Hon. ERNEST LAPOINTE (Minister of
That the special committee appointed to study the Dominion Elections Act, 1934, and amendments thereto, and the Dominion Franchise Act, 1934, and amendments thereto, be instructed to study and make report on the methods used to effect a redistribution of electoral districts in Canada and in other countries, and to make suggestions to the house in connection therewith.
He said: When the motion to appoint a committee to consider the elections act and the franchise act was before the house, the hon. member for Portage la Prairie (Mr. Leader) asked whether the committee would deal with the recent redistribution of seats in this house, I replied in the negative. Since then notice of motion has been given to appoint another committee for that purpose. The motion I now present to the house would meet neither the views of the hon. member for Portage la Prairie, nor the object of the resolution on the order paper. Its aim is rather to study, in a strictly non-partisan, non-political way, methods which could be adopted with regard to redistributing seats in Canada when the necessity arises.
When the last redistribution bill was before the house the present Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) expressed the view that instead of redistribution being proceeded with by a committee of the house, necessarily composed of a majority representing one of the political parties, it ought to be possible to find a way to have this work done by an independent tribunal, either a royal commission or some other board, which would give some guarantee of impartiality. In the end the redistribution was voted by the majority against the protests of the minority in the house, and there has remained in many quarters, I am free to say, a sense of injustice as to what was done in certain parts of the country. This motion would empower the committee to study the methods used in other places situated similarly to our own country. For instance, in the sister dominion of Australia, a growing country in which the population increases from one census to another,
Elections and Franchise