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Proposing more MPs for high population growth provinces

2182 Views 27 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Macfury

Within our current framework, the timeline looks disappointingly reasonable, but still a good idea.

This plus the previously proposed idea of, essentially, having two days of voting look like nice small changes to our system.

Not nearly as much would many would want, but is anyone against the changes?

Note: The general problem of having more MPs instead of less may face a basic constraint within our current system (established minimum seats for provinces), so increasing the total to improve riding equality in provinces with higher population growth may be the only "reasonable" approach.
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I think that this is a good idea. Consider the population of Calgary is twice the population of NL and PEI. Both of these provinces have a combined MP total of 11 members (7 for NL with 505,000 people and 4 for PEI with 125,000 people). By this time next year, Calgary will have twice this population. I can't say for sure how many seats federal ridings within the City of Calgary sends to Parliament, but I doubt that it is 22 members.

Thus, if people are to be represented and there is no political will to cut back on the numbers in the house, raising these numbers is the only way to enfranchise people who live in certain provinces.
I'm with Dr. G. on this one.

It would be nice to simply redistribute the current seats so that all ridings had approximately the same population, but I don't think that this is practical. In some cases I believe there are minimum numbers of seats for a province, such as four for PEI - I expect it would be pretty hard to get them to give any of these seats up at this point.
PB, PEI would have to have 1/2 a seat and NL 2 1/2, which is impractical. Thus, more representation is a far better move. Maybe we could get rid of the Senate to make this move affordable? Just a thought.
I'd prefer if they juggle it is to REDUCE MP count to rectify the imbalances.

Rural areas already have a vote weight advantage that could be applied to areas like PEI and NL to address the 1/2 seat issue. It also points out the lack of regional Upper House influence which is designed around addressing the purely popular lower house.

If Australia can be governed by 150 MPs and 76 senators......why do we need the numbers we have?
There's quite enough political oinking at the trough without adding more. :mad:
I'd prefer if they juggle it is to REDUCE MP count to rectify the imbalances.
I would prefer this too, but I don't see how it can be done. None of the provinces will be willing to give up any of their seats.
PB, PEI would have to have 1/2 a seat and NL 2 1/2, which is impractical. Thus, more representation is a far better move. Maybe we could get rid of the Senate to make this move affordable? Just a thought.
Dr.G. :clap: :clap: :clap: best emoticons as we haven't any that emote three cheers.

I am with you on the abolishment the senate.

The four original provinces in Confederation all had senates. After Confederation all of the provinces do not have senates.

The country seems to get along without provincial second sober or other wise thought.

The money spent on the senate and or the election of the senate if reformed as proposed, by the Demo Government of Canada, could be better spent.
I'd prefer if they juggle it is to REDUCE MP count to rectify the imbalances.
The Cons proposing bigger government? Colour me surprised....

Not that I'm against reform.....
The country seems to get along without provincial second sober or other wise thought.
The role of the upper house is to represent the regions of a federation not the populace.

Provinces are not federations.

We ARE a federal system.

We have NO regional based representation.

We do NOT need more MPs we need REGIONAL representation at the federal level.
We do NOT need more MPs we need REGIONAL representation at the federal level.
Sounds suspiciously like an elected senate to me.
Comparison to other countries with 'Westminster' type parliaments:

UK: Population: 61 million, 646 MPs = 1 for every 94 000 people
Canada: 33 million, 282 MPs = 1 for every 117 000 people
Australia: 20 million, 150 MPs = 1 for every 133 000 people
India: 1 095 million, 552 MPs = 1 for every 1.8 million people

I'm not sure what the optimum ratio of people to MPs is but our numbers are fairly similar to the UK and Australia. I don't think moving the numbers up or down a little is a big deal... although if we adopted India's ratio we'd only have 20 MPs. How would we get by? :D

I'm much more concerned by the new fixed election dates... a terrible idea I think and shoved through very quickly.
I don't think numbers are meaningful either - effective combination of popular and regional representation is how ever.

Australia has a total of 226 split 150 MP - 76 regional Senate. for 20 million and get 95% of the people out to vote by making it mandatory and have PR voting.

That would translate to 225 MPs in Canada and 110 regional Senators.
Count me much happier.

I see NO use that the lower house get larger.
Fix the PR issue and the Senate FIRST before ballooning the damn lower house.

If rural Canada has less population ( dropping 8% per year ) then the seats need adjusting accordingly.
There are single ridings bigger than all of PEI.

Making the lower house bigger does not address regional issues adequately.

More seats is just a patch and does nothing for the fundamentally poor structure.
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Hey MacDoc,

Broadly in agreement with you... there are definitely much bigger issues to be addressed. I continue to maintain that the Single Transferable Vote, while not PR, would still be an excellent first step. And that Triple E Senate seem to be a long time in coming.

I'm not convinced that mandatory voting would be a positive move but I'm open to persuasion. Kudos to the French for showing up in such numbers for their election.
I'd settle for those two as well as a step in addressing the structural issues.

There is an opportunity right now with the way Parliament is structured to get BOTH of those on the table.
As ever the problem is MPs and leaders are not really trying for progressive change but rather maneuvering for political gain.

I'd also agree that I'm not 100% on mandatory voting but I suspect it MIGHT engage more if even on the grumbling side and take away some of the onus that "get the vote out" entails..
Right now there is much disengagement and disinterest and a huge degree of mistrust.

I don't see adding more MPs addressing any of those.
Smaller federal gov and more local goals..there have been a few small steps on the latter...little on the former.

It would be an easier task without the US next door to move towards more of a Euro style federation. At least we have an anchor in the Charter which gives us an advantage over Europe.

By and large with the exception of perhaps a bit more balance between municipal and provincial, the provincial structure seems to serve well...tho more oversight with teeth would be welcome......that applies at all levels tho.
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Well, I'm skeptical. We've never had fair distribution in Canada since Confederation so it makes me wonder exactly what's changed to make people want it all of a sudden now.

Ontario has had a few more seats than it's population warranted since confederation, and all the western provinces, as well as until just recently Quebec *, a few missing. I don't see how Mr Harper proposes to redress that imbalance and still get the majority he needs to govern since he needs those Ontario and Quebec seats to do it.

* Quebec has had a few too many since it's population fell below 25% of Canada's during the 80's and all accounts indicate the Liberals and up until now, the PC party were happy with that arrangement over the last two decades. Neither did anything to change it.

I don't see how taking seats from Ontario and Quebec is going to get Mr Harper
elected. I think nothing will come of it, or if anything does come of it, it won't be as equal as these politicians pretends to stand for.

Redistribution happens every ten years in Canada based on census data, but no-one has ever seriously proposed the traditional imbalances be redressed (despite a little lip service to the idea in principle).

There is also the possibility of visiting Senate Reform with "fair redistribution" as the excuse, since there is a guarantee that no province can have fewer seats in the House of Commons than it has in the Senate (think "PEI").

There are also the guarantees of the Representation Act of 1985 which added further guarantees: no province can ever have it's seats reduced below it's 1976 level. There are a number of regions whose number of seats has never really changed (Newfoundland has had 7 since joining Canada in 1949; the Territories have had three since forever).

The net result is that in order to achieve fairness, the only option is to add seats. Since some provinces are significantly over-represented, that means a lot of new seats if you want to take it to it's natural level. Sorry, MacDoc.

Newfoundland's representation to population means roughly a seat for every 73,487 people, which also means adding about a hundred seats so everyone else can have one representative every 74 thousand. We won't even get into PEI (about 1 per 34,000) or Yukon (1 per 31,608) or Nunavut (1 per 29,000).

Throw in the fact that it's those relatively minor imbalances that Ontario uses to justify it's own demand for over-representation, well, I don't see much chance of real change here.

I take it all with a huge grain of salt; everyone wants more democracy except when fairness means the unfair advantage they currently have is taken away. I'm not holing my breath.
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Oh no question it would be a constitutional change needed to reduce gov and rebalance political structure ala Australias system. I doubt any "patchwork" approach would ever succeed.
I would take Senate reform as a start tho.

Right now it has evolved to some "blend" of regional and popular representation neither of which has much "rationale".

The alternative is to devolve power to the regions so that the imbalances are relatively meaningless.
That would actually be a preferred choice for me and that is happening to some degree.

More federal seats would be my LAST choice.
Why add more seats? The short answer is this: because it's the only way to ensure the regions that have the largest populations get adequate representation in Parliament.

Now for the slightly longer answer. Since Confederation, Canada's federal level has had to struggle with having seats distributed disproportionately in favour of the smaller provinces. Witness PEI, which holds four seats. Another factor is the 1974 Representation Act and its subsequent amendment in the mid-1980s. It guaranteed no province would lose seats as a result of redistribution...and for reasons that amount to nothing but pure politics. Quebec was the biggest winner from this, as it was able to continue to have 75 seats, rather than the 68 based on its population size.

So in the absence of any way to reduce seats for those provinces who population is shrinking (Quebec, Newfoundland, New Brunswick) the trend has been to add more seats. But here's an interesting problem. The House of Commons can't hold any more seats. The house it full. Literally. Unless, of course they go to the British style and just have benches.
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More seats is the only option and certainly the most logical fix.
The move needs to be looked at in terms of what is workable with the current political situation and yahoos. The change is better than the status quo (extra voting day also looks good), and this group is not one that I would want to re-open the constitution.

Also, the politics of reducing PEI and NL seats is too contentious and the tradeoffs to make that palatable possibly more damaging long-term. The amending formula could be used to steamroll them, but I don't think that it is worth it for something (+/- 50 MPs) that fundamentally does not matter much except in that it rebalances power towards population.

The cost is relatively low, and it is not the number of MPs (short of drastic cuts) that breeds dumb politics. Does anybody envision streamlined governance and an intellectually stimulating Question Period with 50 fewer MPs? Just 50 fewer backbenchers to pound the tables.

Adding seats where they should be added looks like the best feasible option right now. As for electoral reform, maybe or maybe not, but the MP balance would still need fixing and trying to lump that in with PR would cloud the issue and potentially torpedo it. Same for senate reform.

Also, how is Ontario over-represented?
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Patch patch...


The House can't hold any more seats
fine wonderful :clap: ...too many pensions for 6 years of service we really need more......???

Somewhere I read conservatives wanted LESS government.....oh yeah - this is NeoConworld.

So let's project this more seats is fine out 30 years when Ontario is 50% larger again. Just keep stuffing MPs into the closets????

FIX is good....all parties HAVE to be involved.

The ONE thing the west has harped and harped on pun intended ....EEE Senate and hello..hello....anyone there????

There MUST be regional representation as a balance against pure population to provide a checking force against one or a couple regions being dominate.
More MPs just adds to the problem ...does not address it.

No vision, no courage for change. :mad:

This IS a federation wonders at times.

at least Ontario is trying
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