February 13, 1923

REDISTRIBUTION BILL

READJUSTMENT OF REPRESENTATION IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS


Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister) moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 15, to readjust the representation in the House of Commons.


CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Explain.

Topic:   REDISTRIBUTION BILL
Subtopic:   READJUSTMENT OF REPRESENTATION IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Mr. Speaker, I rise to introduce a measure to effect a readjustment of the membership of the House of Commons. In doing so, I need not remind hon. members that the government is not exercising any discretionary right, but is rather performing a constitutional duty which is imposed upon it. Under our constitution, the redistribution of the membership of the House of Commons must be made after each decennial census. There have been, since confederation, several redistributions. The first was made in 1872, the next in 1882, the

next in 1892, the next in 1903, and the last redistribution was made in 1914. There have been in the interval partial redistributions for the purpose of providing for representation of territory and provinces which were not in the Dominion when confederation was originally formed. There was a partial redistribution in 1871, to give Manitoba representation, and a partial redistribution in 1887, to provide for representation of the Northwest Territories. There was a partial redistribution in 1907 to provide for representation of the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta, which were subsequently formed out of the Northwest Territories. In 1915, an amendment was passed to the British North America Act, relating more particularly to the province of Prince Edward Island. It was in the nature of a partial redistribution affecting that province, and added to the British North America Act as section 51a thereof the following provision:

Notwithstanding anything in this act, a province shall always be entitled to a number of members in the House of Commons not less than the number of senators representing such province.

By section 1, subsections (1) paragraph (ii) of the Act to amend the British North America Act, 1867, being 5-6 George V, Chapter 45, the representation of Prince Edward Island in the Senate was fixed at four members. The census prior to that partial redistribution would have affected the representation of Prince Edward Island to the extent of the loss of one member, but for this amendment to the act, which provided that no province shall have in the House a smaller representation than it has in the Senate.

Another partial redistribution was made to give the Yukon Territory representation in the House of Commons. The Yukon Territory obtained its right to representation under the act known as the Yukon Territory Representation Act, 1902, assented to on the 15th May of that year. The clause that relates to this matter reads:

The Yukon Territory, as that territory is defined and constituted by section 13. of, and the schedule to, chapter 41 of the statutes of 1901, shall be an electoral district and shall return one member to the House of Commons of Canada.

The Yukon Territory received its representation under the redistribution of 1903.

The time has now come when a general redistribution should be made under the last census. The sections of the British North America Act which have to do with numerical representation by provinces in the House of Commons, and which are pertinent to the present redistribution are as follows:

Redistribution

Section 37. The House of Commons shall, subject to the provisions of this act, consist of 181 members, of whom 82 shall be elected for Ontario, 65 for Quebec, 19 for Nova Scotia, and 15 for New Brunswick.

Section 51. On the completion of the census in the year 1871, and of each subsequent decennial census, the representation of the four provinces shall be readjusted by such authority, in such manner, and from such time, as the Parliament of Canada from time to time provides, subject and according to the following rules:

(1) Quebec shall have the fixed number of sixty-five members;

(2) There shall be assigned to each of the other provinces such a number of members as will bear the same proportion to the number of its population (ascertained at such census) as the number sixty-five bears to the number of the population of Quebec (so ascertained) ;

(3) In the computation of the number of members for a province a fractional part not exceeding one-half of the whole number requisite for entitling the province to a member shall be disregarded; but a fractional part exceeding one-half of that number shall be equivalent to the whole number;

(4) On any such readjustment the number of members for a province shall not be reduced unless the proportion which the number of the population of the province bore to the number of the aggregate population of Canada at the then last preceding readjustment of the number of members for the province is ascertained at the then latest census to be diminished by one-twentieth part or upwards;

(5) Such readjustment shall not take effect until the termination of the then existing parliament.

Section 52. The number of members of the House of Commons may be from time to time increased by the Parliament of Canada, provided the proportionate representation of the provinces prescribed by this act is not thereby disturbed.

I think it will be of interest to hon. members, in connection with the redistribution we are about to make, were I to incorporate in my remarks a statement showing the representation of the various provinces in this House of Commons after the several redistributions that have taken place:

Census 1911 (Unit 30,819) Census 1921 (Unit 36,283)

Province Population Quotient based on Unit Actual Repre- sentation Population Quotient based on Unit Actual Repre- sentation93,728 304 4 88,615 2-44 4492,338 15-95 16 523,837 14-44 14351,889 11-40 11 387,876 10-69 112,527,292 461,394 81-90 82 2,933,662 80-86 8214-95 15 610,118 16-82 17492,432 15-96 16 757,510 20-88 21374,295 12-13 12 588,454 16-22 16392,480 12-72 13 524,582 14-46 142,005,776 65-00 65 2,358,412 65 00 658,512 1 4,157 1

The representation of Prince Edward Island was increased from three to four by partial redistribution in 1915 under the amendment to the British North America Act to which I have referred.

May I say a word now with respect to the application of the recent census to the redistribution about to be effected. First of all I would point out that the Quebec Boundaries Extension Act, which was passed in 1912 and which enlarged the boundaries of the province of Quebec, contained a provision under which the population of the additional territory brought into the province was not to be counted, for the purposes of redistribution, as part of the population of the province of Quebec in determining the unit of representation in accordance with the provisions of the British North America Act on that point. The Quebec Boundaries Act contains the following section:

That the population of the territory hereby added to the province of Quebec shall be excluded in ascertaining the population of the said province for the purposes of any readjustment of representation of the other provinces consequent upon any census.

Account of this provision must necessarily be taken in determining the unit of representation according to the census. The population of the province of Quebec-exclusive of the area added by the Quebec Boundaries Act of 1912-enumerated in the sixth census, June 1, 1921, numbered 2,358,412, which, divided by 65, gives a unit of representation of 36,283;-the unit was 30,819 in 1911. The quotient obtained by dividing the population of each province, except Brince Edward Island, as shown at the date of the census, by the unit 36,283 indicates, except where section 51 subsection 4 of the British North America Act applies, the number of members to which each province is entitled. The result is as follows. I shall give for sake of comparison the figures of the redistribution effected after the census of 1911 as well as the figures of the 1911 census, and the figures of the redistribution to be effected under the last census that of 1921 and the census figures themselves. The House will kindly bear with, me while I put these figures on record:

Redistribution

Topic:   REDISTRIBUTION BILL
Subtopic:   READJUSTMENT OF REPRESENTATION IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS
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GENERAL AND PARTIAL REDISTRIBUTION OF FEDERAL CONSTITUENCIES


Year No. of Constituencies Ont. Que. N.S. N.B1867 181 82 65 15 19*1871 185 82 65 15 1911872 200 86 65 21 1611882 211 92 65 21 16*1887 215 92 65 21 16tl892 213 92 65 20 14fl903 214 86 65 18 13*1907 221 86 65 18 13tl914 234 82 65 16 11*1915 235 82 65 16 aMan. B.C. P.E.I. N.W.T. Yukon 4 4 6 5 6 6 5 6 6 4 7 6 5 4 10 7 4 10 iSasJe. Alta. 10 7 4 10 7 i15 13 3 16 12 115 13 4 16 12 i 'Partial Redistribution. fGeneral Redistribution.


CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

Did not the Prime Minister make a mistake? Has not Ontario SI members instead of 82?

Topic:   GENERAL AND PARTIAL REDISTRIBUTION OF FEDERAL CONSTITUENCIES
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

My right hon. friend is misinformed; I am quoting figures given by the Dominion Statistician.

Topic:   GENERAL AND PARTIAL REDISTRIBUTION OF FEDERAL CONSTITUENCIES
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

My right hon. friend

gave the unit as 80-86 and the actual representation as 82. Should it not be 81?

Topic:   GENERAL AND PARTIAL REDISTRIBUTION OF FEDERAL CONSTITUENCIES
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

My right hon. friend is forgetting the sections of the British North America Act which bear particularly on the proportion of reduction in population of each province relative to the total population of the Dominion as between the census figures of 1921 and 1911.

Topic:   GENERAL AND PARTIAL REDISTRIBUTION OF FEDERAL CONSTITUENCIES
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CON

Arthur Meighen (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MEIGHEN:

That is right. That is

the 120th section.

Topic:   GENERAL AND PARTIAL REDISTRIBUTION OF FEDERAL CONSTITUENCIES
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Yes, I shall

refer to it in a moment.

Now I come to the point to which my right hon. friend referred a moment ago. Before there can be any reduction in the representation of any province the provisions of section 51, subsection 4, of the British North America Act have to be considered. Let me repeat the subsection. It is somewhat involved, but I think its meaning perhaps will become clear if I afterwards express it in different words. This is the subsection:

On any such readjustment the number of members for a province shall not be reduced unless the proportion which the number of the population of the province bore to the number of the aggregate population of Canada at the then last preceding readjustment of the number of members for the province is ascertained at the then latest census to be diminished by one twentieth part or upwards.

In other words, the proportion of the population of the province to the aggregate popu-

lation of the Dominion must fall below one-twentieth less than the proportion of the population of the province to the aggregate population of the Dominion at the last preceding census before a reduction in the representation of that province can result.

The application of these provisions to Ontario and Nova Scotia is shown by the following table:

The proportion which the population of each province bears to the total population of Canada:

Ontario; According to the census of 1911 .35069 - 1921 .33380

Nova Scotia: According to the census of 1911 .06831

1921 .05960

That is a decrease in proportion from 1911 to 1921 in the case of Ontario of .01689; in the case of Nova Scotia of .00871.

The ratio of decrease in population from 1911 to 1921 in proportion to 1911 in the case of Ontario was .0481, which it will be observed is a little below the one-twentieth mark, .05. Nova Scotia is .1275, which unfortunately is just above the one-twentieth proportion. In the case of Ontario the proportion is less, in the case of Nova Scotia it is greater than the one-twentieth to which the Act refers.

These figures show that under the provisions of section 51, subsection 4 of the British North America Act, no reduction should take place in the representation of Ontario, because the proportion which the number of the population of the province bore to the number of the aggregate population of Canada, based on the census of 1911 is ascertained at the census of 1921 to be diminished by less than one-twentieth part. The proportion for Nova Scotia, having diminished by more than one-twentieth part, the provisions of subsection 4 of section 51 do not apply, and the representation of that province must therefore be reduced in accordance with

Redistribution

the provisions of subsections 2 and 3 of section 51.

May I in brief form give to the House the net result of the effect of the census upon the redistribution as it will be under the legislation of this year as compared with the legislation of 1914. The unit of representation as I have already mentioned, this year is 36,283 as against 30,819 in 1914. The total membership of the House of Commons will hereafter during the next ten years be 245 as against 235 during the past ten years, or an increase, in all, of ten members.

In the case of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and the Yukon the representation will remain the same as it is at the present time, respectively 82, 65, 11, 4 and 1. In the case of British Columbia, Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan, the representation will be increased-in the case of British Columbia by 1, from 13 to 14; in the case of Manitoba by 2, from 15 to 17; in the case of Alberta by 4, from 12 to 16; in the case of Saskatchewan by 5, from 16 to 21. In the case of Nova Scotia, unfortunately there will under the provisions of the British North America Act be a reduction of two, from 16 to 14.

I need hardly say. particularly to our friends from Nova Scotia, that in this matter of redistribution the government is not, as I mentioned at the outset, exercising any discretionary right; nor, indeed, has it any discretionary powers. It is simply obliged to accept the law as it is and to apply its provisions as set out in the act. In the application of the law it is very largely a matter simply of mathematics.

That, I think, is-all I need say with reference to the representation of the several provinces so far as its numerical aspect is concerned.

I come now to the method whereby the government proposes to effect the redistribution of the various constituencies or electoral districts under the measure which is being introduced. Prior to 1903 the government of the day in introducing a redistribution bill brought down a measure which it had previously prepared in a complete form. The measure outlined the electoral districts as. the government of the day had prepared them in advance. The bill was submitted to the House in that form, and as all who are familiar with Canadian political history will recall, the redistributions effected in that manner gave rise to perhaps the bitterest controversies which have taken place in this Chamber and in our public life. Too often those redistributions suggested an element of unfairness, and endeavour on the part of the government of the

day to profit at the expense of its political opponents in virtue of the power that it possessed.

In 1903, under the administration of the Right Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier, a new principle was adopted. Sir Wilfrid brought into the House, not a bill which contained the boundaries of all the constituencies as originally drafted by the government itself, but a bill which set forth the number of members to which each province under the redistribution was entitled, leaving blank for subsequent determination the delimitations or definitions of the several constituencies to be represented. Sir Wilfrid proposed when in power what he had suggested when in oppo- -sition. He maintained that in seeking to effect a redistribution, a larger measure of satisfaction in the House and greater confidence throughout the country would result if the government invited the opposition to join with it in a committee to work out the details of redistribution. The hope was expressed that the conferences in the committee room would be carried out in such a spirit of fair play and goodwill that the bill could be brought back to the House of Commons and passed without contention or dispute. The adoption of that principle by Sir Wilfrid Laurier in 1903 had beneficial results, so much so that when the government of the Right Hon. Sir Robert Borden had occasion in 1914 to introduce a redistribution measure, Sir Robert followed the principle that Sir Wilfrid had adopted and invited the opposition to name members on a committeee to join with the government members in determining the boundaries of the constituencies which were to be arranged under the redistribution. We propose to follow the example set by Sir Wilfrid Laurier and later followed by Sir Robert Borden, and I think in doing so we shall meet what my right hon. friend the leader of the Opposition (Mr. Meighen), when speaking on the Address, said he hoped the government would do, namely, have the details of the redistribution measure worked out by a joint committee of hon. members of this House.

The bill which I am about to introduce sets forth the number of members to which each province is entitled under the redistribution and makes provision for the division of the province and the territory into electoral districts as provided in a schedule to the act. The schedule to the act, however, is being introduced, so far as this bill in its present form is concerned, in blank. It is the purpose of the government, if hon. gentlemen op-

Redistribution

posite will meet us in the same spirit in which we approach the matter, to refer this bill after the second reading to a committee on which there will be representatives of the three parties at present comprising this House, the committee to have power to work out the details of the redistribution. Except for

the changes in wording and figures which are necessary as a consequence of the census, the bill that I am about to present is to all intents and purposes the same in form and wording as the bill which was introduced in 1914, which in itself was a copy of the bill introduced by Sir Wilfrid Laurier in 1903. Its provisions are not long, and as I have observed that on previous occasions the bill has been read in its entirety at the time of its introduction. I will venture to read its provisions. They are as follows:

An act to readjust the Representation in the House of Commons. Whereas the' results of the census of 1921 necessitate a readjustment of the representation in the House of Commons, pursuant to the provisions of the British North America Act, 1867, and the other statutes in that behalf; Therefore His Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:-

1. This act may be cited as The Representation Act, 1923.

2. The House of Commons shall consist of two hundred and forty-five members, of whom eighty-two shall be elected for the province of Ontario, sixty-five for the province of Quebec, fourteen for the province of Nova Scotia, eleven for the province of New Brunswick, seventeen for the province of Manitoba, fourteen for the province of British Columbia, four for the province of Prince Edward Island, twenty-one for the province of Saskatchewan, sixteen for the province of Alberta, and one for the Yukon Territory.

3. The said provinces and territory respectively shall, for the purposes of election of members to serve in the House of Commons, be divided into electoral districts, and be represented as provided in the schedule to this act.

4. Every city, town, village, township, parish or place, or part thereof, lying within the territorial limits of any electoral district, and not specifically included in any other electoral district by the said schedule, shall be and be taken to be part of the electoral district in which it is so locally situate.

5. Wherever in the said schedule any word or expression is used to denote the name of any territorial division, such word or expression shall, unless the context otherwise requires, be construed as indicating such territorial division as it exists and is bounded at the date of the passing of this act. .

6. Wherever in the said schedule a municipality or place is wrongly referred to as a city, or a town, or a village, but there is within the territorial limits of the electoral district, in the description of which the reference occurs, a municipality or place of the same name which is a city, or a town, or a village, but is not of the class,-city, town or village, as the case may be, specified in the schedule, the reference shall be taken to be that municipality or place.

7. This act shall take effect only upon the dissolution of the present Parliament.

I have nothing further to add, Mr. Speaker, except to emphasize what I have already said,

that in adopting this method of working out the details of redistribution the government has in view but the one object of bringing about a measure of redistribution which will be regarded in this House and throughout the country as eminently fair and just. I believe that all parties, working together in a joint committee, having the common object of arriving at a fair and equitable basis of redistribution, should be able to send back to this House a bill which it will be possible for us to accept without controversy or discussion; a bill that will meet with the general approval of all hon. members, a bill that will help to inspire throughout the country a greater measure of confidence in our parliamentary institutions because of a realization of the accuracy and justice of the foundations on which they rest.

Topic:   GENERAL AND PARTIAL REDISTRIBUTION OF FEDERAL CONSTITUENCIES
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Motion agreed to, and bill read the first time.


ASH WEDNESDAY ADJOURNMENT

LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister) moved:

That when this House adjourns on Tuesday, the 13th of February instant, it stand adjourned until Thursday, the 15th instant.

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Motion agreed to.


COMBINES AND THE COAL SITUATION


On the Orders of the Day:


LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. J. S. WOODSWORTH (Centre Winnipeg) :

Mr. Speaker, it was stated in the Speech from the Throne that a bill would be submitted to safeguard the interests of consumers and producers from undue enhancement of prices or unfair restriction of trade by combines, monopolies, trusts, or mergers. I have information from the city of Montreal that there is an extreme situation there at the present time with regard to coal. The coal situation is bad in all our cities, but the Montreal papers say that $25 per ton is being charged there for coal in small lots, and that one householder was unable to obtain coal though he had offered $35 per ton. The suffering among certain sections of the populace has been great. I should like to ask whether the measure that is being introduced will protect consumers during this present season, when protection is so much needed.

Topic:   COMBINES AND THE COAL SITUATION
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February 13, 1923