Mr. A. LACHANCE (Quebec Centre):
(Translation.) Mr. Chairman, the redistribution of the seats in the city of Quebec does not appear to me to have been carried out in a spirit of fairness, either as regards the territory itself or the population included within its limits. I trust, however, that the House will believe me when I say that my criticism is not suggested by the blotting out of the constituency of Quebec Centre in the new arrangements. No, the data supplied by the census of 1911 rendered necessary a change in the limits of the various constituencies comprised within the bounds of the old city. The best evidence of my good faith in making the statements I am about to make in
this House, is my abstaining from any appeal to the Government for the restoration of that electoral district of Quebec Centre, though I would be delighted if it were restored.
Of course, and it goes without saying, I was greatly attached to that constituency, which I have had the honour of representing here since 1905, one of the finest constituencies of the province, and possibly of the whole of Canada. Its population is one of the most amiable and courteous that it is possible to meet; it comprises, in large numbers, all classes of society: men of the professional, business, commercial, industrial, labouring, merchant and banking occupations; and it is with sincere regret that I will have to sever my political relations with them all, Liberal and Conservative, as well; for the latter, though they opposed me strenuously, have always acted ae gentlemen towards me; and in regard to all of them I retain only the best remembrance. Indeed, from the honourable place which I occupy in this House, I wish to thank this evening once more my electors for the generous and full confidence which they reposed in me for the last nine years.
Now, reverting to my remarks in connection with this matter, I stated that the redistribution was not justified on the basis of the population comprised in each one of the new constituencies. As a matter of fact, the constituency to be designated Quebec South will have a population of 17,000 souls, while Quebec East and Quebec West, will have 20,000 souls. Why that difference of nearly one-half between the population of one of these constituencies and the two others? That discrepancy might have been easily avoided.
To carve out Quebec South, the constituencies of Quebec West and Quebec Centre are jointed, after eliminating, however, from the latter constituency St. John's ward, which is annexed to the new Quebec East; besides the parish of Sillery is detached from the county of Quebec. There were, nevertheless, two means available towards avoiding that disproportion between the various groups; the first means was to take in the parishes of Ste. Foye and Cap Rouge, which would have given a total population of 18,000 or 20,000 souls.
The second means was even more simple of application; it consisted in joining together Quebec Centre and Quebec West, which are contiguous to one another over the greater part of their length. That was
certainly the most rational, the most logical division which it was possible to adopt.
Why has St. John's ward been eliminated? Because, I imagine, that ward had been for many years the Liberal hive in Quebec Centre, and might have rendered very doubtful the chances of the Conservative party in the new constituency in Quebec South. It remains, however, that the carving out of these two constituencies has been accomplished in a most arbitrary manner, and though it may be considered of paramount importance to insure the safety of the Conservative party, such a procedure is inexcusable.
St. John's ward, which is annexed to the future Quebec East, might have been replaced by either St. Sauveur or St. Valier wards, which are included in the proposed constituency of Quebec West. As regards Quebec West itself, why was it not made out of one of those two wards of St. Valier or St. Sauveur, together with the Stadacpna and St. Malo wards, Petite Riviere, and the parishes of Sillery, Ste. Foye and Gifp Rouge? And if that was not enough, was it not possible to further take in one or two parishes of the county of Quebec, which on all sides borders and surrounds the city of Quebec. It may be alleged that the division proposed as regards the new constituencies of Quebec South and Quebec East was desirable inasmuch as it secured an increase of population sufficient to allow the city of Quebec to retain its three seats in the House of Commons. But it will be found impossible to justify on the same ground, or any other ground, the taking in of the parishes of St. Augustin, Ecureuils and Neuville (Pointe aux Trembles) detached from the constituency of Portneuf to complete the proposed electoral district of Quebec West. The inclusion of these three parishes will have the effect of creating an urban constituency thirty-one miles long, a county which will reach out as far as the parish of Cap Sant6, the county town of the second next rural constituency to the west of Quebec.
There was one very simple thing to do: take over from the county of Quebec one or two parishes, since that county is contiguous to the city on every side, and since, in many respects, its interest are identical with those of the city, and its population in daily intercourse with ours, and constantly found within the city limits on business of various sorts.
It seems to me, therefore, that the bound-
aries which are proposed are out of harmony with the principles of the most elementary justice. It is generally known that the electors of these parishes of the county of Portneuf have been found as a rule on the Conservative side of politics, and the intention, no doubt, was to have that influence to bear on the new constituency of Quebec West. There does not seem to be any other plausible explanation. So, I would be justified in drawing the conclusion that the taking in of these three parishes of Quebec West is a sort of political manoeuvering under the cover of the law, and I deem it my duty to voice my protest against such a course.
In conclusion', I call on the Government to amend their Bill in that respect and to replace these three muncipalities of the electoral district of Portneuf by municipalities comprised in the county of Quebec, for the reason I have stated.
The hon. Postmaster General has already given himself a free hand with the constituency of Montmorency; let him take another slice to replace what is to be taken off his county, and he may rest assured that in so doing he will not incur the ill-will of the hon. member for Charlevoix, who has been favoured with another section of that same county of Montmorency and has accepted that gift rather coldly, if rumour is to be credited.
On resuming my seat, I once more express the hope that the Government will modify the boundaries of the future county of Quebec West in the way I said yesterday.
Topic: REPRESENTATION IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.