May 24, 1933

CON

Onésime Gagnon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GAGNON:

Let us look now at the map of the county of Berthier-Maskinonge. What is that beaver tail which I indicate on this exhibit? What are those protuberances which were left by the Liberal party in 1924?

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LIB

Pierre-Joseph-Arthur Cardin

Liberal

Mr. CARDIN:

Why do hon. gentlemen opposite not have it changed? They have the opportunity.

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CON

Onésime Gagnon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GAGNON:

Let us look at the map of the county of Chateauguay-Huntingdon. This is the shape of the constituency with which the hon. member for Chateauguay-Huntingdon had to be content when he was fighting in the last election. These are the jig-saw puzzles drafted and made by the Liberal party. Look at those ridiculous salamanders or snakes which have been left by the Liberal party!

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Oh, oh!

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CON

Onésime Gagnon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GAGNON:

I would ask my hon. friends to take their own medicine. This part which I indicate, which is absolutely ridiculous is now taken away by the redistribution committee and joined to the neighbouring county.

Let us look at the map of the constituency of the Solicitor General (Mr. Dupre). I ask any fair-minded, serious, man to tell me whether this is not the most ridiculous configuration.

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LIB
LIB
CON

Onésime Gagnon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GAGNON:

I am not surprised that the hon. member for Quebec East is wriggling like a fish in a frying pan.

Let us look at the map of Drummond-Arthabaska, at those ridiculous misdirections, those needles which represent strips of land taken from an adjoining county because there are Grits there who have to be taken in order to swell the majority of hon. gentlemen opposite. I am exhibiting the map of the constituency of Lotbindere, which is now being corrected by the redistribution in order that the map may be less ridiculous.

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LIB
CON

Onésime Gagnon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GAGNON:

Let us look at the map of the county of Brome-Missisquoi. This was made by hon. gentlemen opposite.

Let us look at the map of the county of Chambly-Verchcres, represented by the Minister of Marine (Mr. Duranleau). It has a beaver tail which has to be cut now in order to give a fair representation to the county.

Let us look at the map of the county of Richmond-Wolfe, in which the hon. member

Redistribution-Mr. Gay,ion

for that constituency (Mr. Lafleche) has been obliged to fight against a former stalwart of the Liberal party.

Let us look at the map of the county of St. Johns-Iberville. Can hon. members think of anything more ridiculous?

Now I shall take the worst. Let us look at the map of the county of Beauce. The hon. member for Laprairie-Napierville (Mr. Dupuis) is an expert in using an argument which can be thrown back to his own party when to-night he showed the map of his constituency. He tried to be funny, but nevertheless I challenge any hon. gentleman opposite to show in the new redistribution such ridiculous figures as the one I am now exhibiting to the committee.

Let us look at the map of the constituency of Bellechasse, the county of my distinguished neighbour (Mr. Boulanger). Can hon. gentlemen find anything more strange than that? How can he explain the triangle, the protuberance which comes into my county, and all the curves and protuberances?

Now I am going to show the map of the county of Nicolet. I may say that a great number of the protuberances which are visible are being cut out in order to give a fair representation.

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LIB
CON

Onésime Gagnon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GAGNON:

That is the seventeenth

interruption. Of course when hon. gentlemen who live in other provinces look at the map of Quebec, they always wonder why the counties have been thus carved and are different from those in the other provinces. They need not be scandalized, because this can be explained to a certain extent owing to the tenure of the land. In the other provinces the land is divided into townships, whereas in Quebec many districts have been taken from the old French seigniories and the French settlers, instead of using square pieces of land, preferred to gather in a small village, so that when the counties were carved out, they showed some more or less strange shapes. I will be fair enough to admit that: It has been more or less the custom since confederation to have some strange carvings of constituencies, and in showing these exhibits I did not do so with the view of offending hon. gentlemen opposite or of trying to minimize their efforts, but rather to show that when they were trying to explain that our map was funny, it was much less strange and funny than the map which was drawn up by hon gentlemen opposite.

May I try to prove the first proposition that I discussed before this committee, the proposition that the new arrangement that was made by the special committee was fair and was drafted in order to secure a more just and fair representation to the population of Quebec.

Before I tried to show the carvings of the past I was explaining that in the city of Quebec the distribution has been fair. It is true that the county of my hon. friend from Quebec South (Mr. Power) has a much smaller population than the others, but hon. gentlemen opposite will remember that ever since confederation it has been the practice and the cherished custom to leave the county of Quebec South to the English minority in the province of Quebec, and this county has been represented almost I think since confederation by an English-speaking member. If this year we had taken away some parts of the county of Quebe.c West or of the county of Quebec East and merged them with the county of Quebec South, the hon. gentleman from Quebec South, who is a friend of mine and a distinguished gentleman, might have thought that the Solicitor General (Mr. Dupre) was desirous of being unfair to the Irish and the English minority of the city of Quebec. But when the French speaking people of all parts of Canada are asking that the English minority make sacrifices in order to give satisfaction to the aspirations of the French race, we are happy to say to them that in the province of Quebec we have always been fair and desirous of giving fair play to the English minority of the province of Quebec.

I must apologize to you, Mr. Chairman, if like the hon. member for Richelieu (Mr. Cardin) I sometimes speak in a high tone of voice. I know that small things cannot be compared with great, but nevertheless I have been made like him in that way. I have no desire to offend or intimidate in any way hon. gentlemen of this house.

I turn now to the other group of seats which I will call the rural group. If hon. gentlemen will bear with me for a few minutes I shall try to show that the rural seats in the province of Quebec have almost the same unit of population. For instance, Dorchester has a population of 27,156, and other counties as follows:

Country- Population

Dorchester 27.156

Argenteuil 27.885

Bellechasse 27.480

Chateauguay-Huntingdon 24.412

Stanstead 25.118

Compton 31,858

Wright 27,107

Redistribution-Mr. Gagnon

County- Population

Sheft'ord 28,202

Montmagny-LTslet 30,869

Brome-Missisquoi 32,069

Kamouraska 30,852

Berthier-Maskinonge 35,575

Portneuf 37,305

Lotbiniere 38,546

Laval-Two Mountains 31,896

St. John-lberville 32,259

Riehmond-Wolfe 36,568

Those are what I might properly call the rural seats of the province of Quebec. It is true that in some of those counties you will probably find a small city or a town but the largest town or city in these counties will have a population of less than five thousand people, and if hon. gentlemen have listened attentively to my humble remarks they will agree that in these rural seats the population on the whole does not vary by more than 1,500 people. Now is not that a fair representation, a fair distribution of population as between all the urban seats of the province of Quebec irrespective of their party affiliations?

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LIB
CON

Onésime Gagnon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GAGNON:

I will come to that in a

few moments. I have done my best, Mr. Chairman, to set out as just a grouping as possible, but you, sir, and hon. gentlemen of this committee will understand that the work of the special committee on redistribution has been very difficult because that committee was obliged to reduce into sixty-five counties the territory which for provincial electoral purposes formed ninety counties.

I now come to the third group, which I have called the group of semi-rural and urban seats. I will give the names of the counties and the population of each and it will be seen that in this group the distribution and representation has been as fair and as just as in the other groups:

County- Population

Richelieu-Vereheres 35.782

Champlain 37,526

Sherbrooke 37.386

Matapedia-Matane 39,977

Toliette-Montcalm.. _ 39,154

Beauharnois-Laprairie 41.399

Pontiac 42,950

Chambly-Rouville 40,353

L'Assomption-Terrebonne 47.215

Beauce 51.614

Lake St. John-Roberval 50.253

Chicoutimi 55.724

Three Rivers 44.226

Drummond-Arthabaska 53.338

Hull 49,196

Rimouski 40,208

Lafleche-St. Maurice 46,787

County- Population

Gaspe 47,160

Nicolet-Yamaska 39,338

Megantie-Frontenac 44,440

Quebec-Montmoreney 40,152

Temiscouata 42,679

St. Hyacinthe-Bagot 42,720

It will be noted that in those counties the population does not vary by more than two or two thousand five hundred people. Is that not fair? The committee has been faced with the task of doing justice so far as possible to all these different groups of population.

Hon. gentlemen opposite will see that I have made an exception, that I have not mentioned the county of Labelle. I have not done so because the county of Labelle will be amended when the schedules are under consideration. Nor have I quoted the county of Levis, not because I was afraid, but because I have reserved Levis for a special chapter in order not to wound the delicate sensibilities of the hon. member for Quebec East.

The county of Levis has been left with a population of 28,548, which is almost the same as that of neighbouring counties. But the members of the committee have been willing to establish an urban seat in the region south of the St. Lawrence river. If the gentlemen of the committee will bear with me they will see that from Nicolet to the Gaspe peninsula there is not one big town or city with a population of more than 15,000 or 20,000 people. Why was it not fair to try to make an urban seat of the three urban corporations consisting of the city of Levis, the city of Bienville and the town of St. Joseph de Lauzon? It is true that in the new constituency some rural parishes have been left, but in these rural parishes such as Charny and Pintendre the population is composed of as many workingmen as farmers, because, Mr. Chairman, everyone knows that the corporation of Charny is a railway centre. The committee has been willing to make an urban seat of the city of Levis; in this the committee may have been wrong or may have been right. It is not my business to discuss what belongs to the hon. member for Levis (Mr. Fortin), but I will say that in so doing the committee has not been unjust or unfair to the neighbouring counties, because the parishes which have been detached from Levis to be joined to the county of Bellechasse will not endanger the chances of the hon. member for Bellechasse, and those which have been detached from Levis to be joined to Lotbiniere will not endanger the chances of my hon. friend the member for Lotbiniere (Mr. COMMONS

Redistribution-Mr. Gagnon

Vervill-e), who yesterday was fair enough to admit that he had no objection to the two or three parishes from Levis to be joined to Lotbiniere.

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

It will not improve the chances of the hon. Solicitor General in Levis.

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CON

Maurice Dupré (Solicitor General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. DUPRE:

May I reply to the hon. gentleman and settle that question once for all? In 1930 I had the great honour of being offered the candidature in the county of Levis, which is my native county, and at the same time I was offered the candidature in the county of Quebec West, and for reasons of my own I chose to run in Quebec West. That settles it once for all.

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LIB
CON

Onésime Gagnon

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GAGNON:

It seems to me that the remark of the hon. member for Temiscouata (Mr. Pouliot) is most unfair and ungenerous when he tries to insinuate that the carving of the county of Levis has been done by the Solicitor General.

Now if I may continue, I have made three exceptions; there are three counties which have not been joined in that group. If I did not mention them I might be taxed with unfairness by hon. gentlemen opposite, so I hasten to speak of them. I refer to the county of Charlevoix-Saguenay, which has been left as it is, with a population of 55,594; and Vaudreuil-Soulanges and Chap-leau. It is true the county of Charlevoix-Saguenay is a very large constituency, probably one of the largest, but, Mr. Chairman, if it is too large now, why did not hon. gentlemen opposite leave it as it was in 1924? Surely this committee cannot be accused of unfairness when they have left the county almost as it was in 1924. I will say immediately, if we had divided the county of Charlevoix-Saguenay into two counties the task would have been very difficult, because the population is not the same, and because in the county of Saguenay, which is a territory of more than 300 square miles, the population is too sparsely scattered to make a fair distribution by the separation of those two counties.

Now, Mr. Chairman, time is flying, and I would not like to conclude my remarks without replying to an insinuation made by the hon. member for Laprairie-Napierville that the member for Dorchester was willing to organize a special seat for himself. I will tell this committee that the hon. member for Dorchester is not afraid to be judged by the electors of Dorchester but will resent very

much being judged by the electors of the county of Beauce. The hon. member for Quebec East yesterday was fair and generous enough to admit that in 1924 the former Solicitor General, Hon. Lucien Cannon, took the parish of St. Maxime and joined it to the county of Dorchester because he was sure of a Liberal majority of 250. I have decided, and have asked the committee-and I will not hide myself behind any committee, I am ready to take my own responsibility-I asked the committee to try to give back to the county of Beauce the presents they have *made in the past. I have also asked the committee to give back to the county of Beauce the parishes of St. Zacharie and Ste. Aurelie which have always belonged to the county of Beauce for provincial purposes until 1931 and which were joined to the provincial county of Dorchester in 1931 and 1932 because they wanted to destroy the chances of the Conservative candidate in Dorchester in the provincial elections. I am sure my hon. friend from Bellechasse will ask me why I have deemed it wise to ask that the parish of St. Luc be joined to the county of Bellechasse. I will tell my hon. friend that in the county of Dorchester there is also a protuberance, a little square joined to the county of Dorchester like a postage stamp. This postage stamp, which has been made up of parts of the county of Dorchester and *Bellechasse, I want to be given to the county of Bellechasse, and I will tell you why. When hon. gentlemen opposite made the redistribution in the past what did they do? They carved the parishes of Ste. Sabine and IHonfleur, in dividing the population in two- half the parish votes in Dorchester and half in Bellechasse. If I had followed the same distribution as hon. gentlemen opposite I would have kept half of St. Luc and given half to the county of Bellechasse. I would not do such a thing. I am not for half measures, I asked that the whole parish go to the counity of Bellechasse.

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LIB

Charles Gavan Power

Liberal

Mr. C. G. POWER (Quebec South):

I have not hitherto taken any part in this discussion, because -personally I have nothing other than *perhaps an academic interest in it. Speaking for the constituency which I represent I had better thank the Solicitor General (Mr. Dupre) and the hon. member for Dorchester (Mr. Gagnon) for their magnanimity and generosity towards -the English speaking population of the city o-f Quebec, in allotting to them a smaller constituency than some of the others. But may I say to the Solicitor General, and he probably knows it if he has followed the elections

Redistribution-Mr. Power

in the city of Quebec during the past few years, that as far as I am concerned I have never claimed election in the constituency of Quebec South on the ground that I was English speaking. I have merely asked my electors on every and all occasions-and the question has presented itself at every election -not to reject me on the ground that I was English speaking, but to give me the same chance as any otheT citizen of Quebec or of the Dominion of Canada. As far as the constituency being English speaking is concerned, I think the Solicitor General knows that the population has now shifted considerably, and I would say, without having looked at the census figures, that at least two thirds of the population are now French speaking. And if I may make a further personal reference I would say that of the one-third which is English four-fifths vote against me. I do thank the hon. gentlemen for their generosity, but as far as it affects me personally I hardly think I am likely to derive any benefit from * the seat being made into a so-called English speaking seat.

Now I should like to take up for a moment some of the observations made by my hon. friend from Dorchester (Mr. Gagnon). The hon. gentleman alleged that the profile maps which he showed were specimens of Liberal handiwork. I took down some of the names of the constituencies, pictures of which he showed to this house, greatly to the amusement of hon. gentlemen opposite. Quebec East was formed in 1914, when Right Hon. Sir Robert Borden was Prime Minister and when it is to be assumed that the late Hon. L. P. Pelletier looked after the redistribution of the seats in the Quebec district. Quebec West, to which my hon. friend complains certain rural centres were added, also was so constituted in 1914 under the guidance of the same hon. gentleman. In consulting the statutes of 1924 I find that Chateauguay-Huntingdon was allowed to remain as it was in 1914. so it also is a specimen of the handiwork not of hon. gentlemen on this side of the house but of the well-revered predecessors of hon. gentlemen opposite.

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CON

John Thomas Hackett

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. HACKETT:

I think the hon. gentleman will find that two square miles was taken away from Chateauguay-Huntingdon, in the parish of Ste. Clo'thilde.

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May 24, 1933