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Author Topic: Parliament always grows?
Gollygee
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posted 27 September 2006 12:35 PM      Profile for Gollygee        Edit/Delete Post
Stats Can announced that the combined BC-Alberta population has surpassed Quebec by 35,000 and the gap will continue. Quebec, however has 75 MPs in Ottawa to B.C. and Alberta's combined 64. The CBC article mentions the possibility of adding seats out west.

I'm curious. Is Quebec (or any other province) guaranteed a certain number of seats or % of seats AND are seats ever taken away from a province rather than new seats added to growing populations? Could Newfoundland or Saskatchewan lose a seat or does Parliament always just grow in numbers? I know that boundaries are altered within a province but can they lose a seat?

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2006/09/27/stats-population.html


From: Creston, BC | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged
Stephen Gordon
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posted 27 September 2006 12:54 PM      Profile for Stephen Gordon        Edit/Delete Post
I believe that the current rules are:

- Quebec always has 75 seats.
- No province can have fewer MPs than Senators (which explains why the Atlantic provinces are over-represented in the House of Commons).
- Each territory gets a MP.

Within those constraints, the Electoral Commission tries as best as it can to have an equal number of voters.

So yes, population shifts from east to west will have the effect of increasing the number of seats in the House of Commons.


From: . | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Wilf Day
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posted 27 September 2006 01:27 PM      Profile for Wilf Day     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Stephen Gordon:
the Electoral Commission tries as best as it can to have an equal number of voters.

That's only within each province.

Between provinces, see
Representation in the House of Commons of Canada:

quote:
The current formula for representation is applied by carrying out the following four steps:

1 – Allocation to the territories

Starting with the 282 seats that the House of Commons of Canada had in 1985, one seat is allocated to the Northwest Territories, one to the Yukon Territory and one to Nunavut, leaving 279 seats. This number is used to calculate the electoral quotient.

2 – Calculation of the electoral district average

The total population of the ten provinces is divided by 279 to obtain the "electoral quota" or "quotient", which is used to determine the number of seats for each province.

3 – Distribution of seats to each province

The theoretical number of seats to be allocated to each province in the House of Commons is calculated by dividing the total population of each province by the quotient obtained in step 2. If the result leaves a remainder higher than 0.50, the number of seats is rounded up to the next whole number.

4 – Adjustments

After the theoretical number of seats per province is obtained, adjustments are made in a process referred to as applying the "senatorial clause" and "grandfather clause."

As we have seen, since 1915, the senatorial clause has guaranteed that no province has fewer members in the House of Commons than it has in the Senate.

The Representation Act, 1985 brought into effect a new grandfather clause that guaranteed each province no fewer seats than it had in 1976 or during the 33rd Parliament.



Conservative Party policy is to change this by setting the quotient as the population of Quebec divided by 75. This would give Ontario, Alberta and BC additional MPs.

From: Port Hope, Ontario | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
Jooge
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posted 27 September 2006 01:30 PM      Profile for Jooge     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Wilf Day:

Conservative Party policy is to change this by setting the quotient as the population of Quebec divided by 75. This would give Ontario, Alberta and BC additional MPs.

Wouldn't this ultimately be the fairest way of calculating it?


From: The Land of Opportunity | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
Gollygee
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posted 27 September 2006 01:53 PM      Profile for Gollygee        Edit/Delete Post
Thanks for the info.

Is the current formula based on 'law' or agreed upon by consensus? for example, if PEI was to lose a seat could it go to the Supreme Court and argue its case based on some provision of the BNA Act, etc. Can 'a province' like B.C. go to court to and seek a ruling ensuring more seats?
Who has the authority?


From: Creston, BC | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged
Gollygee
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posted 27 September 2006 01:57 PM      Profile for Gollygee        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Jooge:

Wouldn't this ultimately be the fairest way of calculating it?


That would still leave way over representation in PEI and the territories. the fairest way might not be the most logical...take the smallest riding in population and determine the number of seats from that. Of course this would result in a parliament of a couple thousand MPs (ugh).


From: Creston, BC | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged
the grey
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posted 27 September 2006 02:02 PM      Profile for the grey     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Jooge:

Wouldn't this ultimately be the fairest way of calculating it?


Possibly, but it would also mean that the most recent census numbers would result in a House of Commons of 337 members (29 more than currently).

Noting that it's the 2011 census that will actually be used for the next redistribution, not the 2006 census, if the 2006 numbers were used, . . .

Alberta would add 5 seats instead of only 1.
BC would add 6 seats instead of only 1.
Ontario would add 18 seats instead of only 2.

All the other provinces already gain from the special clauses.

To keep Quebec at 75, the 1991 numbers required 4 extra seats, the 2001 numbers required 7 extra seats, and the 2006 numbers required 10 extra seats. This suggests that if Quebec at 75 is the benchmark instead of just a requirement, the House of Commons will expand very quickly to be substantially larger.


From: London, Ontario | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
Policywonk
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posted 27 September 2006 02:32 PM      Profile for Policywonk     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Is the current formula based on 'law' or agreed upon by consensus? for example, if PEI was to lose a seat could it go to the Supreme Court and argue its case based on some provision of the BNA Act, etc. Can 'a province' like B.C. go to court to and seek a ruling ensuring more seats? Who has the authority?

The formula and the authority are in the Constitution, including the Constitution Acts of 1915 (no province can have fewer seats in the House of Commons than the number of senators allocated to it), 1975 (seats for the Yukon and NWT guaranteed), 1985 (Grandfather Clause) and the Constitution Act 1999 (establishing the Terrritory of Nunuvut).The number of Senators allocated to each province and territory is also in the Constitution. So no province or territory could lose a seat without agreeing to a change in the Constitution that allowed it.

Canadian Constitutional Documents


From: Edmonton | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Gollygee
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posted 27 September 2006 06:45 PM      Profile for Gollygee        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Policywonk:

The formula and the authority are in the Constitution, including the Constitution Acts of 1915 (no province can have fewer seats in the House of Commons than the number of senators allocated to it), 1975 (seats for the Yukon and NWT guaranteed), 1985 (Grandfather Clause) and the Constitution Act 1999 (establishing the Terrritory of Nunuvut).The number of Senators allocated to each province and territory is also in the Constitution. So no province or territory could lose a seat without agreeing to a change in the Constitution that allowed it.

Canadian Constitutional Documents


Thanks for the well written clarification.

I've sometimes wondered if there couldn't be a charter challenge to the number of seats if a particular resident felt 'less equal' in representation because of their particular geography.


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quelar
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posted 28 September 2006 03:14 PM      Profile for quelar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Gollygee:

Thanks for the well written clarification.

I've sometimes wondered if there couldn't be a charter challenge to the number of seats if a particular resident felt 'less equal' in representation because of their particular geography.


It wouldn't matter, if the most under represented riding (Trinity Spadina) was to make a point of it, the rest of the country would be outraged that those 'downtown toronto socialists' were trying to co-opt their government.


From: In Dig Nation | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
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posted 28 September 2006 03:37 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I've sometimes wondered if there couldn't be a charter challenge to the number of seats if a particular resident felt 'less equal' in representation because of their particular geography.

You would think that such a challenge would be successful, since the present system fails to give each voter equal weight in the electoral system.

The Supreme Court has decided that the Canadian concept of the right to vote requires that a vote be "effective", but that voter parity was not one of the goals of the right to vote.

quote:
The history or philosophy of Canadian democracy does not suggest that the framers of the Charter in enacting s. 3 had the attainment of voter parity as their ultimate goal. Their goal, rather, was to recognize the right long affirmed in this country to effective representation in a system which gives due weight to voter equity but admits other considerations where necessary. Effective representation and good government in this country compel that factors other than voter parity, such as geography and community interests, be taken into account in setting electoral boundaries. Departures from the Canadian ideal of effective representation, where they exist, will be found to violate s. 3 of the Charter.

saskatchewan elections case

This case was litigated before the "equality rights" section of the Charter came into effect.

That section, however, is substantially related to "discrimination." So, an electoral law which discriminated against a racial minority might be struck down, but it would be harder in the case of one citizen claiming that his or her vote does not get equal weight.

Still, I think some day that one person one vote will become the requirement. But it might take until 2050 or so.


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Gollygee
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posted 28 September 2006 03:41 PM      Profile for Gollygee        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by quelar:

It wouldn't matter, if the most under represented riding (Trinity Spadina) was to make a point of it, the rest of the country would be outraged that those 'downtown toronto socialists' were trying to co-opt their government.


I doubt that. Nobody outside of the area would know if Spadina was place or a flat-ended Italian shovel.


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marzo
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posted 28 September 2006 04:17 PM      Profile for marzo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Most Canadians outside of Toronto may not know where Trinity-Spadina is, but there is an anti-Toronto attitude that sometimes is expressed by conservative governments such as the Provincial Mike Harris government and their enthusiastic supporters. The Harper Conservatives are the same thing all over again, now at the federal level.
From: toronto | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged

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