Canadian Parliament expanding the House of Commons from 308 to 338 seats

The Tory government has taken the right step to give fast growing provinces like Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia more representation in the House of Commons.

There is absolutely no reason for complaints from Quebec about representation in Canadian Parliament in Ottawa.

Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia were seriously under represented before plans for drastic changes.

The government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper has already introduced a bill that would see the 308 seat chamber expand by another 30 seats.

The changes will be place before the next federal elections.

The Fair Representation Act, introduced by Tim Uppal, the Minister of State for Democratic Reform, will see the House of Commons expand, increasing the influence in Parliament of provinces with growing populations.

“Canadians living in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta have become significantly under represented as their populations have grown,” explained Uppal.

He said the new act delivers on the government’s long-standing commitment and moves every single province towards the principle of representation by population.

According to plans, Ontario will get 15 new seats in time for the next election.

British Columbia will gain six seats while Alberta and Quebec will also gain six and three seats respectively.

The new formula is applied to provinces based on population estimates from Statistics Canada.

A previous attempt by the Conservative government to adopt legislation on seat allocation died in the last Parliament over criticism from Quebec that it would not gain any seats and lose some of its influence in Parliament and federal government decisions.

Uppal emphasized the new formula helps move all provinces towards representation by population.

Once the act is adopted, the government will set up independent commission in each province to set out boundaries and names for ridings and conduct consultations on their proposals.

Under the legislation the commission would be set up within 60 days of the census results being released, giving them up to a year to produce their reports.

This is the right way to go.

Prime Minister Harper has also pledged to prevent a decrease in seats in smaller provinces, while ensuring protection for proportional representation.

The Harper Tories can ignore objections from Quebec.

And there are already objections from that province.

The Tories say there are no moral grounds for Quebecers to deny Ontarians, Albertans and British Columbians their rightful level of representation in Parliament.

There is no longer any reason for the Tories to worry about any retaliation from Quebecers.

The Harper government has the smallest Quebec caucus of any majority since 1917.

The new seats Quebec will receive are mostly in Anglo ridings.

Prime Minister Harper should be commended for acting so quickly to redress Canada’s democratic imbalance.

At this time precise costs of the expansion are not available.

However, Uppal said Canadian taxpayers will pay an estimated$14.8 million per year to accommodate the 30 new MPs to be added to the House of Commons in 2015.

However, this cost does not take into account the expansion of the House of Commons.

The Parliament chamber will have to be modified to accommodate the new MPs.

There are also other costs associated with the staff of the new MPs, travel, accommodation etc.

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