The question of population is not taken into account in so far as representation in the Senate is concerned.
Mr. GALLlnER. While we are dealing with the representation in the Senate of the new provinces that are being formed, and while we cannot increase the representation from Manitoba and British Columbia, because I understand it is fixed by the imperial statute, it strikes me that at this present time, or as soon as imperial legislation can be obtained which will give a limit of 24 senators to the west, it should be secured. Of course, I understand, to bring the representation in the Senate up to that figure, we would have to seek an amendment of the Act by imperial legislation, in so far as Manitoba and British Columbia are concerned, but I do think that as soon as that legislation can reasonably be obtained
it might be this year or it might be next year-we should at least have a representation of 24 from that western country.
When I asked the hon. Minister of Justice what population would be necessary to have that number of senators after the next decennial census, I understood him to say in effect that population did not govern it in any way at all. Does this section really mean that they will have four senators now and that after the taking of the next decennial census the number will be increased to 6 in each of these new' provinces without any legislation in this House or any place else ?
As the Territories now stand they have four representatives
in the Senate. When this Act goes into force then immediately each of these provinces will have four. That will be eight for that territory. Then, after the taking of the next decennial census, it will be optional with the government to increase the number of each province from 4 to 0. This is merely an optional power that may be exercised or may not be exercised by the government as it chooses after the next decennial census.
It does seem a singular idea in view of what was done in regard to Manitoba. They were given two for the first 17,000, then three for 50,000 and they are supposed to have an additional senator lor every 25,000 people or something like that. Supposing that in 1912 these provinces should be represented in this House by a large number of members who sat on the opposition side and that there was a minority of the representation supporting the government; suppose that in 1912 the members of the opposition representing these two provinces set up the claim that they were entitled to a greater representation in the Senate and the government said : No, we refuse to give it to you. The government might undertake to punish these two provinces because they sent a larger number of opposition supporters than government supporters. Why make it possible for such a condition to arise ? Why not enact some such provision as was suggested by the premier of the Northwest Territories, but not to the same extent, that they be given representation now for a certain number, and that when the population increases by a certain number they will be entitled to a greater representation automatically. The Premier of the Northwest Territories suggested 20 and the right hon. First Minister suggests 12. If that be the conclusion arrived at by the government make it according to population, let it work automatically and then in 1912 you would not have any [DOT]question of the kind arising, which would naturally arise in this parliament. It may be a bone of contention as between the government and these two provinces, and it would be preferable to adopt a system which would work automatically rather than to adopt the provision which it is now proposed to insert in this Bill.
It is hardly correct to say that representation in the Senate does not depend at all upon population. Of course, it does not under the constitution of the United States. The smallest state in the union has exactly the same representation in the Senate as the largest state in the union. That must always continue under their constitution. It would rather
seem that the original scheme of confederation was this : Ontario and Quebec had approximately the same population, though not exactly. I think they had about 2,500.000 between them. The maritime provinces, including Prince Edward Island had approximately the same population as Quebec.
The population of the maritime provinces was not quite so large as I thought at the moment, but there was obviously a basis of population or otherwise there would not be that peculiar provision about Prince Edward Island, that when Prince Edward Island came into confederation the group of twenty-four senators was not to be increased, but the representation of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia was to be diminished by the same number of senators that were to be appointed for Prince Edward Island. Up to a certain limit of population the representation in the Senate provided for the new provinces is perhaps fair. Nova Scotia at present has ten senators for a population of about 500,000, and eight senators in the Northwest for a population estimated at 500,000 may be a fair representation for the immediate future. If population is to be considered we can look forward to the time when with the enormous development of the Territories and the possible large increase in population, that representation might not be just. The Bill provides for financial assistance on the basis of an eventual population of 1,200,000 for each province, and the result would be that a population of 2,500,000 in these two provinces would only have twelve senators, when less populous provinces would have a larger representation. I do not say you must base it altogether on population, but apparently the original scheme of confederation took more account of population than did the constitution of the United States.
I do not think we can do better for these' provinces than we are doing at the present time, but I have no doubt at all that there shall be from the western group of provinces a demand for the readjustment of their representation in the Senate, and whether twenty-four will be a
sufficient number in tile future is a thing that may be fairly debated. We must fix an arbitrary number of senators ; we cannot go by population. I would have suggested twenty-four senators as in the case of the rest of Canada, but it may be that some hon. gentlemen think that twenty-four would not be sufficient ultimately. At "present I do not think we can do more than we are doing under this Bill.