Electoral Reform in Canada

The Conservative Government in is proposing electoral reform for the House of Commons and the Senate.

At the moment, the House of Commons has vastly different sized seats. This is because the Canadian Constitution guarantees provinces a minimum number of seats, being the greater of their number of Senators or the number of seats they had in 1985.

What this means is the electoral quota in each province varies greatly. Currently:

  1. British Columbia 108.548
  2. Ontario 107.642
  3. Alberta 106,243
  4. Quebec 96,500
  5. Nova Scotia 82,546
  6. Manitoba 79,970
  7. Newfoundland and Labrador 73,276
  8. New Brunswick 72,950
  9. Saskatchewan 69,924
  10. Prince Edward Island 33,824

The Government can;t amend the constitution, so what they are doing is passing a law to effectively increase the size of Parliament,  This will see the House increase from 308 seats to 338 seats.

The three provinces that gain extra seats are 14 for Ontario, 4 for Alberta and 5 for British Columbia. Ontario.

Alberta is heavily Conservative, while British Columbia is a stronghold for the hard left NDP and Ontario tends to vote Liberal, so the changes do not favour the Conservatives at all. It is a good example of principled electoral reform.

The other major change is to the Canadian Senate. At present Senators are appointed by the Prime Minister, effectively for life (they retire at 75). The Conservatives are proposing a term limit of eight years, so a Senator retires after eight years in the Senate.

Another step in the right direction.

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