It seems that the MPs we send to the House of Commons believe that some parts of the country deserve to have a greater say in running the country.
Faced with a proposal to make the system a bit fairer when it comes to allocating the number of MPs per province, the majority said Quebec should have more say than Ontario, Alberta or British Columbia.
Last week, the Commons voted in favour of a Bloc Quebecois motion which rejected the proposal that Quebec lose a single seat in the House when Elections Canada redistributes seats based on population. The motion also said that any proposal that would “reduce Quebec’s political weight in the House of Commons” be rejected.
It also called for the formula for distributing seats based on population be amended to protect Quebec.
This motion, which says some provinces are more equal than others, passed 261 in favour and 66 against. The only opposition came from 65 Conservative MPs who voted against the motion along with a single Liberal from Ontario, John McKay.
Every other Liberal, New Democrat, Green and, of course, Bloc member voted for this.
The impetus for the Bloc motion was a proposal from Elections Canada that would see Quebec drop from 78 seats to 77 seats. The proposal would also see Ontario and British Columbia get one extra seat each and Alberta be granted three more seats, but all three provinces would still be underrepresented based on population.
If these provinces were granted the same representation as Quebec based on population, then Ontario would get 134 seats instead of the current 121, British Columbia would have 47 rather than the current 42, and Alberta would have 40 instead of the current 34.
That kind of arrangement was deemed unacceptable to Quebec and to MPs across the country regardless of party affiliation. If you live outside of Quebec and your MP voted for this motion, then you should ask them why voters in Quebec deserve a greater representation than others.
We’ve been muddying our electoral system for a long time now.
There’s the “Senatorial clause,” which guarantees that no province will have fewer MPs than Senators — hello Prince Edward Island. There’s also the “Grandfather clause,” which grants extra seats to Quebec, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Finally, there’s the “Representation rule,” which only benefits Quebec at this point and says that if a province was overrepresented at the last redistribution, they will continue to be overrepresented.
If Quebec were held to the same rules as Ontario, the province would have 71 seats at best rather than the current 78 or the proposed 77. What is shocking is that 103 MPs from Ontario, mostly Liberal but also New Democrats and some Conservatives, voted in favour of this unfairness.
Who votes against their own people?
Some 48 MPs from Western provinces voted in favour of this perversion of democracy including 33 MPs from B.C., 10 from Manitoba, four from Alberta, and one from Saskatchewan.
You can’t even find a coherent reason for voting for the move among Conservative MPs. Current party leader Candice Bergen, a Manitoba MP, voted in favour as did former leader Erin O’Toole of Ontario.
Beyond that, there were supporters of leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre voting for and against the motion, though Poilievre himself was absent. There were so-cons voting for and others, the so-called Red Tories like Michael Chong, voting against the motion.
This shouldn’t be a left vs right thing between parties, nor should it be a fight within parties between different factions. This should be a question of right vs wrong.
Granting such special privileges to Quebec is effectively telling voters in the rest of the country that they don’t matter as much. If MPs in provinces outside of Quebec feel that way, then they should clearly say so to voters in the next election.