OTTAWA – The Conservative party is preparing to go to war over the allocation of seats in the House of Commons.
The party is questioning the political neutrality of the redistribution of seats and is assembling a team dedicated to analyzing each step of the process that will change electoral boundaries in the coming years, Star has learned.
In a letter to party members, Executive Director Janet Fryday Dorey expresses concern that Liberals will seek to improve their own electoral prospects with boundary changes.
She points out that the Speaker of the House of Commons, a liberal, helps establish the provincial commissions to draw the new lines, and says the party does not trust that the liberal government will not intervene to benefit its own electoral chances.
The Liberal government’s record of ethical violations means they cannot be trusted, the letter reads, a copy of which was obtained by the Star.
“I don’t trust them to play fairly when it comes to redistributing seats in Parliament,” said Fryday Dorey.
The party asks members to help raise $ 150,000 to fight “tooth and nail” for fair limits, what she calls a battle that could be “even more important” than preparing for the upcoming election.
The letter says the money will fund Canadians who want to speak out against borders that do not benefit their communities, supporting the work of MPs who want to do the same and fighting “if and when liberals try to interfere in the process to give themselves an unfair advantage, as they always do ”.
The number of seats in the House of Commons is recalculated after each 10-year census to ensure that the composition of deputies reflects current provincial demographics.
The process involves determining how many seats there should be in the House of Commons, and then where all the driving limits should be drawn.
The number of seats is established by a constitutionally established formula and, earlier this fall, the electoral director said according to the latest census, the seat count should increase from 338 to 342.
Ontario, BC and Alberta will receive additional seats and Quebec loses one.
That already set the scene for a political fight: the Bloc Québécois and the Quebec provincial government, furious that their status in the Commons could be diminished.
While the recommendation is based on a constitutionally enshrined census formula and data, there is legislative leeway to change the formula without amending the Constitution itself – the Conservatives did so in 2011 when they were in power.
A spokesman for the Liberal Party criticized the Conservatives for inferring political interference.
“This is another example of how Mr. O’Toole and the Conservative Party are doubling down on divisive politics rather than offering a positive plan to build a better and fairer future for Canadians,” Matteo Rossi said in an email.
The provincial commissions that supervise the changes of leadership have a president, a judge appointed by the president of the Supreme Court of the province, and two other members appointed by the president.
The commissions consult with the public, the deputies and their determinations are also reviewed by a committee of the House of Commons.
It can be a complicated process.
Some of the same accusations The Conservatives have made their way today when they were last in power and seats were readjusted.
The problems in 2011 ranged from constituencies drawn in such a way that urban / rural divisions favored the Conservatives to allegations that legislation the Conservatives introduced to adjust seat counts was unnecessary.
That bill followed political promises by conservatives to give more seats to the most populous provinces, while promising that Quebec, which is overrepresented by the population, would not lose any seats and, in fact, won three of them.
A spokesman for the Conservatives did not respond to a question Tuesday about whether the party will hit for Quebec this time.
The new electoral map is expected to be completed in 2023, but will not go into effect until Parliament is dissolved.
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