Québec’s political clout will be protected in constituency redeployment in Canada. A large majority of federal elected officials positioned themselves on Wednesday in support of a motion demanding that Quebec not lose any ridings.
Updated March 2nd
Of the 324 elected officials who took part in the vote, 261 supported the motion tabled by Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet, which said that “any federal electoral map redesign scenario involving the Losing one or more ridings in Quebec or reducing Quebec’s political weight in the House of Commons would have repercussions [doive] Being rejected “.
All elected Liberals voted in favour, save one, Ontario MP for Scarborough-Guildwood, John McKay. The motion also severely divided the Conservative faction: all Quebec elected members voted in favor, but a large number of MPs from western Canada opposed. The New Democrats present all voted in favour.
“It’s clearly a win for Quebec. It was adopted by a large majority,” Mr Blanchet responded in a press conference shortly afterwards. “It doesn’t end the debate, it opens the discussion,” he nuanced, though, saying he hoped to “move further” on his draft law on the issue, which was presented in early February.
His motion follows a recent proposal by Elections Canada to increase the number of seats in the House of Commons from 338 to 342 by 2024 to accommodate changes in the population. Ontario and British Columbia, which hold 121 and 42 seats respectively, are expected to get 1 more each. Alberta, which has 34 seats, should get 3 more. Quebec should in principle lose one of its 78 seats because its population is growing more slowly.
This new allocation of seats had provoked violent reactions in recent months. The Legault government had stepped up, while Justin Trudeau was content to say it was only a recommendation.
“No province should lose seats. Conservatives will continue to defend the interests of Quebecers and Canadians,” pledged Quebec’s Conservative Vice Chairman and Lieutenant Luc Berthold, who on Wednesday filed a very similar motion on the province’s political weight but failed to get approval.
A “legislation” in sight?
Ahead of Wednesday’s vote, several elected Quebec Liberals had opened the door to overhauling the legal framework. “What is very important is keeping 78 seats for Quebec. And for the rest, with Elections Canada we will see how we can do it legally and if it is done well,” illustrated Argenteuil-La Petite-Nation MP Stéphane Lauzon.
The MNA for Brossard-Saint-Lambert, Alexandra Mendès, also felt that a “realignment” needed to be carried out. “Nor can we keep enlarging the House of Commons. […] All of this will be measured against all proposed legislation,” she said, but for her part vowed to support the bloc motion.
For his part, the minister elected in Saint-Maurice-Champlain, François-Philippe Champagne, judged that Quebec’s political weight was “an important issue for the entire liberal group”. “All the people here want Quebec to have a special place. And we want to continue that vision,” he noted cautiously. “Obviously there are changes in the Canadian population and any democracy must take this into account. But it is also clear that we must be overly sensitive to the French fact and the situation in Quebec,” said Gatineau MP Steven MacKinnon.
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