The House of Commons

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22 Apr 2012
Course
Professor
Monday, September, 26, 2011
Topic 4: The House of Commons
The House of Commons: Dignified or Efficient
Two main functions of the HoC:
Representation- Argues that the HoC is not very representative.
Until 1930- Woman could not vote and in the 1800’s voting was based on property
Now we have a system of universal suffrage
One of the corner stones of democracy is one person, one vote. And that vote should
be equal. This is not the case in Canada, in terms of territories, constituencies
Territory- there are significant regional differences regarding the vote
The Maritime provinces are over represented in the HoC and some of the larger
provinces like Ont, BC and Alb are under represented
30 more seats will be added to the HoC to balance the under representation- 18 seats
will go to Ont
With this increase of seats, this will significantly decrease the representation of
Quebec- from 25% to 22%. There is controversy about the reduction of seats for
Quebec and it is said that the 25% is enough to make Quebecers think about the
federal government.
How did we get to this situation of over and under representation?
It began in 1950’s with the Senate Floor Rule- makes provincial representation equal
with the number of senators they have. There cannot be fewer MP’s then there are
senators for the provinces
1970’s- the representation act of 1975 (non entrenched constitutional law)- no
province now can go bellow the number of MP’s the had in 1974- means that the
number of provincial MP’s is fixed
We have to keep adding seats to the HoC to amend this discrepancy of
representation, but this means that these over represented provinces will have less of a
share of the HoC
Average seat representation in Egmont PEI is 26,200 people, in Vancouver, 83,275
and in Brampton, 100,795. This means that a vote in PEI is more valuable than a vote in
these other cities. It is 3 times as hard to have a member of parliament elected in these
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