Brand new electoral map for Saskatchewan

Voters in Saskatchewan will notice some dramatic changes in their federal riding boundaries in this election.

Map changes mean fewer hybrid ridings, more all-urban seats

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      Voters in Saskatchewan will notice some dramatic changes in their federal riding boundaries in this election.

      There are still 14 ridings, just like in 2011, but the lines have been redrawn.

      Among the most significant changes are the creation of urban-only ridings in Saskatoon and Regina.

      John Courtney, a senior policy fellow with the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, was on the three-person commission that redrew the boundaries.

      The Saskatchewan electoral map in 2015 looks more spread out, but that's because there are more all-urban ridings packed away in Regina and Saskatoon. (Elections Canada/CBC)

      He told CBC News that Saskatoon's population neatly split into three all-urban ridings, adding some weight to the notion that all-urban ridings were a good idea.

      "It was quite a remarkable coincidence that the census population of 222,000 just divided exactly into three seats, so we were strongly governed by that fact," he said.

      The former urban-rural hybrid ridings first appeared in the province five decades ago, but before then Regina and Saskatoon had strictly urban seats.

      Saskatchewan's Conservative MPs were opposed to the push toward all-urban ridings. Some political observers have predicted the change might give a leg-up to the New Democrats in some seats.

      However, Courtney said the commission became convinced that fewer hybrid ridings was the way to go.

      "So many of the people who testified to us were of the mind that they really had very little connection to rural Saskatchewan," he said.

      Voters go to the polls on Oct. 19. In the last election, Saskatchewan voters sent 13 Conservatives and one Liberal to Ottawa.