Thursday, April 01, 2010

Tories Propose Major Government Expansion

Okay, so maybe that's a little unfair. Still, it's an interesting idea being proposed by the Minister of State for Democratic Reform. I criticized the Tories the last time they tried to change the way the house is distributed because they were essentially going to screw Ontario. They have seen the error of their ways with the new bill and Ontario will get a fair shake. However, the bill will see the House of Commons grow substantially with no end in sight. The major change here is switching out the old formula for determining how many seats a province gets with a new set maximum number of 108,000 people per riding. The difference is that by the time the new census is worked through (probably 2013) the house would add 23 seats more than it would have under the current system. The strange thing is that the arbitrary 108,000 number is significantly higher than the roughly 104,000 people per riding in Québec which was the benchmark of the old Tory bill.

It's still a lot of new seats and it does not bode particularly well for keeping the House in some sort of check going forward. To give you an idea, Ontario has grown at a rate of basically one whole seat per year over the past five years. If current growth rates hold, Québec may be entitled to 76 or 77 seats come the 2021 census. You could theoretically raise the 108,000 ceiling in the future to try to check the growth but that would in essence create the same problem that you had before whereby fast growing provinces are curbed while slower growing provinces hold on to their seats based on the constitutional provision that provinces aren't allowed to lose seats. It would be really nice if we could figure out a way to get rep by pop without having to constantly wedge seats into the House of Commons.

1 comment:

CanadianSense said...

Some of us would prefer a reduction in some cases but our Constitution would be re-opened to to rebalance the Parliament to reflect the 108k per riding number.
Look at the territories and PEI.

It looks like another compromise to reflect the growth in Ontario, BC and Alberta.

Some cities have grown substantially and dividing the riding may be ideal.

Canadian Election Watch has some interesting point on the math.

Will the LPOC side with the Bloc and use this as a wedge issue to score points in Quebec or do the rigt thing.

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