A response to Ipsos Reid, Part II

This is Part II in a three part series.
For Part I, click here.  For Part III, click here.

A Response to Ipsos Reid, Part II: How to “prove” that the Canadian House of Commons actually has 429 seats instead of the 308 seats it actually has.

Here’s how you do this: just use the mathematical practice of taking the average of several unequally-weighted averages.  Normally, this would be considered a big “no-no” in the world of statistics, but since a senior official with the prestigious Ipsos Reid polling firm recently came out and endorsed this practice, we’re good to go.

First we need some numbers.

According to Statistics Canada, the most current estimates of the Canadian population are the following:

January, 2009

Canada

33,504,680

Newfoundland

508,990

PEI

140,402

Nova Scotia

939,531

New Brunswick

748,319

Quebec

7,782,561

Ontario

12,986,857

Manitoba

1,213,815

Saskatchewan

1,023,810

Alberta

3,632,483

British Columbia

4,419,974

Yukon

33,442

Northwest Territories

42,940

Nunavut

31,556

Now, each province has the following number of seats in the House of Commons:

Canada

308

Newfoundland

7

PEI

4

Nova Scotia

11

New Brunswick

10

Quebec

75

Ontario

106

Manitoba

14

Saskatchewan

14

Alberta

28

British Columbia

36

Yukon

1

Northwest Territories

1

Nunavut

1

So, we just do a little long division using our handy computer machines and we get the following estimation of the population per seat in each province:

Newfoundland

72,713

PEI

35,101

Nova Scotia

85,412

New Brunswick

74,832

Quebec

103,767

Ontario

122,518

Manitoba

86,701

Saskatchewan

73,129

Alberta

129,732

British Columbia

122,777

Yukon

33,442

Northwest Territories

42,940

Nunavut

31,556

Now, using this methodology, there should be nothing wrong with just taking the average of these averages to come up with the Canadian average:

Doing so, we get an average population/seat value of:

Canada

78,048

… But, we already know from Stats Canada’s data that Canada has a total population of roughly 33,504,680 people.  Therefore:

33,504,680 ÷ 78,048 = 429 seats

QED.

And presto, voila!  You’ve just proven that the Canadian House of Commons has 429 seats even though it actually contains 308.

Can you spot the problem?  The problem is that this practice — which Mr. Wright publicly came here and said was legitimate — does not take into account that taking an unweighted average of several averages means that Ontario (population 12,986,857) and Nunavut (population 31,556) are considered equally weighted.

5 Responses to “A response to Ipsos Reid, Part II”


  1. 1 marcel 17 June, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    What the hel kind of comments are those?

  2. 2 John Wright 27 June, 2009 at 1:05 am

    So, what’s your e-mail? What’s your phone number? What’s your address??

    What, you aren’t a coward are you???? Show us where you are…you have to have more than that “Paul Bernardo” lookalike picture, don’t you???

    C’mon, fess up…


  1. 1 A Response to Ipsos Reid, Part III « Paulitics Trackback on 17 June, 2009 at 7:39 pm
  2. 2 A response to Ipsos Reid, Part I « Paulitics Trackback on 17 June, 2009 at 7:43 pm
  3. 3 Bloggers everywhere: 2; Ipsos Reid: 0 « Paulitics Trackback on 26 June, 2009 at 8:42 pm

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