Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet testified during the public hearing of the Federal Constituency Delimitation Commission. (Photo: The Canadian Press)
The leader of the Bloc Québécois, Yves-François Blanchet, calls on the Commission for the delimitation of the federal constituencies not to eliminate a riding from the Gaspé region, among other things in the name of the necessary preservation of the regions’ weight.
The block leader testified at the commission’s public hearings in Montreal on Tuesday, defending the Avignon-La Métis-Matane-Matapédia horseback riding, which was threatened with extinction due to demographic reasons.
Before the commission, he argued that the sole criterion of statistics should not be sufficient to decide on the survival of a constituency, otherwise we would not need a commission to examine the appropriateness of such decisions.
If we foolishly apply the statistical criterion, we end up in the vicious circle “the fewer people, the less weight, and the less weight, the fewer people,” he argued.
“We need to maintain the weight of Quebec’s nurturing regions, which of course are not only the base of energy production but also of natural resource extraction. They must be recognized for their essential role and their voice must be heard,” he said.
He also invoked the argument of respecting the boundaries of Regional County Municipalities (RCM), institutions represented by elected officials that are as important as institutions in Quebec and Canada.
He also highlighted the criterion of Quebec’s distinctiveness within Canada being recognized as a nation.
“I mischievously suspect that my peers in the House of Commons who voted to recognize the nation of Quebec were hoping that we would go to another call and that this would be a hollow symbol. It won’t arrive. We will keep up the pressure to make it make sense,” he said.
“And that makes sense. This means that not only should Quebec have a minimum number of seats, not by number but by percentage, in order to preserve its weight, but it is also necessary that within the territory of Quebec the number of seats that we could have, with a a certain singularity, because in fact there is a nation with its differences, its identity, its regions, its challenges that thrives on this territory,” he said.
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