As I have said, the counties of the eastern townships have practically not been changed, so we cannot take the population of those counties as a basis on which to work. Some other counties like Vaudreuil-Soulanges and Argenteuil have not been changed, because it is almost impossible to change the boundaries, but the principle on which we work was to take a group of contiguous counties and try to equalize the population in that group. I am going to take only one group of counties to illustrate my statement, and I will take that consisting of Bellechasse, Montmagny, L'lslet and Kamour-aska, four counties in regard to which we heard many arguments yesterday and the day before. My hon. friends opposite declare that L'lslet will disappear and that we should have joined L'Islet and Montmagny as a whole, leaving the other two alone. There was no one county that was bound to disappear, but out of that group of four it was understood that we were going to make three. What we have done is simply this. Instead of joining Montmagny and L'lslet, giving them a population of practically 40,000 and leaving the other two counties one on each side with a population of 21,296 and 24,085 respectively, we thought it was more practical to divide the population in that group of counties so as to make three counties with populations as follows:
I am not going to argue this any further; I simply point out that this is the method we have adopted. I might take other groups of counties in other parts of the province and
find that the population was perhaps 5,000 or 8,000 or even 10,000 more than in this group, but it all depends upon the population of the surrounding counties.
The county of Chapleau was referred to yesterday by the hon. member for Richelieu.
It is quite true that we have a new county there with a population of only a little over 21,000, while the other new county has a population of about 40,000. In the case of Chapleau, however, we took into consideration the fact that it is a new territory which has developed very rapidly. As every hon. member knows, in the Abitibi district fifteen years ago there was practically nobody. In view of the present colonization program which will very likely be further extended due to the present situation, we have considered that in ten years from now the population will probably be 50,000. Another reason for our course is the fact that the county is about 300 or 400 miles long, I am not quite sure which, but at all events not less than 300 miles. As to the other new county taken from Portneuf, Champlain and Three Rivers, which has a population of over 40,000, we thought in that case there was a question whether we should put La Tuque in the district of Portneuf in the new county or leave it out. But as this was almost entirely an industrial county in which the electors were all deriving their living from the pulp industry, we thought it was only logical we should put all that industrial section together.
Another argument advanced against us, as I said at the beginning, was this. The hon. member for Quebec East went so far as to say that we had succeeded in making Conservative counties out of Liberal. That may be true; I am not going to dispute the fact that Champlain and Three Rivers will probably be safer counties for Conservatives after the redistribution than they are to-day, but I would ask my hon. friends opposite to be fair and to recognize that if that is a fact it is equally true, that the new county of Lafleche-St. Maurice, if we take as our guide the vote of 1930, is a solidly Liberal county. We have not done anything to attain that. We have simply taken the population as it was, and according to the vote of 1930 this new county is a county in which the Conservative party has no fighting ground at all. The same remark applies to that other new county. We have taken the people who were in Abitibi. We have not changed their political faith at all, and I think my hon. friends opposite will admit that there too we have a solid Liberal county. But that question was not considered when we made this redistribution. We simply divided the counties the best we could. That was the thought we had in mind, and that is what we did.
The hon. member for Quebec East also said at page 5309 of Hansard:
And I wish to say immediately that in any place or any constituency where any change was made, as my right hon. friend suggests, in 1924, which should not have been made-
I go further, any change that was made either fairly or unfairly-I am quite willing to undo it. But it is not necessary to change the whole map of the province of Quebec for that purpose.
That brings me to a point which I wish to bring to the attention of the house. The hon. member for Quebec East also said in the same speech in regard to the county of Dorchester:
St. Maxime de Scott was put there in 1924, so let him take it away if that is the purpose of this redistribution bill.
It is not my intention, nor could I do it in any event, to belittle in any sense the remarks of my hon. friend from Quebec East, but at the same time the truth is the truth and the facts are the facts. I say to my hon. friend from Quebec East that there was no change made in the county of Dorchester in 1924-none at all. I have here the official list of all the changes that were made in 1924, and it shows that none were made in the county of Dorchester.