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Six more seats


 

The NDP is standing by its demand that Quebec receive 24.35% of seats in the House of Commons.

The Harper government’s legislation gives Quebec 78 of 338 seats, or 23.1%. To get to the NDP’s preferred percentage, another six seats would have to be added to Quebec’s total. That would get the province 84 of 344 seats, or 24.41%.


 

Six more seats

  1. Don’t hold your breath, lol!!!

  2. Seriously???

    The NDP is really going to argue that the big problem with legislation that leaves Ontario, Alberta and B.C. all still underrepresented in the House, and Quebec pretty much PERFECTLY represented in the House, is that Quebec isn’t over-represented?!?!?  That’s some Bloquiste level chutzpah right there!

    I never liked the whole “Nation” resolution, but I’m quite certain that it in no way obliges the federal government to ensure that the people of Quebec receive more representation in the House of Commons than their share of the population warrants.  I also think that the seeming assumption that the people of Quebec would EXPECT to be over-represented in the House of Commons is an insult to the people of Quebec.  This will go over like a lead balloon in the rest of Canada, but frankly, I can’t even see it being popular in Quebec.  I imagine that most Quebeckers would be embarrassed by this argument.

    Also, what’s next?  A demand that we establish that a sovereignty referendum result of 49% be enough to break up the country?

    ETA: Here‘s a good breakdown of the implications of the Tory proposal, with helpful graphics.

    • Graphics don’t seem that helpful, actually. Though the numbers certainly are.

      Personally, I’d like to see a graphic where each province in the country is shown x% larger or smaller than it is in reality, with that % being how much they’re over or under represented  in Parliament as a comparison to their percentage of population.

      Any statisticians/graphic artists out there with the capability to do that?

    • Quebec simply aspires to be treated like PEI.  

      • I should add that I’m not thrilled with the PEI thing exactly either, but I think Canadians are generally more understanding of the small provinces being slightly over-represented, and I also think that most people understand that changing that would require a constitutional amendment, and may not be worth all of that trouble (if you even think it could be done at all!).  I think most people can probably stomach the 6.9% of people in the Atlantic provinces having 10.3% of the seats (9.6% under the Tory plan) given the complexities involved given the fact that none of the east coast provinces is home to more than 2.75% of the population.

        I’d also note that all of the smaller provinces LOSE ground in the Tory plan (appropriately, as they get closer to their actual share of the population) so in that sense Quebec is arguing that they should NOT be treated like PEI.  PEI is going from having 1.31% of the seats, to 1.19% under the Tory plan.  In this plan, Quebec’s percentage of the seats going down actually is “treating them like PEI”.

        Under the Tory plan, every single province gets closer to their actual percentage of the population.  Alberta, B.C. and Ontario go up (though not enough) and all of the other provinces go down (though not enough).  The NDP is arguing that Quebec should be the ONLY province in the country not to have their percentage of seats adjusted to better reflect their percentage of the population.  And worse, they’re arguing that after the passage of the “Nation” resolution, Quebec is actually somehow ENTITLED to this over-representation.

        Maybe I shouldn’t get so worked up (lol) but I find the whole thing infuriating.

  3. Has the NDP basically written off trying to expand its seat holdings everywhere except Quebec?  I can’t imagine moves like and others that specifically pander to Quebec do anything to attract voters from anywhere else.

    Quite honestly, they just seem like the Bloc under a different colour.

    • BQ-Lite.

    • I think sweeping Quebec was a bit of a poisoned chalice.

  4. I wonder if the NDP stays up all night thinking of ways to peeve off British Columbians.

    • And Albertans, and Ontarians, and…

  5. Further evidence, as if any more was needed, that the NDP is essentially Bloc-Lite.  The biggest difference is that when the Bloc Québécois formed Official Opposition in 1993, they were considerably more competent than the NDP is today.

    I’m curious how NDP voters in BC, Ontario and Alberta will respond to this outrageous attempt to further disenfranchise them.

    • They probably won’t. I don’t assume they’re generally paying any more attention than CPC or Liberal voters.

      • True.  Sad, but true.

        • As a Harper supporter, you should be delighted Canadians aren’t paying attention to government.

    • Don’t blow this out of proportion, CR, there’s nothing ‘outrageous’ about representing your constituency. That’s about the only thing this proves, that the NDP will not disenfranchise the people who voted them in. Taking it as far as saying they are a new form of Bloc Québécois is just deliberate mischaracterization, a bad one at that since they sit on opposite ends of the political spectrum.

      • the NDP will not disenfranchise the people who voted them in

        Of course they will.  The NDP won seats in BC, Ontario, and Alberta, and they want to disenfranchise voters from these provinces.

        Meanwhile, Quebec was treated extremely fairly in terms of rep by pop, with three new seats giving them representation exactly equal to their share of the population.  But that isn’t good enough for the NDP… they think Quebec should have more seats than their population warrants, which means further screwing over voters in ON/AB/BC.  It’s shameful, nauseating pandering to Quebec.

        Finally, where did you get the idea that the Bloc and the NDP are on opposite ends of the spectrum?  They’re both left of centre.

        • The party that wants to nationalize Québec, that wants to break up the central federal power, that wants more regional control, is left of center? Whatever.

          The NDP won 59 seats out of 75 in Québec where it had only one seat before, 22 seats out of 106 in Ontario where it had 17 seats before, and 12 seats out of 36 in BC where it only had 9. Where do you think the NDP has more to lose?

          Finally, they’re not asking for an increase in seats, they’re asking to maintain the status quo. I’ll grant you that 23.1% is fair, but Québec currently has 24.4% of seats. The NDP wouldn’t be doing Québec any service by voting to reduce its share in the House of Comons, and since we’ve already established that Québec is where the NDP has most to lose, there’s no sense for them supporting the Conservative Legislation on this issue, whether or not Ontario and BC will have as much of aneurysm as you do over this small issue.

          • The party that wants to nationalize Québec, that wants to break up the central federal power, that wants more regional control, is left of center? Whatever.

            Um, yeah, they are.  None of the things you just mentioned is in any way inconsistent with being left of centre.

            I know the NDP has the most to lose in Québec.  That doesn’t excuse them from disgracefully sacrificing basic democratic principles so they can pander to the province where they have the most at stake.

            The NDP, in so doing,  has squandered any moral high ground they’ve ever pretended to have in terms of democratic reform.  They’re behaving like grubby, pork-barreling nineteenth-century politicians who were more interested in gerrymandering ridings, and manipulating inequality to their advantage, than in basic standards of democratic fairness.

            Quebec is moving from unfair overrepresentation to fair and equal representation.  Democratic inequalities are being redressed. Quebecers should be celebrating this move to fairness, and not whining about it like spoiled, overprivileged children who just had their lolly taken away.

            Shame on the NDP for saying that the vote of a Quebecer deserves to count more than the vote of an Ontarian or a British Columbian or an Albertan.  It’s disgusting conduct from a party that  strives to be in government, representing all Canadians.

          • None of the things you just mentioned is in any way inconsistent with being left of centre. WHAT!?! 
            NationalizationDecentralisationSecession, you want to tell me these are left of center concepts to you?

          • @google-7764e89375197a56fc2c368410de3204:disqus 

            The Bloc is widely recognized by almost everyone as a left-of-centre party.

            “Nationalization” is definitely a left-of-centre concept. If you don’t believe me, look it up.

            The Bloc favours “decentralization” not on ideological grounds, but because it gives more autonomy to Quebec, and thus furthers their sovereignty project.

            “Secession” cannot be placed in the political spectrum.   Separatist parties can be left-wing, centrist, or right-wing.  The desire to separate from another country is not correlated to any particular political ideology.

            In matters of fiscal and social policy, the Bloc is decidedly left-of-centre in almost every respect.  I rest my case.

          • “That doesn’t excuse them from disgracefully sacrificing basic democratic principles so they can pander to the province where they have the most at stake.”

            So the current government is sacrificing, disgracefully, basic democratic principles by continuing to have six provinces, i.e., the majority of them, and three territories, have representation in the HoC that exceeds the percentage of the population in the federation.

          • @LoraineLamontagne:disqus 

            So the current government is sacrificing, disgracefully, basic democratic principles by continuing to have six provinces, i.e., the majority of them, and three territories, have representation in the HoC that exceeds the percentage of the population in the federation.

            Loraine, to paraphrase an argument that President Obama has been making lately about his Republican counterparts, don’t compare the Tory plan to perfection, compare it to the alternative.

            Does the Tory plan fix everything wrt representation by population?  Of course not.  And we all know that that can’t be done without dramatically increasing the size of the House of Commons or amending the constitution.  What the Tory plan DOES do is move every single province’s percentage of seats in the House of Commons closer to their percentage of the population.  Every single one.  Meanwhile, the NDP is arguing that Quebec’s over-representation (and ONLY Quebec’s over-representation) should be protected, and what’s worse, their reasoning seems to be that the people of Quebec are somehow ENTITLED to their over-representation.

            I’m sorry, but in the battle between the plan that makes the situation marginally more democratic for everyone, versus the plan that entrenches the undemocratic advantage of one province, and only one province (and what’s worse, is premised on the notion that said province actually SHOULD be over-represented) I’ll take the plan that moves us slowly in the right direction over the plan that moves us slowly in the wrong direction any day of the week.

          • @Lord_Kitcheners_Own:disqus 

            Why can’t every province be over-represented?  Oh….right.

            I just don’t understand why people are grand-gesturing over this. I don’t remember misrepresentation being such an issue. And the assumptions being drawn, just to demonize the NDP, over 1.3% of the seats!

          • @google-7764e89375197a56fc2c368410de3204:disqus 

            I just don’t understand why people are grand-gesturing over this. I don’t remember misrepresentation being such an issue. And the assumptions being drawn, just to demonize the NDP, over 1.3% of the seats!

            I don’t recall a party ever before insisting that protecting a province’s over-representation should be a priority over making the system more representative.  Nor do I recall a party ever arguing that the people of Quebec are ENTITLED to be over-represented.  It’s one thing to accept that the over-representation of certain provinces is a by-product of our constitutional system that we have just  to live with, and that can only be improved at the margins. It’s another thing all together to argue that the over-representation of Quebec should be preserved at the expense of other provinces, and furthermore, that because they are Quebecois said over-representation is not actually an unfortunate side effect, but a feature to be protected.

            In other words, memo to the NDP:  The over-representation of Quebec in the House of Commons is a bug, not a feature.

          • This is equivalent to Harper creating a Quebec hydro tax to subsidize the Alberta oil industry. It is grossly unfair to one region to pander to another.

      • the NDP will not disenfranchise the people who voted them in

        Who’s trying to disenfranchise Quebeckers!?!?!?

        The Tory plan is for the people of Quebec to be slightly OVER represented in Parliament.  How exactly is refusing to over-represent them EVEN MORE anything even REMOTELY close to “disenfranchising” them!?!?!?

        Honestly, who’s blowing things out of proportion?

        • Just to be clear, I’m not agreeing with the NDP’s position, I’m just applying a little Critical Reasoning to show that from their perspective their demands makes sense, and it doesn’t warrants this witch hunt language. Comparing the NDP to the Bloc? Come on, we’re talking about 1.3% here.

          I’m also not saying anyone is trying to disenfranchise Quebeckers. But if you’d put all the NDP in one room to vote on whether they should propose to maintain the status quo for Quebec’s proportion of seats, by a count of 59 to 44, the answer would be yes. Why on earth would the NDP go against their own majority?

          But most importantly, like Thwim said above, most voters won’t notice a thing.

          • And by ‘make sense’, you mean in terms of realpolitik. These are all morally bankrupt arguments.

          • To be fair, I’m not entirely convinced the argument makes sense in terms of realpolitik either.  

            There seems to be some suggestion that no one’s going to care that a supposedly federalist party is arguing that we must ensure that Quebec remains over-represented in our federal legislature, and that there is some sort of obligation on the part of the federal government to ensure that Quebeckers have greater power in the House of Commons than their share of the population warrants.  Even if we’re only talking about three extra seats, I think the NDP is grossly underestimating the reaction in the ROC to a policy that is patently unfair, and is naked pandering to Quebec.  I really don’t think the argument: “But, it’s just a little undemocratic” is going to fly.  This will chafe against Canadians’ inherent sense of fairness.

          • Come on, we’re talking about 1.3% here.

            Really? I thought we were talking about an important recognition of the meaning of the “nation” resolution.

            Also, from my point of view, when we’re talking about taking a province that is already over-represented in the House of Commons, and making them EVEN MORE over-represented, every tiny bit is a problem. Quebec already arguably has more per-capita political influence than any other province in the nation. If the NDP still doesn’t think that’s enough, I say tough.

            Finally, if you’re not saying that anyone is trying to disenfranchise Quebeckers, then you probably shouldn’t frame your defence of the NDP with the words “the NDP will not disenfranchise the people who voted them in”. That certainly implies that something is happening, or about to happen, that will disenfranchise the people who voted the NDP in, which is a ludicrous argument to make.

          • While I agree with the rest of your argument I think PEI steals the per-capita cake

          • @Batman Bacon

            Fair enough, but I think most people accept that that is a constitutional issue that’s darn near impossible to change, and also that most people accept that dealing with a province that only has less than half of a percent of the country’s population is going to probably necessitate some unavoidable over-representation.

            I’d also point out, as I did elsewhere, that PEI does actually lose ground under the Tory plan, and gets closer to their actual percentage of the population.  The NDP is essentially arguing that Quebec should be the ONLY province to hold their ground, as opposed to the Tory plan that has every province getting closer to their actual percentage of the population than they are today.  Worse, the NDP are essentially arguing that somehow Quebeckers are ENTITLED to this over-representation.

          •  “and making them EVEN MORE over-represented”
            Actually they would lose .5% under the NDP plan, instead of 1.8%.

            I’m also not going to hold my breath on the ROC backlash against the NDP.

          • Well, even more over-represented than they would be under the Tory plan, but point taken, and thanks for the correction.

            You’re also probably right about the backlash, though the apathy of a populace is no reason to do something they really shouldn’t let you get away with, and the NDP benefit from the fact that their odious plan has no chance of being implemented.  Which, when you think about it, has been a fact that the NDP has benefited from pretty much forever federally.  There’s not much risk of a terrible backlash against the occasionally asinine, and now occasionally undemocratic suggestions that the NDP comes up with from time to time, because everyone realizes there’s no real risk of them ever being implemented.

    • …outrageous attempt to further disenfranchise them.

      Tongue in cheek, I hope?

      • Yeah, but you get my drift :)

        • I do now.

          • Are you sure you do?

          • Hmmm, well, a little less sure now…   :-)

      • I don’t know.  I kinda think it IS outrageous.  

        Sure, the practical effects aren’t all that “shocking”, but I think the implication is pretty indefensible.  

        I’m not convinced that this move is made much less “outrageous” by the argument that the NDP only want the House of Commons to be a little less democratic.  Less democratic is still less democratic, whether Quebec gets 3 more undeserved seats or 100.  The principle is still the same, imho.  Also, it seems to me that it’s not just that the NDP wants Quebec to be over-represented in the H of C (by which I mean, even more over-represented than they’re already over-represented under the Tory plan)  but the NDP wants to establish a precedent that the people of Quebec are somehow ENTITLED to be over-represented in the House of Commons. To me, that’s a pretty outrageous notion.

        I’m not going to grab a pitchfork and a torch or anything, but I think you can put me in the “outraged” camp.

        • Hear, hear.  I’m in the “outraged” camp, too.  It’s the word “disenfranchise” that I thought was slightly hyperbolic.

          It really is outrageous to suggest that the votes of some Canadians deserve to count for more than the votes of other Canadians.  

          We’re stuck with structural rep. by pop. imbalances because of historical factors like constitutional guarantees to smaller provinces, but it’s ridiculous in this day and age for a federal party to suggest that Quebecers are ENTITLED to be overrepresented, as you said.

        • Hmmm, where to go with this thread…:-)

          I’m they guy who said that the CPC plan to add 3 Quebec seats is “one step back” after adding ON, AB, & BC seats, which is “two steps forward” – I’m against giving Quebec the 3 seats and against the NDP suggestion as well.  Equal opportunity opposition, so to speak.  I’m just mildly annoyed rather than outraged.

          I was giving CR a gentle poke in the ribs because he seemed to be trying to “stir the pot” with his hyperbolic word choice.

          Wrt disenfranchised voters, I will again make the suggestion that I, as an Albertan voter who sometimes votes non-CPC, feel WAY more disenfranchised by the FPTP voting system than I feel about the CPC plan to give Quebec the 3 seats or even the NDP plan to give Quebec an additional 6(?) seats, a LOT more disenfranchised, in fact..

          • To me, the absolute most objectionable thing about the NDP plan is the rationale.  IMHO, it’s arguably even worse than FPTP, and I HATE FPTP.

            The NDP argument is apparently that, post-“Quebecois Nation” resolution, Quebec is actually ENTITLED to their over-representation.  In other words, that in the case of Quebec, and only Quebec, their over-representation is not a bug to be tweaked, but a feature to be preserved.  They’re not even arguing that it’s a pragmatic sop to the separatist sentiment, or a realpolitik means of taking the wind from under the sails of separatists.  They seem to be suggesting that the over-representation of Quebec is simply an objective good, and something to be protected, and I can’t stand that notion.  Especially not if it’s coming from a nominally “federalist” party…

          • Can’t really disagree with any of that…

            It’s too bad we don’t have a second chamber, one where we could try to create regional balance, which would then leave the first chamber to be a true rep by pop chamber. ;-)

          • Someone should tell the NDP about that second chamber idea.  That’s BRILLIANT.  Maybe they could campaign on it in the next election.  ;-)

            With a second chamber, they could do all sorts of weird stuff.  If they wanted, they could give Quebec twice as many seats as Alberta and B.C. COMBINED even though Alberta and B.C. combined have a larger population than Quebec.

          • I blame it on Canada’s founding fathers…

          • Oh yeah, the NDP are abolitionists, aren’t they? I’d forgotten about that…..that is funny! :-)

  6. So the NDP is opposed to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as the right to a reasonably equal vote.

    The NDP position would fail a charter challenge, as it leaves visible minorities, a constitutionally protected group under the equality provisions of the charter, with a significantly diminished vote.
    I wish the “Court” Party would go after all the over represented provinces on this point, and see whether the equality provisions of the Charter override the guaranteed seats for the smaller provinces.

    • Absolutely.  The NDP is essentially trying to disenfranchise immigrants, because the ridings with the highest populations tend to be fast-growing urban ridings with a high concentration of immigrants.

      As a generalization, it seems like new Canadians are more likely to vote Conservative or Liberal than NDP. I suspect that this is partly because many immigrants come from countries where experiments with socialism had disastrous results.

  7. It will be interesting when the delegates from Ontario and BC ask the candidates on their stand on representation by population.

    The New Democratic Party must surely believe that Rep. by Pop. is a basic principle of Democracy.

    Maybe the New Democrats should change their name.

    • They really should change their name, because they’re sure as hell not “democrats”.  Perhaps “Reformed Socialists”?  “Quebec Unionists”?  How about the “Pandering Party”, since they’ll shamelessly pander to any group that votes for them in sufficient numbers, to the detriment of the nation as a whole?

      • they’ll shamelessly pander to any group that votes for them in sufficient numbers, to the detriment of the nation as a whole

        To be fair though, which party does that NOT describe???

        • All parties pander to some extent, but the NDP is unique in that they’re willing to sacrifice the democratic principle of “rep by pop” in order to appease the province that voted for them in the largest numbers.

          The Conservatives won most of their seats in ON/AB/BC, yet the governing party still gave Quebec three extra seats to ensure that Quebecers had zero cause for complaint (at the expense of voters in the governing party’s ON/AB/BC base).

          The government offers scrupulously fair treatment to Quebec, at the expense of the provinces that voted for the government in the largest numbers.  The NDP rejects this scrupulously fair treatment, because they feel that the province that voted NDP in the largest numbers deserves special consideration.

          • I used to think of dippers as  ” Liberals in a hurry ”  or Liberals with principles “.
            I`m not so sure anymore.
            Maybe a merger is not so unrealistic.

          • Given the sheer gut-wrenching incompetence we’ve seen so far from the NDP in Official Opposition, I wouldn’t be surprised if a Lib/NDP merger becomes the most attractive option for both parties. Each party has important qualities that the other party lacks.  

            The NDP has more popular appeal, more fundraising prowess and more committed supporters, while the Liberals have more pragmatism, as well as actual experience in government.

          • @Crit_Reasoning:disqus 

            Given the sheer gut-wrenching incompetence we’ve seen so far from the NDP in Official Opposition, I wouldn’t be surprised if a Lib/NDP merger becomes the most attractive option for both parties. 

            I don’t know about that.  Certainly the incompetence makes one question the ability of the NDP to go it alone, but the other side of that coin is that you’re then asking the Liberals to merge with a bunch of incompetents.  I get your point about merging the NDP populism with the Liberal pragmatism and experience, but I’d bet that more than a few Liberals would argue that a few more months of the NDP as the Official Opposition might take care of that populism problem for them.

          • Crit_Reasoning:

            Interestingly enough it turns out that the NDP are actually worse than the Liberals at fundraising. As it stands now the Liberals have raised 7.6 million vs the NDP’s 5.9 million this year. Maybe this will change over time, but right now the Liberals are still raising more money despite switching places with the NDP.

  8. Go soak you head.   We don’t need anymore Communists telling us what to do.
    Mr. Harper won the election……remember!!

  9. The NDP, however, wants Quebec’s representation to be set at 24.35 per cent of total Commons seats – which was the percentage it held in 2006

    Wouldn’t that defeat the purpose of the new legislation, if we set the % of seats at the same level as in 2006? Why introduce the legislation at all if we just abide by the 2006 figures?

    Mr. Christopherson, however, said he remains “optimistic” and “open-minded” the bill can be changed in committee.

    It’s my understanding that the Tories hold a majority in committees. If that’s the case, what hope does the NDP have that it’ll change in committee, assuming the Tories are committed to the new legislation?

    • If that’s the case, what hope does the NDP have that it’ll change in committee, assuming the Tories are committed to the new legislation?

      Plus, what about the Liberals???  Are the NDP just assuming that the Liberals, having watched the NDP jump off of this particular cliff, will decide “Hey, that looks like a good idea” and jump too???  ‘Cause I think the Liberals are more likely to support the Tories on this than the NDP.

    • Why introduce the legislation at all if we just abide by the 2006 figures?

      Perhaps a compromise could be worked out?  

      We let Quebec keep their representation in the House at 2006 levels, but all Quebeckers must relinquish their iPhones and iPads, go back to using WIndows Vista, and basically live without any technological, cultural or social innovations made since 2006.

  10. Screw Quebec.

    • But only if Quebec says yes first, otherwise it’s rape.

  11. Until we have a fair system where there is one seat per every 100,000 voters or portion thereof in a province, I will not quibble for a moment over 1% or so, esp. when Harper would do the same if he thought he could get those seats.

    • I’m not convinced that Harper would do the same thing.  

      That aside, if 1% isn’t worth quibbling over, why don’t the NDP just drop it then?  If this plan is no big deal because it only makes things a little less democratic, why not stick with the Tory plan which is a little more democratic???

      • Mostly because I have a bit of deference for Canada as four regions model, even though I realize that it can’t be totally implemented in all areas.

        • Isn’t representing the regional diversity of Canada supposed to be what the SENATE is for?

          I can be persuaded to get behind some “four regions” model of Canada maybe, but not at the expense of the principles of representative democracy.  Canada being democratic trumps Canada being regionally diverse in my book, every single time.

  12. The NDP has apparently decided not to take this travesty sitting down, so they’re laying siège to the House of Commons.

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