30 more MPs for rebalanced House of Commons
Posted: Oct 26, 2011 9:05 PM ET
Last Updated: Oct 26, 2011 9:41 PM ET
Quebec will get three more seats in the House of Commons under proposed legislation announced Thursday by the Conservative government.
Quebec is getting more seats than originally planned to ensure the province's representation in the Commons matches its share of the country's population.
Tim Uppal, minister of state for democratic reform, announces his government's proposed Fair Representation Act in Brampton, Ont. Thursday. Marie Morrissey/CBC Ontario will get 15 more seats, British Columbia and Alberta six each and Quebec three under the Fair Representation Act announced by Tim Uppal, minister of state for democratic reform, at a news conference in Brampton Thursday morning.
"Canadians living in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta have become significantly underrepresented as their populations have grown," said Uppal in prepared remarks. "The Fair Representation Act delivers on our government's long-standing commitment and moves every single province towards the principle of representation by population."
That will bring the total number of seats in the House of Commons to 338 from the current 308.
Stéphane Dion, the Liberals' critic on democratic reform, criticized the Conservatives for the way in which news of the proposed seat changes have trickled out over the past few months, and called for the provinces to be involved in the redistribution.
"Democratic reform is not a game and must be done in coordination with the provinces. Now that a proposal is before Parliament, the Conservatives must commit to allowing Members of Parliament and Senators the time to fully study the impacts of this Bill," Dion said in a statement Thursday.
The NDP said it would respond to the prosposed legislation Thursday afternoon.
The Conservatives had proposed to add seats in only the three fastest growing provinces: Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Stephen Harper repeated the government's position, which was included in the party's election platform. He said the government made three promises about representation in the House.
"First of all, that we would increase the number of seats now and in the future to better reflect the growth of Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta, the growth of those provinces and their population," he said in Peterborough, Ont.
"That secondly, we would make sure that the number of seats for the small provinces did not fall, that they were protected, and that the proportional representation of Quebec would also be protected, proportional according to population. Those are our three commitments, and we intend to bring forward legislation that respects those commitments."
The party's platform guarantees Quebec won't drop below 75 seats.
Quebec has 75 of 308 seats right now, or 24.4 per cent. July Statistics Canada numbers show Quebec had a population of 7,979,663, or 23.1 per cent of the country's population.
Under the new distribution, the province would have 23.1 per cent of the seats in the House of Commons.
Corrections and Clarifications
- This story has been edited from an earlier version to correctly state the number of additional seats for Ontario and British Columbia. Oct. 27, 2011 | 10:40 AM ET
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