As most know by now, Canada had an election on Monday. Four major parties received votes: The Liberal Party (roughly equivalent to our Democratic Party), Conservative Party (like out Republicans), New Democratic Party (a quasi-Socialist Party, with some Green ideals thrown in), and the Bloc Quebecois (A Quebec separatist group, unlike anything here in the US). The Conservative Party is a new entity, comprised of two older groups (The Progressive Conservative Party, which controlled the Canadian Parliament in the 80's and early 90's, and the Canadian Alliance, formerly known as the Canadian Reform Party). What I suspect most readers do not know is why the Reform Party came into existence. I had a vague idea, but was not aware of the details.
It all boils down to apportionment. Canada (and for that matter, Australia as well), do not reapportion under the same strict balances we do here in the US. As a result, one Canadian MP may represent as few as 34,935 people (in Prince Edward Island; the territories have fewer people, but only one rep; PEI has four), or as many as 113K+ (British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario). Since Ontario has more than one third of the entire Parliament, they are never shortchanged, but the two western provinces feel slighted.
Read this post at Chicago Boyz, and especially the comments, for a lot more information on the subject.