March 31, 1903 (9th Parliament, 3rd Session)

CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN (Halifax).

I may say in the first place that I do not think my right hon. friend has pursued his researches into the constituencies of Ontario very far. If he had done so he would easily have found twenty-five Liberal constituencies and seventeen Conservative constituencies in that province which would have presented, not only an equal, but a greater anomaly of an exactly opposite character to that to which he drew the attention of the House. I hardly think that an argument of that kind was worthy of my right hon. friend unless he is prepared to look at the question from all possible aspects. Before he charges injustice against the Conservatives in respect to the Bill of 1892, it would have been proper for him to examine more closely all the constituencies, in that province, the results in all the constituencies, to ascertain whether as great an anom aly might not be found in the opposite direction as that which he presented to the House to-day. We all know that under any possible system it is necessary for these things to be. We cannot devise any system under which anomalies of that kind cannot be discovered; and the mere fact that you can find twenty-five constituencies and seventeen constituencies presenting the condition of affairs which the hon gentleman speaks of, is no legitimate argument whatever in favour of the contention that he has made unless he goes further and examines the results in the constituencies from every possible standpoint.
Now, I do not know that I have fully apprehended all the details of the Bill which my right hon. friend has presented, but, when it is printed, and before it comes up for the second reading we shall have an opportunity of considering what its provisions really are. Speaking offhand, I may say that the proposal for a conference for the purpose of determining the boundaries of the different constituencies would impress one as having the merit of fairness although we recognize that by means of the committee holding a majority from the other side of the House, that fairness might not in the end be so real as suggested by my hon. friend. However, I am bound to assume that my right hon. friend means what he says when he declares that the proposal is to make a fair Redistribution Bill. It will be, of course, open to us to bring the results of the committee's work before the House and have such a discussion as we may think necessary in case we do not conclude that the action of the committee partakes cf the fairness which my right hon. friend promises.
There is one point, however, upon which I would like to say a word or two and upon which I would like to have some informa-

Topic:   REPRESENTATION IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.
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