Bitter feud over new seats in Commons settled


Ron in Regina
Free Thinker
#1
Bitter feud over new seats in Commons settled; Ontario to get 21
December 17, 2008 - 18:25

Keith Leslie, THE CANADIAN PRESS


TORONTO - Ontario and Ottawa settled a lengthy and often bitter feud when Prime Minister Stephen Harper agreed last week to give the province 21 additional seats in the House of Commons, Premier Dalton McGuinty said Wednesday.

McGuinty's officials said late Wednesday that he and Harper did not specifically discuss how many seats would be added in Ontario under the proposed changes, but if the province got the "necessary proportionality" as the premier stated, it would translate into another 21 seats.

That's 11 more new Commons seats than the Conservatives initially said the province would get under a redistribution plan announced last year to reflect growing populations in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.

B.C. was set to receive seven additional seats and Alberta five under the government's original plan to give Ontario 10.

However, the Prime Minister's Office would not answer questions Wednesday about how giving Ontario 21 additional seats would affect others when the initial plans called for only 22 new seats for all three provinces.

"I would say they are valid questions, although premature," said PMO spokesman Dimitri Soudas.

"We made a commitment in the speech from the throne to increase seats for Ontario, Alberta and B.C., and that's all I have for now."

In his end-of-year news conference Wednesday, McGuinty confirmed he and Harper had resolved their disagreement over the distribution of seats in Parliament when they met in Ottawa last Friday.

"I spoke with him about that and I think we've fixed it," McGuinty said when asked if the seat issue had come up during their meeting.

Harper finally saw that Ontario's argument was valid and agreed to give the province the 21 additional seats in Parliament, without Ontario having to give up anything in return, McGuinty added.

"I think there was a sense that it was the right thing to do."

Ontario currently has 106 seats in the 308-seat House of Commons, and the Conservatives said they originally planned to increase the total number of seats to 330.

The PMO also declined to say how the government felt the increase in seats for Ontario would be received in Quebec, where the Conservatives failed to make any gains in the October election.

David Docherty, a political science professor and dean of arts at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., said Harper has to make "some kind of peace with Ontario" to placate the federal Liberals and McGuinty so they can work together on aid for the auto and forestry sectors.

"The Conservatives have essentially written off Quebec for any kind of seat growth in the next couple of elections," Docherty said in an interview.

"If Harper is going to win a majority, he's got to win more seats in Ontario, so he creates more seats in Ontario."

Ontario complained loudly that Ottawa's original plan would have given Canada's most populous province only one member of Parliament for every 115,000 people, while other provinces moved to what McGuinty called the "Quebec standard" of one MP for every 105,000 people.

The seat issue erupted into such an angry war of words that Peter Van Loan, then Conservative government house leader, called McGuinty "the small man of Confederation."

The Conservatives had said Ontario should have been pleased with 10 new seats because if the government hadn't changed the formula, the province would have received only four additional members of Parliament.

During last Friday's meeting, Harper initially made the "traditional" argument that Ontario would be better off than it was before with 10 more seats, McGuinty said.
"I said, 'Yeah, that's true, but that's not the point,"' McGuinty said.

"The point is we should be working towards fairness, and over time we would have continued to fall behind."

Docherty said giving Ontario more seats in Parliament won't go over well in Western Canada if Alberta or B.C. get fewer new seats than originally promised.

"One could imagine the sense of alienation in the West," he said.

"Harper can't expect to go to Calgary for Christmas if it turns out (Alberta) is getting one seat and B.C. is not getting any."

The change on seats in the Commons marks the third time in recent weeks the Conservatives have climbed down from a previously held position. They have also backed away from initiatives in the economic update to ban public service strikes and to strip public, per-vote financing from political parties.
Source: Bitter feud over new seats in Commons settled; Ontario to get 21 | Macleans.ca - Canada - Features

-Ontario's Seat Count just grew by a Manitoba and half of a Saskatchewan...
-Interesting that this news sort of slid under the wire out here in the West...
-Alberta & BC together have very close to the same population as Quebec, but
Alberta & BC together have 64 Seats vrs Quebec's 75 Seats...
-Alberta has 125,000 per MP, BC has 124,000 per MP, Ontario had 121,000 per MP.
 
Ron in Regina
Free Thinker
#2
I've sat down and played with the math, and to treat BC & Alberta fairly in the
same light as Ontario, using the "Quebec Standard," BC would get 6 more seats,
and Alberta would get 5 more seats. The rest of Canada would stay where they're
at 'cuz you can't take away seats (another one of the rules on the books).

That would mean Parliament would have 340 sitting MP's, so a Majority would
then be 171 Seats... (308 currently + 21 more in ON, + 6 more in BC, + 5 more
in AB).

Interesting...
Last edited by Ron in Regina; Dec 18th, 2008 at 04:21 PM..Reason: Have two numbers backwards
 
Zzarchov
#3
The best electoral form should start in the senate.

And as bad as the west has it, Ontario still has it worse. We keep being forced to pay for the atlantic provinces, but unlike out west we don't seem to have the ability to rewrite the rules to keep us from having to shell out our due, hell even when we risked being a have-not province the rules were gonne be re-written to keep us shelling out.
 
Ron in Regina
Free Thinker
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by Zzarchov View Post

The best electoral form should start in the senate.

And as bad as the west has it, Ontario still has it worse. We keep being forced to pay for the atlantic provinces, but unlike out west we don't seem to have the ability to rewrite the rules to keep us from having to shell out our due, hell even when we risked being a have-not province the rules were gonne be re-written to keep us shelling out.


"unlike out west we don't seem to have the ability to rewrite the rules to keep us
from having to shell out our due" (?) The west has had the short end of the stick
for ever. Are you saying that they now have some influence and that's a bad thing?
The West can't be the East's colony forever. As far as the "not having to shell out
our share" thing, I think our opinions are on very different sides of the fence.

I agree that the Senate should be reformed...quickly. I say 8 year terms, with an
election (yep...elected Senate) every four years where 1/2 would be replaced so
there would be experienced Senators always sitting. How they start this, I really
don't care if it's the 1/2 that's been there longest gets dumped first, or the 1/2 that drew the short straws...as long as it starts.
 
Ron in Regina
Free Thinker
#5
 
Ron in Regina
Free Thinker
#6
This'll make the map above a bit easier to follow. A bit easier to read the #'s...
Sorry it's still blurry, instead of tiny blurry.
 
Adriatik
No Party Affiliation
#7
How can this happen without a vote in the house of commons?

Harper does not have the right to make such changes without consent of the house.

Can anyone tell me how 1 guy can decide to add seats to the house of commons?
 
Ron in Regina
Free Thinker
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by Adriatik View Post

How can this happen without a vote in the house of commons?

Harper does not have the right to make such changes without consent of the house.

Can anyone tell me how 1 guy can decide to add seats to the house of commons?


I don't even pretend to understand how this happened, only that it happened. I just read
about this today myself. Looks like the Ontario end is a done deal, just the question of
how Alberta & BC will be dealt with...
 
Tonington
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by Ron in Regina View Post

I agree that the Senate should be reformed...quickly. I say 8 year terms, with an
election (yep...elected Senate) every four years where 1/2 would be replaced so
there would be experienced Senators always sitting.

Why term limits if they're elected? I don't see anyone advocating placing limits on MP's. If they were both elected there wouldn't be any need to have term limits. Having no term limits makes it more likely to have experienced Senators.
 
Zzarchov
#10
If the senate is to have a purpose, either way, Senators should be elected all togethor differently than MP's

otherwise you just have 2 of the same views, why not just have twice as many MPs (which would also allow you to balance out the east, you can't take away MP's but if everyone else gets a vast increase...)