Fearful Asymmetry - Macleans.ca

Fearful Asymmetry

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In the House last week, the Bloc twice raised the issue of the government’s rumoured bill to increase representation for BC, Alta, and Ont in the House of Commons. The Bloc demanded to know why the Quebec members of cabinet were not doing more to protect Quebec’s power in the House of Commons; in reply, Steven Fletcher said “This government will ensure that the seat count in the House of Commons is protected for Quebec.” He also said, “I think all federalists in this House can stand up and agree to strong representation for Quebec in the House of Commons.”

I wrote Fletcher on Friday as follows:

I was hoping you can clarify that statement. Does it mean merely that Quebec will not lose seats, or does it mean something stronger? Will a proposed Bill include a clause preserving some fixed proportion of seats in the House of Commons for Quebec? Any clarification you could give would be most appreciated.

Here is the reply I received at the end of the day:

Hi Andrew,

I am responding to your media inquiry you sent today.

What the Minister said in the House of Commons is clear. We are committed to carrying through with the commitments we made in our 2008 platform.

Thank you

Jessica
Jessica Georgakopoulos
Issues Management and Communications Assistant,
Office of the Honourable Steven Fletcher

Here’s what the 2008 platform says:

A re-elected Conservative Government led by Stephen Harper will introduce legislation to move closer towards representation by population in the House of Commons for Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta, while protecting the seat counts of other provinces.

A re-elected Conservative Government led by Stephen Harper will introduce legislation to
move closer towards representation by population in the House of Commons for Ontario,
British Columbia and Alberta, while protecting the seat counts of other provinces.A re-elected Conservative Government led by Stephen Harper will introduce legislation to move closer towards representation by population in the House of Commons for Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta, while protecting the seat counts of other provinces.

My column about the issue is here.