Returning to representation by population in Canada

Guest columnist Bill Streeter has written a synopsis of the recent editorial in the Globe and Mail (Aug. 30/22) pertaining to ‘representation by population’ when it comes to elections.


Returning representation by population to Parliament in Canada

Highlights (Streeter synopsis)

In 1867, The original British North America Act, stated that the number of MPs per Province in the Canadian Parliament would be based on “representation by population”. This was described in the act as …

there shall be assigned to each of the other Provinces such a number of its Population, ascertained at such census, as the number sixty-five bears to the number of the Population of Quebec.”

So, if Quebec had a population of 6,500,000 then the factor to be applied to all other provinces would be 100,000 population equals one member.

Well, the last 150 years have left this part of the act non-existent and representation by population has gone out the window. Today, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and all of the Atlantic Provinces are over represented. Increasingly under-represented are Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.

To best explain this, we just need to look at Quebec. If we fix their number of seats at the current 78 then that would mean that all other provinces would have 1 member per every 110,000 in population in all of the other provinces. This would mean the House would have 359 seats which would be an increase of 21 more than today. Manitoba, New Brunswick and Newfoundland would each lose 1 seat and Saskatchewan would lose 3 seats. Ontario would gain 14, Alberta 7 and B. C. six.

Isn’t now a good time to correct this injustice that has our province of Ontario at a real disadvantage?