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:
Toliette-Montcalm.. _ 39,154
Lake St. John-Roberval 50.253
Three Rivers 44.226
Lafleche-St. Maurice 46,787
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
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.