Parliament wants to protect Quebec’s weight in the federation

Federal elected officials have affirmed, with an overwhelming majority, the desire to protect the weight of Quebec in the federation.

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The Liberals and New Democrats, as well as a good number of Conservatives supported the Bloc Québécois motion which called for the exclusion of “any scenario of redrawing the federal electoral map which would have the effect of losing one or more electoral districts in Quebec or to diminish the political weight of Quebec in the House of Commons”.

The vote, which took place on Wednesday afternoon in the Commons, ended with a result of 261 in favor of the idea and 63 against. The vast majority of opposition votes came from the Conservative benches.

“It’s a win for Quebec,” declared the leader of the Bloc Québécois, Yves François Blanchet, after the vote.

According to him, “today’s vote opens the door” to the establishment of a strict minimum percentage for Quebec in Parliament. Mr. Blanchet is aiming for 25% of the seats.

The party will eventually table a bill to this effect, and aims to work with the other parties to find a scenario that can satisfy everyone.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh stressed in a press briefing that it was “important” to fight against Quebec’s loss of influence in the Commons. The party had also submitted a similar bill in 2012, at the time of Stephen Harper’s government.

The motion also called for “the formula for allocating seats in the House [soit] amended”.

The redrawing of the electoral map is the fruit of the work of Elections Canada, which bases itself on the demographic evolution of the provinces to reallocate the seats periodically.

The changes currently in effect would reduce the total number of seats from 338 to 342: one less for Quebec, three more for Alberta, one for Ontario and another for British Columbia.

This next redistricting, which should come into force in 2024, would increase the number of seats in Quebec from 78 to 77. This is the case with its proportional representation in the Commons: the weight of the province in the federation will increase from 23, 28% to 22.71%.

“This seat loss is explained by the fact that the growth rate of the population of Quebec remains lower than the average growth rate of the other provinces,” Elections Canada reported in October.

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