie as their new leader Saturday, are one of many to use a “points” system. No matter the actual number of votes cast by members, the result in each particular riding is weighted to 100 points. Sounds like a perfect excuse for a cartogram!