Friday, November 18, 2011

Liberals on Commons seat redistribution: What are they thinking?

One really has to wonder where Liberal heads are these days. I guess to retain some semblance of relevance on the political scene, the Grits’ brain trust feels it must take controversial positions on issues that will find their way into media reports and commentaries.

The latest case in point is a Liberal Party proposal made by Stéphane Dion, the Liberal critic for democratic reform. The former party leader suggests we save money by not increasing seats in the House of Commons as proposed in the Fair Representation Act. The Fair Representation Act is legislation before the House that would add 30 seats to the current 308 in response to Canada’s population increase in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario, and would also add three seats to Quebec, to maintain a ratio of its seats in the House equal to its proportion of the population.

Mr. Dion proposes redistribution of the current seats while keeping the seat count at 308—Ontario would gain four seats, B.C. would gain two and Alberta would gain three. And, to offset these increases, Quebec would lose three seats, Newfoundland and Labrador would lose one, Nova Scotia would lose one and Saskatchewan and Manitoba would each lose two.

I’m all for saving taxpayers’ hard-earned money, but let’s be realistic. Redistribution is already overdue and would be delayed indefinitely to make the legislative and constitutional changes necessary to implement the Liberal plan, especially if the changes were to stand the test of time.

Under our Constitution, no province can have fewer seats in the House of Commons than it has in the Senate, and current legislation provides that provinces cannot lose seats as a result of redistribution. Surely Mr. Dion and Interim Leader Bob Rae know this, as must Liberal MP Marc Garneau, the sole opposing voice on the parliamentary committee reviewing the proposed legislation.

An surely they must know the furore and delay any change in the status quo would cause. So why make the suggestion? I see this as a not so clever ploy to see their name in print and to get invitations to explain themselves on TV.

I say, let’s pay the $86 million (Liberals’ estimate of the cost over the course of the next election cycle) and add the 30 seats so Canadians across the nation can be more fairly represented in their parliament.

(A version of this article was also published at
Postmedia Network’s



© Russell G. Campbell, 2011.
All rights reserved.
The views I express on this blog are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or posi­tions of political parties, institutions or organi­zations with which I am associated.


  1. If saving money is their object I have a better idea. Take the cost of running the HofC, and divide it by 338. All mps would take a pay cut and all offices would take a cut. Who would object to that. lol'
    Or they could reduce the pension payout by making it terms served before payout instead of years served.

  2. Dion is being liberal with the truth. They could care less about the cost of these future MP's. This is all about moving the goal posts to suit Quebec’s interests. It's just more of the same with these characters.

    If the Liberal critic for "Democratic Reform" wants to be constructive, he could always put forward legislation that would affect future increases in the number of MP's. Doing it right now, for all the wrong reasons is about as cheesy as it gets.

  3. Can't see this being popular in the Atlantic provinces or Quebec. When Liberals go wild they really end up in the wilderness. Cheers.

  4. I actually like the Liberal idea. I had to read it twice because I wasn't sure something so common sense could come from them. I crunched the numbers and the representation per province is similar to the Tory proposal. The only downside I could see is the constitutional challenges that might delay or derail those changes and cause Canadians to yet be unfairly represented if they live in the three most populous English provinces.

  5. No one can ever and should ever trust a Liberal,especially someone like Dion.I could see Canadians going along with the Liberal plan and after the seats were taken away from the other provinces,some scheme would unfold to give Quebec back it,s seats and more,because they are French and need the protection of more seats to preserve the language that is under attack by the English.Never ever trust a Liberal again..You know what you got with Trudeau,Chretien,Martin,Dion..You got and are still getting the plan to Frenchify Canada..Try to get a job in the Federal government,if you are English...Try to become a Judge,a member of parliament,a top Police officer,an armed forces commander or leader above major if you are not bi-lingual.YES just try and you will see what the Liberals have done to this country..DO NOT EVER TRUST A LIBERAL AGAIN,and be very wary of the NDPQ.

  6. Redensign, what you are calling a “downside” is actually a brick wall designed to stop these changes. It’s as simple as that. His idea of Democratic Reform is to create less of it.
    This is nothing but another liberal sham cooked up by one of the Kookalition Kooks.