Cutting crew (II)
The provincial opposition parties have got it into their heads that cutting the size of the House of Assembly would be a good move.
It wouldn't be.
In Canada, at least, smaller provincial legislatures are less competitive. The relationship between size and competitiveness isn't perfect, but it's good enough. Examining all post-war provincial elections in all provinces except Alberta — which is uniquely uncompetitive, in federal and provincial elections, no matter how many seats it has — this is what you'll find.
First, smaller legislatures tend to result in larger governing parties. At the smallest end of the scale (mainly PEI and the earliest post-Confederation NL legislatures), the governing party typically holds more than 80% of the seats. That figure generally declines (with a bump up in the 60-something size bracket), as the legislature gets larger.
Second, and closely related, smaller legislatures tend to elect more electoral-blowout governments. (A blowout, defined here, is a legislature in which the governing party has 80% or more of the seats).
Want to cut the budget of the House of Assembly? Cut the budget of the House of Assembly. Cut MHAs' pay and benefits. Heck, if you're bold enough, you can even further increase the size of the legislature while at the same time cutting its overall budget, if you're willing to turn a few sacred cows into hamburger along the way.
But a smaller legislature? It's a solution in search of a problem.
Labels: pretty charts