Monday, May 17, 2010

Shrewd Move

Personally, I think the Liberal advocating more seats for Quebec is a shrewd move:
The Liberal Party wants Quebec to get two or three extra seats if the House of Commons passes legislation to increase representation in three other provinces.

The Liberals’ Quebec caucus is pushing to increase seats in their province, and are gaining traction within the party. Their goal is to ensure that Quebec’s share of the seats in the House reflects the fact that the province has 23.1 per cent of the Canadian population. Quebec would be left with 75 seats under the Conservative plan.

“The principle for us is that it can’t be below the province’s share of the population,” the official said of the party’s position on Quebec.

He added the party is in favour of adding seats in other provinces, too.

It is factually correct, that Quebec will be slightly under represented under the government's new seat allocation plan. With this dynamic in mind, the Liberal pledge goes beyond simply pandering, because it addresses the simple concept of fair representation. For this reason, when you couple the seat gains elsewhere, I see little potential for resentment in other parts of the country, while the Liberals position themselves as protecting Quebec's interest.

We are only talking about about a couple of seats, which looks decidedly paltry compared with the large seat gains elsewhere in the country. If the Conservative plan still under-represents other provinces, then really the solution they've offered isn't a fair fix, a fact reasonable people will understand. The Liberals are really offering a simple premise, rep by pop, which plays no favorites. I would submit the only areas of the country that would resent the Liberal pledge are beyond realistic electoral considerations, so any "blow back" potential is truly minimal.

I don't assume the Liberals defending Quebec's status in Parliament is a game changer in the province, but it does send a practical signal that the Liberals will defend Quebec's place in the federation. This policy position could help the party in Quebec, particularly if they are the only federalist option pushing the issue. The Liberals also neutralize the Bloc's hysterics somewhat, undercutting their sole defender arguments.

I think this a shrewd move, because the position is based on the fair and factual. Any small increase for Quebec is offset by much larger gains in other provinces, which lessens the favoritism political risk. Any reward remains to be seen, but it could well prove an important symbolic presentation in Quebec, that the Liberals have volunteered these changes.

32 comments:

Anthony said...

nothing will affect anything in Quebec right now.

There is a media eclipse caused by the habs that isnt going away for at least a week

Steve V said...

The policy isn't concrete yet, so no worries. It's only three more games anyways ;)

Tom said...

It's a shrewd move by its proposer who has now ensured that Iggy can't bounce him, even if he is found guilty of 'failing to blow'. If he is dumped it would be presented as an anti Quebec action. Nothing is ever as simple as it first appears.

Steve V said...

Na.

Mark Dowling said...

How is there anything democratic or laudable about lobbying for disproportionate representation based on chances of electoral success? The reality is that QC weren't guaranteed a percentage in the Const. Act., they were guaranteed minimum seats and that was obviously for a reason.

Here's how it should work -
Constitution Act minimums, or 1 seat per 100,000 based on last census (2006) - none of this upper maximum. At present that would leave QC with 75 either way, but Ontario would get 121 (+15 from 106), AB 32 (+4, 28) and BC 41 (+5, 36). This would also have the side-effect of adding fewer seats than Harper wants to in one shot and avoid as major a swing as Harper clearly wants. After all, the Harpercrite was proposing more seats for QC until the Adequistes imploded and his dreams of major gains there evaporated.

After the 2011 census official results, we do that again. At that point QC would probably pick up 1-2 seats based on StatsCan estimates. If QC wants AB rates of seat growth, they should start figuring out how to get Canadians to move there.

One final minor matter - given how Charest is doing lately, what's the guarantee that the Libs or any federalist party will gain next time there's an election?

Mark Dowling said...

Follow-up - by no upper maximum I mean not fixing the total number of seats, but letting them be decided on population basis.

If QC is worried about losing proportion of seats, maybe they should ask Danny Williams to give up 2 of his 7 to bring him into a 1/100,000 relationship. I wonder what he'll ask for in return...

Liberal Justice said...

Special status for Quebec has never been something the Liberals have stood for. So the party's position should be that all the large provinces should shoulder the burden of over-representation, well except for Quebec because their special? Or is the party's position that there should be a constitutional amendment to reduce the representation of places like PEI? Neither position is politically smart. Playing with fire is NEVER politically smart.

Steve V said...

Mark

Fair points. I think you articulated the problem with your solution, with the second comment.

LJ

I fail to see special status, when you are merely putting the number where it should be, using the same formula outlined.

Liberal Justice said...

Read my latest post. All the larger provinces are under represented because some areas are over represented. Even after you add the 18 seats for Ontario that province is still under represented. That's to make up for the areas that are over represented. But the Quebec Liberal caucus doesn't want Quebec to have to share in that burden, just the rest of the large provinces. That's special status and totally unfair to Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, etc., especially since if Quebec no longer shares in this burden those provinces will have to take on Quebec's share of the burden.

Steve V said...

Frankly, I don't get the hysterics over a couple seats. I'd support giving Ontario what they deserve as well. Look, you have to live with some over representation of small provinces, but that doesn't translate to others holding the burden while Quebec benefits- they are UNDER-represented currently, so that argument is pretty much fiction.

Liberal Justice said...

I'll give you an analogy. Four people start up a business(Albert, Bob, Charlie and Diane) and initially decide to split it evenly four ways - 25% each. But they quickly decide that they'll give 'Albert' an extra 3% since it was his idea. So Bob states the shares will then be 28% for Albert and 24% for the other three. Charlie complains that's not fair; its okay for Albert to have more but he doesn't want to have less. Diane explains to him that what he wants isn't fair because what Charlie is really asking for is for Bob and Dianne to bear the burden of Albert's extra percentage. In the real life example, Quebec would be saying its okay to give some province's extra representation but let all the other large provinces pay for that, not us.

Steve V said...

My head hurts.

Liberal Justice said...

lol, :) You can't give some areas over representation unless you give other areas under representation. Constitutionally, some areas are guaranteed a minimum number of seats which due to slow or negative population growth means they actually get more seats than they should. Mathematically that can only happen if other areas get less than they should. Even once Ontario gets the additional 18 seats they are still getting less than they should based on rep by pop. But that has to be the case in order to provide the extra seats to the other areas. Quebec is fine with that as long as Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta bear the burden, not them. That's not appropriate at all.

Steve V said...

". Even once Ontario gets the additional 18 seats they are still getting less than they should based on rep by pop. But that has to be the case in order to provide the extra seats to the other areas."

Why does that HAVE to be the case? Seems to me the gov't first came out with far less seats, and only revisited when Ontario protested. The Cons still gave Ontario less than they are entitled to, but it was close enough that it was acceptable. There is no restriction on giving Ont full weight, this proposal is just an arbitatory solution.

ottlib said...

I personally believe politicians should not have any say in the allotment of seats. They cannot be trusted to put the national interest above their petty partisan interests.

Have an independent agency or committee, that reports to Parliament, whose mandate is to decide the borders and locations of each new riding. Hell, maybe have them do a complete overhaul of existing ones as well.

Steve V said...

Good idea ottlib. Although it won't be until 2014 that these new seats come into play, I fully expect a Texas GOP redux, wherein the Cons manipulate borders to help their cause. It would be much better if an independent body decided such things, because parties have an agenda and you really can't expect them to draw a map which handicaps their prospects.

Liberal Justice said...

Steve, you can't give all the large provinces their 'full weight' AND give other provinces greater than their share by rep. I believe the provinces that get a greater share than rep by pop are PEI, Newfoundland, and Maybe Manitoba as well as all three territories. Its like the example I gave: you can't give one guy 3% more (28%) and still give the other three 25%. They MUST get less if the other guy is to get more. Same here, if some areas are to get more than others are to get less - the larger provinces. But Quebec Liberals its okay for Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta to get less but they don't want to have their fair share of the burden. Baloney!

Steve V said...

You can do anything with an asymmetrical federation :) Nobody really cares if PEI is over-represented, nor the terrorities. However, when you are dealing with the two solitudes, it's a bit of an imperative to make sure the voice is weighted properly, and I understand the minority sensitivities.

Liberal Justice said...

But as soon as you agree that it is okay to have some areas over represented then mathematically other areas HAVE to be under represented. But Quebec Liberal MPs are saying let Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta bear their share of that burden, and that is unfair. Under the new seat breakdown Quebec will be slightly under represented, as will Ontario and others. But that is mathematically required in order to have areas like PEI over represented.

Gayle said...

"It's only three more games anyways ;)"

Take that back.

Fred from BC said...

Steve V said...

You can do anything with an asymmetrical federation :) Nobody really cares if PEI is over-represented,


Western Canada cares very much, Steve. For a small island like PEI to have as much representation as they have makes our votes out here worth less, and that's just unacceptable given the amount of money we contribute to the rest of Canada.

rockfish said...

No matter the allocation of extra seats, i think the real winner is the party that steps forward and says that the operation budget for parliament, in these tough times, should remain the same - even with an increase in members. That would require all MPs salaries, perks etc being adjusted down to cover the additional members.
If the Liberals were to propose this (or CONs or NDP for that matter) i'd think people's ears would perk up. Not holding my breath, however.

Steve V said...

gayle

Grew up cheering for the Flyers, now I'm a Leafs fan. You can see why I just can't cheer for the rioters ;)

Tof KW said...

Fred from BC said...
Western Canada cares very much, Steve. For a small island like PEI to have as much representation as they have makes our votes out here worth less, and that's just unacceptable given the amount of money we contribute to the rest of Canada.

Oh, here we go with the typical sectarian 'east-screwing-the-west' bullshit again. Hey Freddie, we in Ontario have been under-represented and our votes 'worth less' since day 1 of confederation. Even after these seat gains, we're still under-represented. Do you here us whining like you do? We consider it helping the smaller provinces like NF and PEI to defend their interests in Parliament again huge monoliths like ON, QC, AB and BC.

But then Ontario has always been more charitable in helping the Dominion versus the 'me-first' attitudes that seem to plague the west. Alberta in particular has forgotten what it's like to be a have-not province.

One day, and it may be many, many decades away; but there will be a post-oil world economy. I really hope Alberta recognizes this instead of burying their collective heads in the oilsands. Otherwise they will be revisiting that 'have-not' province feeling again and re-learning why Canada has an asymmetrical federalism to begin with.

- - -

BTW - I'm not so certain that Quebec does deserve these extra 2-3 seats, for the very reasons Liberal Justice provides. I also fully support idea of an independent body to decide future riding changes. This decision should not be up to the particular sitting government of the day, who would of course look for partisan advantage in the final plan.

Finally Steve ...cheering on the Flyers over les Habs while writing a post about treating Quebec properly within the Dominion? Très triste mon ami :(

Tof KW said...

Oh, and I forgot to add something about this gem:

"...and that's just unacceptable given the amount of money we contribute to the rest of Canada."

Sorry buddy but no one, and I mean no one, has contributed more money over the past 143 years to asymmetrical federalism than Ontario. It is unacceptable for us to listen to 'sometimes have, sometimes have-not' BC residents whine about paying too much in equalization payments.

Fred from BC said...

Tof KW said...

Oh, and I forgot to add something about this gem:

"...and that's just unacceptable given the amount of money we contribute to the rest of Canada."


So you're okay with PEI having four MP's? That was the real point of my post (that's why I put it first). That's fine; you are as entitled to your opinion as I am to mine...and I'm not okay with it, sorry.

Sorry buddy but no one, and I mean no one, has contributed more money over the past 143 years to asymmetrical federalism than Ontario. It is unacceptable for us to listen to 'sometimes have, sometimes have-not' BC residents whine about paying too much in equalization payments.


First of all, I'm not your buddy.

Secondly, I don't care that you think Canada stops at the Ontario border...it doesn't. We in the west have put up with way, way too many elections that were deemed over before our votes out here were even counted, especially when we saw a province the size and population of one of Vancouver's suburbs wielding the political clout of 4 MP's (there's the point of my post again, in case you missed it).

As if that wasn't enough, there is good old Quebec, with all those perks like baby bonuses, 7 dollar daycare and all those other things that the rest of us don't receive because we can't afford them being funded by the rest of Canada (which Quebec seemingly can't wait to leave). So yeah, we're pissed. And we have every right to feel that way, as do all the western provinces...

Tof KW said...

Oh, fuming folksy-fascist Freddie – just had to let your inner-teabagger out didn’t you?

”So you're okay with PEI having four MP's?”

Well being it was a pre-condition to PEI joining Confederation and protected in the constitution … yes I am OK with it because the issue is now 143 years old and there is little that can be done otherwise. Besides, do PEI’s 4 MPs (they should only have 1) or Newfoundland’s 7 (should have 5) really change the electoral map all that much? Under normal circumstances they both do elect Conservatives too you know – which is all you care about. However they usually elect proper Tories (more inline with my own political views); versus the ignorant, populist Reee-form!!! windbags that you vote for.

”Secondly, I don't care that you think Canada stops at the Ontario border...it doesn't. We in the west have put up with way, way too many elections that were deemed over before our votes out here were even counted”

Well there’s that culture-war sectarianism that team-Harper thrives on, pitting East against West and rural against Urban - when the divisions between then two are really a case of making mountains out of molehills. But it does keep the base foaming at the mouth and donations pouring in.

But I digress; do you have any idea of how your mindless statements reek of hypocrisy? You want equal representation for each province based on population thinking that will solve BC’s problems? HA HA HA – do you have any idea how many additional ridings Ontario would get if that were to ever happen? And you think elections are pre-determined now before BC’s votes are even counted?

I will however say that I do feel for you out in BC, there is truth to what you say. However the only way to resolve that would be to give BC an unrealistic increase in ridings totally out of proportion to the population – the very thing that PEI enjoys which you attack so vigorously.

And as for the buddy comment, that was in pure sarcasm …obviously that went way over your head.

I have good friends from all over the political map; from die-hard NDP-lefties, Grit supporters; and plenty of ex-PCers who’ve moved to the CPC, the Libs, and even two who are now hardcore Greens (I seriously believe there is such a thing as a Green Tory – former leader Jim Harris being the prototype). All have something in common – they are all highly intelligent people who I enjoy debating because they challenge my own convictions. Mindless, angry, automaton internet trolls like yourself …naaa!!! For companionship, I suggest you move down south and join a teabagging rally – now they would be more your style.

Fred from BC said...

Tof KW said...

" Oh, fuming folksy-fascist Freddie – just had to let your inner-teabagger out didn’t you?"

"Oh, here we go with the typical sectarian 'east-screwing-the-west' bullshit again."

"Do you here us whining like you do?"

"But then Ontario has always been more charitable in helping the Dominion versus the 'me-first' attitudes that seem to plague the west."

"However they usually elect proper Tories (more inline with my own political views); versus the ignorant, populist Reee-form!!! windbags that you vote for."

"Well there’s that culture-war sectarianism that team-Harper thrives on, pitting East against West and rural against Urban"

"But it does keep the base foaming at the mouth and donations pouring in."

"But I digress; do you have any idea of how your mindless statements reek of hypocrisy?"

" Mindless, angry, automaton internet trolls like yourself …naaa!!! For companionship, I suggest you move down south and join a teabagging rally – now they would be more your style."


And I suggest that you start behaving like an adult if you expect any further responses from me. The world is full of people with different opinions than yours. Get used to it.

Tof KW said...

And I suggest that you start behaving like an adult if you expect any further responses from me. The world is full of people with different opinions than yours. Get used to it.

I can get you to stop trolling ..you can count on me to continue to ridicule and mock you ;)

As for people with differing opinions than yours ...with the CPC at 35%, this means 65% have a differing opinion that the Reformatories. You should get used to that.

And I will start treating you as an adult when you begin to show any signs of independent thought. All I ever see from you is the parroting of Harper's talking points and excessive anger directed towards the east.

Fred from BC said...

Tof KW said...

And I suggest that you start behaving like an adult if you expect any further responses from me. The world is full of people with different opinions than yours. Get used to it.

I can get you to stop trolling ..you can count on me to continue to ridicule and mock you ;)

( Feel like translating that to English for me? Did you mean to start that sentence with an 'IF'?)

Not only do you obviously have no idea what a 'troll' really is (look it up if you need to; I don't even come close, sorry), you then decide to boast that you will "ridicule and mock" me? You? Seriously? By yourself? Good luck with that..;)

As for people with differing opinions than yours ...with the CPC at 35%, this means 65% have a differing opinion that the Reformatories. You should get used to that.

It also means that with the Liberals at 25%, about 75% have a differing opinion than YOU, doesn't it?

(wow...you really didn't see that coming, did you? That's just sad... what are they teaching in the schools these days?)

And I will start treating you as an adult when you begin to show any signs of independent thought. All I ever see from you is the parroting of Harper's talking points

Riiiight. Nothing I ever post is my own opinion, everything comes from the PMO? So where can I find the Conservative talking points regarding PEI's 4 seats, I wonder? Even coming from you, that's an exceptionally stupid statement...

and excessive anger directed towards the east.

I see. And the other posts I've made demonstrating "excessive anger directed toward the east" would be where, exactly...?

(oops...walked right into that one, too?. Doesn't bode well for any future "ridiculing and mocking", I'm afraid. Maybe you should get some help?...;)

Tof KW said...

Internet Troll:
"One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument."

Go back under your moat Fred - that describes you to a 'T'.

Also for the record (because you've obviously never read enough of my posts) I'm a Progressive Conservative - so that maybe puts me within 5% of the opinion polls if PC was still even an option. Doesn't erase the fact that Harper will never do better than 38% in any poll - always short of a majority. And you're lucky he gets that - still many ex-PCers like myself are voting for Harper only because they hate the LPC. Only a matter of time before more admit the Grits are the lesser of two evils and Harper losses power all together.

Fred from BC said...

Tof KW said...

Internet Troll:
"One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument."


(Not quite. You forgot the part about ignoring posted topics in favor of personal attacks, and abandoning threads when challenged rather than defending a stated position (classic troll behaviors, both of them). But other than that, you were close...)


Hmmm...that reminds me of something...what was it?...

Oh, right...THIS:


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Tof KW said...

This Billion Dollar Boondoggle sure makes the sponsorship scandal seem very small, doesn't it Reformatories?

Oh Harperbots, please post here in support of severe cost-overruns, and obvious tax dollar waste ...I need a big dose of irony and hypocrisy today.


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Spoiling for a fight, are you? Sorry...not here. This isn't my blog to treat as my personal playground, nor is it yours. Try UseNet if you really must have a flame war, okay?..