The member for Bonaventure, Catherine Blouin, publicly expressed her dissatisfaction and deplored this discrepancy, which she considered unacceptable. The CAQ had initiated a process for a public hearing to be held in its constituency. One of them has already been confirmed in Gaspé and two others in Matane.
A spokesperson for the Commission stated that “the Commissioners have scheduled a hearing in Gaspé, as the boundary changes are taking place mainly in the La Côte-de-Gaspé and Rocher-Percé MRCs.” On October 5, President Jean-François Blanchet responded to Catherine Blouin and her counterpart Maïté Blanchette Vézina, the minister responsible for Gaspésie, that it was unfortunately impossible to grant her request at this stage of the preparations.
However, the Electoral Representation Commission changed its mind a week later, on October 12, “after considering various options [et après] a current development. A hearing will be held in New Richmond on the afternoon of October 26th. “This is a turnaround in the situation that I welcome!” Bonaventura was heard… So this is a first victory! Now, above all, I invite citizens to take part in this consultation,” says Catherine Blouin happily.
Under the electoral law, the map must be revised after two provincial general elections to properly reflect population movements in Quebec. The exercise involves dividing Quebec into 125 constituencies with about 51,000 voters. Bonaventure currently has only 35,898 (-29.2%) while Gaspé is doing even worse with its 30,131 voters (-40.6%).
However, in the last redistribution in 2017, the two constituencies were given exceptional status. The commission at the time took into account “citizens’ sense of belonging to their community and geographical circumstances” but found that this was not an acquired right.
The idea of a Gaspé-Bonaventure merger was ruled out because the resulting constituency would have brought together a number of voters exceeding the maximum threshold provided for in the electoral law. However, according to a preliminary report submitted in September, the region, with its six constituencies of Bas-Saint-Laurent, Gaspésie and Îles-de-la-Madeleine, is currently “in a situation of electoral over-representation”.
Mathematical logic denounced
Elected officials strongly denounce this inexorable mathematical logic, recalling the principle of communities of interest and emphasizing the expansion of territory. If approved, the proposed Gaspé-Bonaventure constituency would stretch from Grande-Vallée to L’Ascension-de-Patapédia, two municipalities 450 kilometers apart.
“As far as I know, Gaspésie does not suffer from political preponderance. “Let’s reapply the emergency status and it is urgent,” Gaspé mayor Daniel Côté recently said in the pages of Le Soleil. I understand the mathematical logic, but there is also a geographical logic. Forcing this on a single MP is crazy. There is also the principle of effective representativeness, recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada. This would apply well in a situation like ours. »
A first public hearing took place on October 10 in Quebec. Gaspé’s takes place on October 24th.
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