May 25, 1933

CON

Franklin White Turnbull

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TURNBULL:

Both parties admit that in these two there must be changes, and both parbies admit pretty well where the changes should take place. But my hon. friends say, "If you don't make the change where -we want it we will keep the house in session." And then they tell us that they are not trying to govern the country by

Redistribution-Mr. Turnbull

minority; they tell us that they are reasonable and are adopting the proper course that representatives of the people should follow.

So far as I am concerned, the fact that not a single member south of the South Saskatchewan river has criticized his own seat or his own boundaries or any other boundaries is an indication that the redistribution south of the South Saskatchewan river is a reasonably fair one. It is true that there are constituencies that are smaller than the unit, and the time wall come when the boundaries of these constituencies will have to extend northward across the course of these rivers. I do not think that the time is ripe for that at this redistribution, and my hon. friends agree with me because they have not proposed a single extension of one of these constituencies. If you divided the population south of these rivers into eight you could not get 44,186 in each constituency and allow for excess population in Regina. When I reduced the population in my own seat, when I reduced my majority by 300, by taking that population off, I wonder whether I was creating a deliberate Tory gerrymander in my own favour. I sought no advantage from the redistribution. The map which I made is to my own disadvantage but I think it is in the interests of the people of that part of the country just as is the map of the northern part. It is my own settled opinion that it represents justice to the people who will elect the members to the next parliament. No real criticism of it exists to-day beyond the fact that it is said that it will hurt the chances of some Liberal members of being reelected.

In one of the speeches made since this debate commenced, the right hon. the leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) said that redistribution should not be in the interests of a particular member or a particular constituency but in the larger interests of the people of Canada. Yet the whole fuss has been over the question of how this new constituency of Prince Albert will affect him personally. I would say that there are enough intelligent people left in Prince Albert constituency under the map as drawn to be able correctly to weigh the policies of th' right hon. the leader of the opposition. If the boundaries now set are allowed to stand there will be between 38,000 and 39,000 people in this constituency. They are among the most intelligent people that there are in Canada, they are the descendants of the old Lord Selkirk settlers about which the hon. member for Melville (Mr. Motherwell) was moaning a few moments ago. If these men are not of 53719-345J

sufficient intelligence to form a jury to weigh my right hon. friend and find him either righteous or wanting, I do not know where you will find them in the Dominion of Canada.

My right hon. friend complains that he does not want to be elected by 39,000 people; he wants a larger constituency of 51,000- this where there was an increase of thirty per cent while in other parts of the country constituencies containing a smaller population are considered as much too large. If the line suggested by my right hon. leader (Mr. Bennett) this afternoon is accepted, there will be an additional 6,600 of population. This would bring the total up to 45,000, or more than the average for the province itself. In addition to those which I have included, he would then have in his constituency a number of old-time settlers who have settled around Duck Lake and Carlton. These are French Canadians who settled there in the early days and their descendants are still in this district. It would not detract any from the intelligence of the constituency which will pass upon my right hon. friend's policy if it were allowed to remain as proposed, but perhaps he is afraid of one of the most intelligent electorates in Canada.

As I said in the beginning, the reason why I decided to unite four of these, constituencies into three was because of the deficiency in population in the central areas of the province. I shall put certain figures on Hansard to indicate the condition which existed. It was suggested that because Yorkton was one of the largest constituencies there was no reason for its subdivision, but if hon. members will look at the rate of increase in population they will see the reason why this was done. The population of Yorkton in 1921 was 37,857; in 1931 it had increased to 38,692; under the new map it will have 48,473. There has been an increase in ten years of 835 and the average percentage of increase is 2.2. The population of Melville in 1924 was 36,842; in 1931, 39,338; under the new map, 47,499. There has been an increase in ten years of 2,496, or an average increase of 6.7. In 1921 Last Mountain had a population of 34,054; in 1934 this had increased to 36,507 while under the proposed map it will contain 45,518. In ten years there has been an increase of 2,453 or 7.2 per cent. In 1921 Long Lake had a population of 32,308; in 1931, 31,266 and under the new map it will have 42,146. In ten years there was a decrease of 132 and as the percentage was so small I did not attempt to work it out. In 1921 Rose-town had a population of 29,341; in 1931,

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Redistribution-Mr. Mackenzie King

32,526 and under the new map it will have 40,708. There has been an increase of 3,185 or 10.8 per cent. In 1021 Kindersley had a population of 28,997; in 1931, 35,290, while under the new map it will have 39,632. There has been an increase of 6,993 or 24.7 per cent.

While the eastern constituencies had the largest populations they showed the smallest percentage of increases. The western constituencies had the smaller populations but they show a larger percentage of increase. In addition to that, the ratio of voters to populations is greater in the western constituences than in the east and that is why I seleced these four eastern seats for amalgamation.

I think I have covered all the arguments which have been made to-day and which had not been covered previously by myself. As I said before, I have no intention of repeating what I said the other day or in attempting to follow my hon. friends in what they have said. I merely point out that out of the members on the opposite side of the house who rose to-night to discuss the Saskatchewan map, five had no complaint as far as the boundaries of their own constituencies were concerned. All of them complained of the boundaries of Prince Albert but they have presented no argument which has changed the situation in the slightest. As far as I am concerned, I see no reason to be impressed by their arguments.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Mr. Chairman, I had not intended to add anything to what I said this afternoon, but as the hon. member for Regina (Mr. Turnbull) who has just taken his seat made reference to some of my remarks, possibly I should say a word in reply.

The first point touched upon by the hon. member was the reference I made this afternoon to the advisability of having redistribution made by a commission of judges rather than following the method which has been adopted at this and the last two redistributions. I think I was careful to say that my suggestion did not apply to this redistribution. I recognize quite well that at this stage no one is thinking of changing the method of the present redistribution, but I realize also that ten years hence the House of Commons of Canada will be faced with a problem similar to that with which we are now dealing. I was careful to say that I thought every hon. member owed it to his country when he saw a position which he believed would better its future to state it. None of us can say what opportunities there may be for those who are now in the house to state a position ten years hence. Of one thing we can be perfectly sure: a very [Mr. Tumbd.7

limited number of those who are here to-day will be here to speak ten years hence of what has taken place at this time. It was because of that and because of what must have impressed itself upon everyone who has been present during the past two weeks that I thought it advisable to say that when the House of Commons was again confronted with the question of redistribution of the constituencies of Canada, it would in my opinion be wise for it to adopt the plan of referring the whole matter to a commission composed of judges who would have the opportunity of viewing the situation impartially, not from the point of view of the self-interest of any individual member but rather from the point of view of the wider interests of the people of Canada as a whole. That is the position which I took this afternoon and which I take again to-night. Anyone reading the Hansard report even of to-night's debate must realize to how small an extent the redistribution *being effected at the moment is based upon the foundational principle of the division of the various constituencies according to the general interest of the country as a. whole regardless of how those general interests may be influenced or affected by the special interests of individuals who are sitting in the House of Commons at this particular time. I make that statement without reflection upon anyone. I was careful to say that the same thing might have applied to previous redistributions.

May I say that at the time Sir Wilfrid Laurier was in the house, when it was suggested that a commission of judges might be appointed for the purpose of making a redistribution, Sir Wilfrid himself opposed the idea. He said very much as the hon. member for Regina (Mr. Turnbull) has said to-night, that he thought a committee of the members of the House of Commons would be not only as able but as honourable in dealing with the whole situation as would any commission of judges. I must add that the commission that was proposed at the time Sir Wilfrid made his remarks was one composed of judges appointed only by the government of the day. What I proposed was a commission that would have represented on it in equal numbers judges nominated by both sides of parliament, a body of six judges who should be chosen from among judges of the different provinces and who would be able to view the electoral map as a whole in the light of their previous experience as members of parliament, had they served as such, and in the light of all the information that could be brought before them by the chief electoral officer, members of House

Redistribution-Mr. Mackenzie King

of Commons, and others who might wish to appear. I believe that method would avoid what I think has been in some degree an unseemly discussion on a matter which is not one simply of legislation but one essentially judicial, where parliament acts in the capacity of a high court seeking to do justice and justice only to all concerned. The hon. member for Regina, who has just spoken, said that after all redistribution was only a matter of legislation. I do not agree with him in that at all. Redistribution is a matter of legislation, but it is also one essentially of justice in the redistributing of the constituencies of Canada in accordance with principles which will be observed above all else as fair and just. I believe those principles will probably be observed most fully if the matter is carried out in the manner which I have indicated.

I have no more to say on that topic, but I come to the next one to which my hon. friend referred. It was that proportional representation was a fairer method of providing for representation in the House of Commons than the one which we have at the present time of determining that representation by single member constituencies, constituencies arrived at in the present fashion. I was careful there again to say that I was speaking not of the present but of the future, in the light of our experience at this time. This is the moment for one to speak of these things, when they are present to the minds of all who are here. The Prime Minister has spoken of the obvious unfairness-he did not use those words; what he said was that it ought to give us all occasion to pause-but I take iit that I am not misrepresenting him by saying the obvious unfairness of representation where a situation existed where all the members returned from one province were of one political party alone. His reference was to Quebec after 1921 when the entire membership from that province in the House of Commons was Liberal. He might have spoken of the absence of any Conservative representation in six provinces out of nine after the elections of 1901. The Prime Minister says that that ought to give one occasion to pause for reflection. I shall go a step further and say that a system which results in the foody of opinion of a political party of an entire province having no representation in the House of Commons has, I believe, something lacking, something inherently wrong feibout it. It is not a truly representative system. I wish to go just one step further and point out to hon. members what the complexion of the House of Commons at the present time is as compared with what it

would be were it truly representative of the electorate of Canada as evidenced by the votes which were cast in the general election of 1930. I am doing this, not for the purpose of stirring up controversy at the moment, but for the purpose of supporting by reference ito actual facts as known to all, the argument which I have put forward that proportional representation is a much fairer way of determining the representation in the House of Commons, in order that it may represent minority as well as majority opinion and represent more truly the will of the electorate at large, than the system which we now have. The figures that I am going to quote are official ones given by the chief electoral officer. They are the same figures that will be found in his report, with this exception, that his report, in referring to total ballots cast, includes, I understand, all ballots, those that were discarded as well as those that were counted. The figures that I give are from an official statement given to the press by the chief electoral officer at the time of the last general election, and it includes the ballots which were counted but not those which were discarded. The numbers of the latter are so insignificant that they do not affect the argument.

The total membership of the House of Commons is 245. I am speaking now of the situation as it was when parliament came into being after the last general election. The total number of Conservative members is 137. That leaves a balance of 108 members including all who are other than declared Conservatives in the House of Commons. The vote cast on July 28, 1930, for the Conservatives was considerably less than that cast for members who constitute the Liberal party, the present Cooperative Commonwealth Federation and the Independents, all of whom are on 'this side of the house. I want to make that point clear, that though hon. gentlemen opposite to-day have the larger representation in the house, namely, 137 members, yet the 108 members who are sitting on this side represent of the actual ballots cast a larger number of votes than those cast for the hon. gentlemen opposite. I say to the Prime Minister that that gives pause for reflection. It is an indication that there is about the system under which our parliamentary institutions at the moment are operating, with respect to representation in the House of Commons, something which is not wholly sound, or just or fair.

The total vote cast on July 28, 1930, was 3,898,995. Of that total the Conservative

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Redistribution-Mr. Mackenzie King

party received 1,909,655 votes. The vote represented by those who are now sitting on this side of the house was 1,989,040 votes. May I say that in that total I have not included what would have gone to the hon. member for Acadia (Mr. Gardiner) and the hon. member for Labelle (Mr. Bourassa) had there been elections in their constituencies. They were both returned by acclamation and I have left out the votes that would otherwise have gone to them. I think I am safe in saying the vote which would have gone to either of them would have increased the total vote that is opposed to the government.

May I now give the significance of these figures? A total of 1,909,955 Conservative votes returned 137 members. In other words, 13,941 votes were cast per member. On this basis, 1,989,040 votes, which represent the total number of votes that were cast for those opposing, the government, would have returned 142 members opposed to the government. There, would have been a larger representation in this house of those opposed to the Conservative party than there are members of that party in this House of Commons at the present time.

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CON

Isaac Duncan MacDougall

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MACDOUGALL:

Would my right

hon. friend permit a question?

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LIB
CON

Isaac Duncan MacDougall

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MACDOUGALL:

I do not wish to interrupt him. Has he any licence to say that those who sit as members of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, the Progressive party, would have voted for the Liberal party had my right hon. friend been leading the government of the day?

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

No; I have been very careful to avoid saying anything of the kind, and my words appear in Hansard. I have spoken of those who are sitting on the other side as representing Conservatives returned to office, and those who are sitting on this side, but I have not said a word about-

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CON

Isaac Duncan MacDougall

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MACDOUGALL:

If my hon. friend will be indulgent enough to allow a word, I think he has talked of those who sit on the other side of the house as being favourable to the Liberal party and opposed to the government.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

No; I say that Ihey are not supporters of the government.

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CON

Isaac Duncan MacDougall

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MACDOUGALL:

They are not supporters of the. right hon. gentleman's party either.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I do not say that they were.

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CON
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Let me make

this perfectly clear. I know that some of them are distinctly opposed to our party. One has since the election become a member of the tariff board. I am not for a moment saying that they are supporting my party. They are not supporters of the government and, according to very sound doctrine, those who are not for us are against us. But let us come to the votes cast for the Liberal party and in this instance I shall leave out votes cast for Liberal-Progressives which will include some who sit on this side and who have supported the Liberal party on every vote. If you take the total votes which were polled for straight Liberals, not including Liberal-Progressives, or members of the C.C.F. or any independents or any Labour members, you have a total Liberal vote of 1,714,860, which would have returned on the ratio of 13,941 votes per member, 123 Liberals to this house, whereas at the present time there are 88 Liberal members. May I repeat, I am raising this question at the moment because it has been raised in the course of this debate and has been referred to again this evening by the hon. member for Regina. That is the reason I bring it up at the moment. It cannot affect the present redistribution, but, it is a matter which ought to cause all those interested in democratic government and the fair representation of opinion regardless of the particular shade of political belief to which that opinion may belong, to consider very carefully whether it is not desirable to have a fairer method of representation of the will of people at large in the House of Commons which has to do with the making of the country's laws.

There is only one other matter. Mr. Chairman, to which I wish to refer at the moment, and that is with regard to what the hon. mem ber for Regina has said respecting the constituency of Prince Albert. My hon. friend referred to his kindness in coming to my office the day before yesterday, I think it was, to have a word with me concerning the map of iSaskatchewan, or perhaps I should say more particularly the constituency of Prince Albert. I told my hon. friend at that time that I would not wish to say anything to him which I would not say on the floor of the House of Commons, and that what I was saying to him then was what I would say when I came to speak in the house. He will bear me out that those were my words and that what I said in the house this afternoon

Redistribution-Mr. Mackenzie King

was wholly in accord with what I said to him. That is where our conversation began and ended so far as I understood him. There were no undertakings or commitments in any particular, but I stated to the hon. member for Regina that I had understood the Prime Minister to say from his seat in the house that the government were prepared to do what was fair and just with respect to Prince Albert and would welcome suggestions and that I therefore would be glad to present the point of view which I thought was fair and just, but that I would certainly so far as Prince Albert was concerned leave the matter in the hands of the government. I think my hon. friend will bear me out in that. If that is true I must take exception to his saying that most of the discussion about Prince Albert has been simply as to how the matter is going to affect myself.

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CON

Franklin White Turnbull

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. TURNBULL:

Will my right hon.

friend pardon me? He misunderstood my reference. When I made that remark it was not with reference to the conversation between my right hon. friend and myself in his room, but with reference to the debate my right hon. friend carried on in the house today.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

It referred to

what was said in the house to-day? That is quite right. I am of course in the judgment

of the house as to the significance of my remarks this afternoon. I was speaking this afternoon, as I said the other day, both as the member for Prince Albert and also as the leader of the opposition in the House of Commons, but I wish the government in its decision on this matter to consider the position of the constituency of Prince Albert, and to consider that alone. I do not ask any consideration as the leader of the opposition. It is for the government itself to say whether or not they think that position merits any consideration. But I do want to make a very strong plea for justice to the people of the constituency of Prince Albert. In that connection I have only to repeat that I cannot consider as ju^t a means of altering the boundaries of a constituency which has to be reduced in size whereby you add to Ithe constituency to begin with, a double row of townships on one side comprising something like four thousand additional persons. I cannot- see the justice of that method of proceeding, especially when I have pointed out, as I have this afternoon, that constituencies in the northern part of Saskatchewan have been more and more narrowed with each redistribution. That is the exception that I

take very strongly, in the first place, to the redistribution that is proposed in the government map. It adds to the eastern side of the constituency of Prince Albert a section from the adjoining constituency, a section which brings into the constituency of Prince Albert an additional number of some four thousand persons, a part moreover which is largely Tory. The constituency has already 50,000, and the government claim that that is too large and that its duty is to reduce it. Well, to reduce it by beginning to add to it does not seem bo me a fair way of proceeding. It is against that in the first place that I wish to protest.

Another objection I wish to make is this. The unit of representation of Prince Albert as it stands in the proposed redistribution is away below what is the unit of representation of rural constituencies generally in the province of Saskatchewan as they appear on the map. It is down to 38,469 in Prince Albert whereas the unit in a rural constituency is 44,186.

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CON

Henry Herbert Stevens (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STEVENS:

Not rural constituency but the average for all.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I think the right hon. gentleman has confused two things.

Mr. MACKENZIE KING. The unit that is recognized, and my right hon. friend knows that where there are cities in a constituency we have pretty well agreed that the unit of representation should be above that in purely rural seats.

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CON
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

And I have pointed out that the city of Prince Albert is in the constituency of Prince Albert, and that the constituency as it appears on the electoral map should therefore have above the average unit of 44,186. It ought to have at least in addition another couple of thousand. That at all events is my view of what is fair and just .in the matter.

I would say further that the redistribution should seek to be impartial as between the political parties. If that may be considered a factor-I do not say it will necessarily be considered as such-but if it were to be considered as such the aim I think should be, where there has to be the taking away of any part of a constituency, that it should be taken away in a manner which will reduce in equal numbers or approximately equal numbers the representation of both political parties.

Those are the points that strike me as being fair. I am stating what I believe to be what the people of the constituency of Prince

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Redistribution-Mr. Mackenzie King

Albert will regard as fair in the light of the position as it is. I do not wish hon. members on this side to keep up the discussion in order to attempt to force the hand of the government in any way as to what it is going to do in Prince Albert. I have stated the case so far as Prince Albert is concerned, and I propose to leave it at that and to abide, as of necessity I shall have to abide and the constituency will have to abide, by the decision of .the government in the matter. But I will expect the government to do. what they believe to be right, and they must be prepared to have their action judged in the light of the perfect freedom which they have in the matter of reaching a decision. I hope I am making clear the view I take. I am not asking for anything, personally. May I say to the hon. member for Regina that frequently this afternoon and in his remarks this evening he said my reason for stating my position was that I was afraid of something, that I was afraid of this or afraid of that.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

He was adopting the language of some hon. gentlemen opposite.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I have not heard any hon. member from this side saying any hon. gentlemen opposite were afraid.

Mr. BENNETT, Oh, yes.

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May 25, 1933