Opinion

Editorial — A better seat redistribution plan

The federal Liberals have come up with a much better way to deal with the inequality of various regions of Canada in the House of Commons.

Rather than expand the Commons by 30 seats,

The federal Liberals have come up with a much better way to deal with the inequality of various regions of Canada in the House of Commons.

Rather than expand the Commons by 30 seats, the Liberals suggest continuing with the current 308 seats, but taking seats away from Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

Nine seats would then go to the three fast-growing provinces of Ontario, B.C. and Alberta, and the overall representation from most provinces would be closer to true reprentation by population.

The Conservative government wants to add 30 Commons seats, stating that past court rulings and other constitutional requirements prevent anything but an expansion of the House of Commons.

But how many MPs do we need in Canada? The current number of 308 is more than adequate. The only issue that needs resolving is ensuring that voters in some provinces are more fairly represented than they are now.

At a time of economic challenges, it seems the height of folly to add another 30 MPs to the House of Commons. There is simply no need for them. In addition to the annual cost of as much as $18 million, taxpayers would also be on the hook for their benefits, including a lucrative pension scheme.

The Liberals deserve credit for the bravery of stating that Quebec can lose seats. Considering that the two MPs to speak about this issue for the Liberals, Marc Garneau and Stephane Dion, are both Quebec MPs, this is quite remarkable.

This seat redistribution plan has been in the works for years, and the Conservatives have come up with a variety of schemes. The latest calls for 15 more seats in Ontario, six each in Alberta and B.C. and three more in Quebec.

The NDP, meanwhile, want Quebec to be guaranteed a fixed percentage of Commons seats, even if its population goes down proportionally.

The Liberals have come up with something infinitely better. It places more MPs in growing regions, and ensures voters are more fairly represented.

It is worth examining in more detail.

Nine seats would then go to the three fast-growing provinces of Ontario, B.C. and Alberta, and the overall representation from most provinces would be closer to true reprentation by population.

The Conservative government wants to add 30 Commons seats, stating that past court rulings and other constitutional requirements prevent anything but an expansion of the House of Commons.

But how many MPs do we need in Canada? The current number of 308 is more than adequate. The only issue that needs resolving is ensuring that voters in some provinces are more fairly represented than they are now.

At a time of economic challenges, it seems the height of folly to add another 30 MPs to the House of Commons. There is simply no need for them. In addition to the annual cost of as much as $18 million, taxpayers would also be on the hook for their benefits, including a lucrative pension scheme.

The Liberals deserve credit for the bravery of stating that Quebec can lose seats. Considering that the two MPs to speak about this issue for the Liberals, Marc Garneau and Stephane Dion, are both Quebec MPs, this is quite remarkable.

This seat redistribution plan has been in the works for years, and the Conservatives have come up with a variety of schemes. The latest calls for 15 more seats in Ontario, six each in Alberta and B.C. and three more in Quebec.

The NDP, meanwhile, want Quebec to be guaranteed a fixed percentage of Commons seats, even if its population goes down proportionally.

The Liberals have come up with something infinitely better. It places more MPs in growing regions, and ensures voters are more fairly represented.

It is worth examining in more detail.

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