Submitted by MP Jay Hill
A debate took place in the House of Commons this week that was so rife with hypocrisy and so blatantly anti-democratic that I would normally view it as a waste of precious time in the chamber.
However, in this case the debate served to reveal to Canadians a clear confirmation of the Bloc Quebecoisâ€™ motivation and an indisputable demonstration that the New Democratic Partyâ€™s very name is misleading.
Let me explain.
Opposition Supply Days permit opposition parties to choose the subject of debate in the House. If there is an issue they believe the Government has not sufficiently addressed on behalf of Canadians, they can table a motion and the matter is thoroughly debated and voted upon by all Members of Parliament. This week, the Bloc had their supply day.
Their motion called for a guarantee that Quebecâ€™s number of seats in the House of Commons would never fall below 25% even though Quebec does NOT hold 25% of Canadaâ€™s population.
Now, I know many of my constituents are thinking about the irony that came to my mind when I first heard about this scheme by the Bloc. This is the same party which was founded and operates entirely upon the ultimate goal of Quebec have ZERO seats in the House of Commons!
What was far more surprising and hypocritical in the midst of this debate was that the NDP proposed an amendment to the Blocâ€™s motion. And the solution their party found favourable and fair to Canadian voters? Rather than the proposal by the Bloc for Quebecâ€™s seat count at 25%… 24.3% was the number proposed by the NDP!
The New DEMOCRATIC Party proposed diminished representation for Canadaâ€™s other provinces with a guarantee that Quebec will ALWAYS have 24.3% of MPs (their current percentage) in perpetuity no matter what its population â€¦ how â€˜democraticâ€™ is that?
In complete contrast, our Conservative Government has taken concrete legislative action to ensure that, to the greatest extent possible, each Canadianâ€™s vote should carry equal weight.
As the population of the country changes and evolves, the seat counts must be adapted. In the absence of legislation to make the necessary changes, the representation formula currently penalizes the provinces of British Columbia, Ontario and Alberta with under-representation in the House.
Thatâ€™s why our Government introduced Bill C-12 which would update the formula to restore the principle of representation by population. Weâ€™ve taken a principled and democratic approach that strikes a balance between restoring fairer representation with an increase in seats for the faster growing provinces like B.C., while protecting the existing seat counts of slower growth provinces.
In the end, the NDP 24.3% amendment was defeated but NDP MPs refused to vote against the Blocâ€™s proposal for Quebec to have 25% of seats in the House by abstaining from the vote. Fortunately, the Blocâ€™s motion was, in the end, defeated by those of us who believe in the principle of fair representation.
While Canadians saw absolutely no benefit from the dayâ€™s debate, at least it was a confirmation of the Blocâ€™s self-interest and voters across Canada are aware of the NDPâ€™s rejection of representation by population.