Parliament just got bigger

MPs vote to add 30 seats to reflect changing demographics


Members of Parliament voted to expand the House of Commons by 30 seats on Tuesday evening. After the next election, there will be 338 MPs in Ottawa, a total that will cost Canadian taxpayers an additional $14.8 million. The bill, dubbed the Fair Representation Act, will give British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec additional ridings in the next federal election. “The legislation is fair for all provinces and it moves every single Canadian closer to representation by population,” Tim Uppal, the Conservative minister of state for democratic reform, was quoted as saying in the National Post. The legislation passed through the House of Commons by a vote of 154 to 131 and will next be seen in the Senate, where it is expected to be approved by a Conservative majority. The Liberals have argued that fair representation should be sought without adding new seats to the House of Commons, but the Conservatives rejected that proposal. The New Democrats opposed both the Liberal and Conservative plans. The redrawing of electoral boundaries is slated to begin in February 2012.

Postmedia News

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Parliament just got bigger

  1. I would have to believe every Canadian that is not blinded by goose-stepping to the party mantra would see the need to downsize government, not expand it. Every one except Sir Harper. There is NO doubt whatsoever that proper and genuine representation by population can easily be obtained by reducing seats equally as well as it can by expanding them. In the end you have to ask yourself, why would he do it? It is fiscally irresponsible, unnecessary for representation and contraindicated economically. Why would he do it?

    • And to do so would run afoul of Constitutional guarantees that several provinces have. Guarantees that they not lose seats. This makes reductions impossible. The only way to redistribute is to add seats. Unless you’re in the mood for some Constitutional talks. 

    • That requires opening the Constitution, and no one wants that trip to the dentist again for at least another 25-30 years. It’s only been 15 since that near-complete debacle.

      • We can thank Mulroney for poisoning that well. 

        • I wouldn’t really put that on Mulroney’s mantle. He just happened to be the last that tried to open it. It’s just the nature of our intergovernmental relations here. 

          Opening up any legislation even constitutionally-adjacent tends to operate like a strong magnet for any and all complaints, issues, budget shortfalls, and just-out-of-reach itches that each and every provincial government, social group, and activist organization seems to have. 

          Considering just how long and how much acrimony there was just coming up with a list of rights that were agreeable to all and how many times we went running to the JCPC in order to clarify what the definition of “is” is, the precedent was long set.

          Until we can discuss constitutional amendment without every issue, complaint, hurt feeling, and unfulfilled birthday wish being tossed into the pool at the same time, I don’t have much faith that it can be done. 

          • Yes, those ‘birthday presents’ can be expensive, witness the cost of a bridge to a province that can’t even generate the taxes to pay to keep it clean and sanded.
            The most recent ‘birthday present’ is a promise fulfilled to the reform party, redraw the federal boundaries for representation in Alberta. Although this one was far less expensive short term than the other one I mentioned, it does set a precedent.
            If the conservatives can ignore law and ‘delete’ the wheat board, why couldn’t they interpret the promise of ‘seats’ to mean proportionate representation and merely adjust provincial representation to reflect population changes?

    • “It is fiscally irresponsible, unnecessary for representation and contraindicated economically.” That is why he did it.

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