More cowbell MPs!

Ottawa introduces bill to increase number of MPs from Ontario, West


If Canada does indeed have a democratic deficit, the Conservative government has a solution in mind—more MPs. Under a proposal introduced Thursday in the House of Commons, the ranks of Canadian parliamentarians would grow by 30 members. Ontario would get 18 additional seats, while Alberta and B.C. would have five and seven more representatives to call their own, bringing the total number of members of Parliament to 338. According to government figures, MPs from Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia represent, on average, 26,500 more constituents than MPs from other provinces. The changes proposed Thursday would come into effect in 2011.

CBC News

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More cowbell MPs!

  1. I'd prefer a reshuffling of current 'spots' in parliament, but that would never happen. It's about time though, gotta try and keep representation somewhat equal.

  2. How is this not automatic?

  3. It can be argued that its overdue – many ridings have grown very quickly since the last expansion. If the goal is to have the HOC be a rep by pop house – and it should be – then expansion is the only way to go as bothe que and pei have guaranteed minimum numbers 75 and 4 respectively. (the senate should Be a rep by province house (aka EEE) to counterbalance the potential (and historically actual) tyranny of the majority, but that is a point of discussion for another day).

    Not surprisingly these new seats will have realpolitik repercussions. Here are the two of the most important:

    1. The seats will go live in any election after mid 2011 at the latest. On live they will undoubtedly favour the CPC as these new seats will mostly be in CPC friendly areas just as the slow expansion of seats has disadvantaged the CPC in elections up until now. So, if the oppo parties want to have a better chance of defeating the CPC they have to try and trigger an election within the next 12 months. Their collective nuts are in a time vice as it were.

    2. The new seats will severely weaken que’s clout at the federal level. It is almost possible now for the CPC (or some other party in the future) to win a majority without any seats from que. This is a bloc-busting (pardon the pun) development. Que has exercised extortion tactics by voting nearly monolithically in the past to be a party’s keeper and put it in majority power. Lately the bloc has only been able to prevent a majority and thus still have some swing.

    But after this allocation their ability to do so will be greatly minimized. One more addition of seats – likely in less than a decade from now and they will have lost it completely. Once lost que’s monolithic tendencies will rapidly disappear and seats will be decided on political grounds rather than cultural. And the BLOC will well and truly have lost it’s reason for its existence.

    No wonder duceppe is so pissed. And it should please federalists everywhere.

    After the next addition of seats que will become just another province – not a kingmaker. And the consequences of this are incalculable.

  4. Just what we need, more politicians. With just salaries and tax-free allowances, this is going to cost Canadian taxpayers $5.5 million. Why not just redraw electoral boundaries to more fairly represent population. Prince Edward Island has only 140,000 residents but has 4 MPs. I'd suggest they only need 2 – net savings, $350,000 right off the top.

    More government is not good government.


  5. Just what we need, more politicians. With just salaries and tax-free allowances, this is going to cost Canadian taxpayers $5.5 million. Why not just redraw electoral boundaries to more fairly represent population. Prince Edward Island has only 140,000 residents but has 4 MPs. I'd suggest they only need 2 – net savings, $350,000 right off the top.

    More government is not good government.


  6. Interesting experiment = take regional numbers from Nanos then factor in new ridings see present vote split each region then plug into seat calculator …. hmmm! might get very and I mean very interesting!

  7. 1. This law would make it easier for the Tories to form a majority. It would also help the Tories win elections, but not by that much, since when Liberals and Conservatives are roughly even, the Grits would win most of the extra Ontario seats. Finally, it may marginally help the Liberals win a majority as well, though that's not a very relevant consideration for the foreseeable future…

    2. This proposal will result in a large one-time increase in the number of seats. However, it does not accelerate the growth of the House in subsequent redistributions, unlike previous Tory proposals. Thus, we will run into the same imbalances in 2 or 3 decades.

    3. The government's calculations are based on demographic projections made from July 2005 population estimates (latest projections made by Statistics Canada). However, using January 2010 estimates, it's easy to see that Ontario will get fewer seats than advertised, and Alberta will get more.

    Shameless plug: I discuss the above issues and more, as well as provide my estimates, in this blog post: http://cdnelectionwatch.blogspot.com/2010/04/harp

  8. Dumping on Quebec seems like a popular activity on English Canadian news comment sections. As a federalist Quebecer, I'd like to point out that Quebec is the least overrepresented province (out of the 7 overrepresented ones) in the Commons – it's the only province other than ON, AB and BC to have more than 100,000 people per riding.

    The new law would make Quebec underrepresented (though a bit less so than ON, AB and BC), while allowing all 6 other provinces to remain overrepresented. I can't say that I agree with that, given that Parliament recognized Quebec as a nation. I think a good compromise would be to give Quebec seats in proportion to its share of the Canadian population, so that both the ROC as a whole and Quebec are fairly represented. Assuming 75 seats for Quebec, that would lead to a House of about 323 seats after the next redistribution (compared to about 315 under current law and 335 under Bill C-12).

    • Hey Canuck bashers! This person is making a good point. NL, PEI, NS, NB and to a lesser extent MB and SK are over represented in the current setup. And what is prososed will not change that!

    • the stats say Quebec is going to continue to decline and Ontario, Alberta and BC will continue to grow …so really if we factor in the future we should give even more seats to Ontario, Alberta and BC since it takes forever to get new seats ..even this new announcement will take 4 years to implement .. the fact that they said quebec is a nation doesn't mean anything, it has no legal implications …every native band is also a nation ..some might argue BC is a nation

      • No, the stats don't say that: projections do. And Quebec is not "declining", as you say. It's just growing more slowly than Canada as a whole, as did Ontario in 2009. In fact, Ontario's population grew at a slower rate than Quebec's in the second half of the year! Do you think Statistics Canada would have predicted this, even 2 years ago?

        Can you be certain that Ontario will be growing faster than Quebec again, considering the former's big struggling manufacturing base and the latter's recent increase in birth rate? If so, by how much? 1.5% a year like it used to be? 0.5% instead?

        Making the functioning of our democracy depend on notoriously inaccurate demographic models is kind of like making the functioning of our economy depend on notoriously inaccurate financial models. We all saw how well that went.

        It's true that the recognition of Quebec as a nation has no legal implications, but that doesn't mean it has no meaning whatsoever. The question is not "Does Quebec HAVE TO be represented according to its population?": the answer is well known, and it's 'no'. The question is "SHOULD Quebec be represented according to its population?" Reasonable people can disagree, but I think that the recognition of Quebec as a nation strengthens the case to answer the latter question in the affirmative. Note that the First Nations tend to be overrepresented by living in a greater proportion in rural districts and in the territories, which have fewer people per riding. Some countries forbid underrepresentation of minorities (e.g. USA), and others explicitly give them overrepresentation (e.g. Taiwan with Aboriginals). Canada would be quite unique by deliberately making a recognized minority nation underrepresented. I'd rather not have my country earn that dubious distinction, even to spite separatists.

        "Some" might indeed argue that the inhabitants of any region is a nation – some might also argue that 1+1=3. But Parliament would not recognize that 1+1=3.

        • one might also argue that the West, being the economic leader for the country and being more distinct than the rest of Canada should get more seats than it's population to reflect it's unique nature and important position in Canada…..currently Quebec is overrepresented in the House of Commons, The Senate, The Supreme Court of Canada and Francophones also are statistically overrepresented in the Civil Service ..meanwhile Quebec takes the lion share of equalization payments ((approx 8 billion per year)) ..this kind of unfairness does not work in the long run …having a Prime Minster come from the West will help the West be treated more fairly and end the unfairness that most like resulted from years of Liberal government's that usually had a leader from Quebec

          • So basically you want to argue that the richer a region is, the more seats it deserves? How about giving rich people more votes to "reflect [their] important position in Canada"? Would you like that too?

            Quebec is NOT overrepresented in the Senate. It has 24/105 seats, or 22.9%. Quebec's population is 23.2% of Canada's. Verify your "facts" before stating them (or learn how to do basic math).

            I agree that Quebec is overrepresented on the Supreme Court, and I'd have no problem with eliminating the requirement that 3 of the judges be from Quebec. As for the civil service, could you provide a link to your source? Do you count bilingual people as Francophone?

            Equalization: yes, Quebec gets more than any other province. But it gets less per person than PEI, NS, NB and MB, all of which are also more overrepresented than Quebec in both the House and the Senate.

            Whining begets whining. Maybe the reason why Quebec whines so much (and votes for the Bloc) is because people like you whine so much about it, when from an objective standpoint, you should complain even louder about PEI, NS, NB and MB. Would you be happy about voting for a party whose other supporters' favourite pastime is dumping on your province?

          • i just looked up that stats from stats canada and it says that BC and Alberta together have 24.2% of the population …now if you looked up the stats that show how many senate seats, house of commons seats, government jobs, transfer payments etc go to BC and Alberta compared to Quebec what results would you get ? …you sound like quite an educated person with a grasp of math, so you tell me ….threatening to separate is a good way to extort more than your share but most people i know don't care if quebec stays or goes ..that is up to them..however we do want our country to be fair

        • dear Election Watcher, i think your arguments seem to be based around the fact that you want Quebec to have more power than it's population warrants ..what provinces would agree with this other than Quebec?.. perhaps if Quebec believes in this sort of principle they should do this in their own legislature by adding more seats to non-Francophone areas so that these areas would be better represented in order to preserver their identity

          • PEI NB NS and NL are way more over represented that Quebec in the Senate as well as the House of commons. This means they have more clout that Quebec than their respective populations warrant. You should not fall in the trap thinking this is just a Quebec against the rest of Canada issue. Clearly if took the extra seats from these provinces and distributed them to ON AB and BC a large measure of the imbalance would be resolved. We could also take the extra seats from MB and SK….

          • yes that's true, and same goes for the North

          • Quebec has 23.2% of the population. I'm advocating that Quebec be allocated 23.2% of the seats. How is this wanting "Quebec to have more power than it's [sic] population warrants"?

            Bill C-12 would lead to Quebec having 22.2% of the seats (per the government's estimate; 22.4% per mine). You are advocating that Quebec be allotted an even smaller fraction.

            My arguments are based around making Quebec have exactly as much power as its population warrants. Your arguments are based around denying Quebec a weight in the House that is commensurate to its population.

          • there seems to be a consensus that we can never take seats away from the East Coast and the North …therefore who has to chip in so that they get extra? perhaps Quebec has to as well and therefore they wouldn't get 23.2% ..for the longest time Ontario BC and Alberta have been particularly short changed ….anyhow ..this law is GUARANTEED to pass…how could the Liberals or the NDP oppose it? impossible … so in the election after this we will see somewhat fairer representation

          • I'm sympathetic to this argument (unlike many of your other ones), which I believe is the rationale behind the law. I still don't agree with it, because I don't view Quebec as "just another province" like ON, BC and AB. But obviously we aren't going to settle this debate, which boils down to the fundamental question asked since Confederation:

            Was Canada created by a union of two people, the British and the French, or by a union of four provinces, ON, QC, NB and NS?

            Most Quebecers believe the former, while most people outside Quebec, and especially out West, believe the latter. That's just not going to change.

            This situation is like having a class with 10 kids. Throughout the years, teachers have made the 3 tallest kids chip in to buy the 7 shortest ones candy so that they feel better. But the price of candies has been going up, so the 3 tall kids complain. The new teacher, who likes the 2nd and 3rd tallest kids but dislikes the 4th, now proposes to lighten and spread the burden, making the 4 tallest kids buy the 6 shortest ones candy. If you're the parent of kid 2 or 3, you think the new system is great, and dismiss that the teacher is showing favouritism. If you're the parent of kid 4, you're understandably mad at the teacher…

          • here is your answer ..here is how the British North America Act of 1867 which created Canada begins:

            An Act for the Union of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, and the Government thereof; and for Purposes connected therewith.

            (29th March, 1867.)

            WHEREAS the Provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have expressed their Desire to be federally united into One Dominion under the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, with a Constitution similar in Principle to that of the United Kingdom:

            And whereas such a Union would conduce to the Welfare of the Provinces and promote the Interests of the British Empire:

            And whereas on the Establishment of the Union by the Authority of Parliament it is expedient, not only that the Constitution of the Legislative Authority in the Dominion be provided for, but also that the Nature of the Executive Government therein be declared:

            And whereas it is expedient that Provision be made for the eventual Admission into the Union of other Parts of British North America:

  9. NO, NO, NO! Do not try to fix the problem by increasing the number of MP's. Do it by readjusting what there is now and decrease the size of the Senate as well. How ridiculous at this time of huge deficit, to add to the burden of cost to run the country. We want less government not more! I wish the political parties would stop playing these costly games in order for them to keep/regain their power. Selfish Bas****s! When will they really start caring about the Canadian citizens instead of themselves?

  10. Good news surely. But why does Maclean's find it necessary to put a snotty headline? Oh, I know, to sustain the noble traditions of an undergraduate publication.

      • As I said, undergraduate.

      • some songs could use MORE cowbell ..like Don't Fear the Reaper

  11. LIberals wake up, we are in danger of being overrun.

      • I think they do,,,they were the same ones that tried to pull a scam guaranteeing Quebec 25% of the House of Commons seats in the Charlottown Accord that the voters rejected

  12. if boring egotistic public servant slaves and inventive ridden politics is canadas revenge to the united states of america….this country is dead last gawd

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