A Bloc Québécois motion aimed at preserving Quebec’s political clout in the federal legislature was passed on Wednesday in a vote to which all MNAs were invited.
The bloc members could count on the support of almost all Liberals, almost half of the Conservatives and all New Democrats. A total of 261 MEPs voted in favor of the motion and 63 against.
Under the motion, the House of Commons “opposes any federal electoral map redraw scenario that would result in the loss of one or more Quebec electoral districts or would reduce Quebec’s political weight in the House of Commons” and urges the government to amend the formula to change the distribution of seats in the House of Representatives.
“It’s clearly a win for Quebec,” bloc leader Yves-François Blanchet insisted after the vote, congratulating his political party for “delivering the goods”.
The new constituency proposal put forward by Elections Canada last fall would reduce the number of seats in the House of Commons from 338 to 342 to accommodate changes in Canada’s population.
Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia would see increases in their seats, but Quebec would be the only province to lose a seat in this reallocation. It would be the first time since 1966 that a province lost a seat in the electoral map redraw.
This “freezes Quebec’s national character and condemns it to see its political clout crumble over the decades,” believes the Bloc Québécois.
“There are two possible solutions that Yves-François Blanchet explained earlier in the day. Either Quebec will accept that its political weight be reduced in terms of the number of seats in Parliament, or it will accept immigration thresholds that are consistent with its relationship to Canadian immigration and well above its ability for linguistic integration. It’s as if Canada were saying, ‘Shrink your political clout or Anglicize yourself’. »
Mr Blanchet assured that “it is not a reproach for the Returning Officer” doing his “statistical work”.
“It can’t just be statistics,” he pleaded. There are two founding peoples, two founding nations. You can’t make the language and one of the nations disappear if you want to claim to have two founding nations. »
Conservatives responded to the bloc motion by asking for unanimous approval from the House of Representatives to oppose a ballot redistribution that would result in Quebec or any province losing one or more electoral districts, which was denied.
In an emailed statement, Deputy Conservative leader and lieutenant for Quebec, Luc Berthold, advocated that “no province should lose seats.”
The new electoral map is due to be completed in October 2023 and could come into effect as early as April 2024, possibly after the next election.
The bloc believes the outcome of Wednesday’s vote paves the way for a bill they will introduce that would guarantee a quarter of the seats would go to Quebec.
Quebec currently holds 78 of the 338 seats in the lower house, or 23.1% of the seats. It would therefore take seven more MPs to reach the 25 percent hurdle demanded by the Bloc Québécois.
The population of Quebec accounts for 22.5% of Canada’s population as of July 1, 2021, according to Statistics Canada estimates.
Under the Canadian Constitution, trail rides must be reviewed after a census every 10 years to reflect changes in the population.
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