Anyway, Christina Blizzard has interviewed political scientist Dr. David Docherty and relates his observations (More seats, less democracy) . Please read the whole article. It's quite enlightening.
Here's what I didn't know - There is very little rep by pop in this country:
"There have only been three provinces whose seats are determined by population: Alberta, B.C. and Ontario," Docherty said in an interview this week.
Quebec gets 75 seats no matter what -- despite declining population in that province. So if you divide their population by 75 seats, you get a higher voters-to-MP ratio than you get here in Ontario. And it's that formula that critics -- particularly McGuinty -- are applying to the new formula. Or they take the overall population of the country -- 33,800,700 -- and divide it by the number of seats in the House of Commons. Except that doesn't work either.
New Brunswick and tiny P.E.I. are protected by what is called the "senatorial floor." A province can't have fewer MPs than it has senators. This means that despite their minuscule populations, P.E.I. and New Brunswick get four and 10 seats respectively.
According to Doherty, other provinces have their seat numbers protected by the 'federal Representation Act.'
"Newfoundland and Labrador, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia probably shouldn't have the seats they do, but the act protects them from losing seats..."
Under the proposed changes, the number of federal ridings would increase from 308 to 330. Of those 22 new ridings, 10 would be in Ontario, seven in B.C., and Alberta would get five.
New provisions to the act guarantee that provinces with smaller populations than Quebec -- the largest province that has a seat guarantee -- are entitled to equivalent representation. So Alberta and B. C. get more seats to reduce their MP-to-voter ratios until their constituencies are roughly the same size -- but conveniently slightly larger -- than Quebec's.
Blizzard calls it "the quintessential Canuckistan dog's breakfast of a compromise". If Ontario's seats are increased, then Quebec will be throwing the tantrum.
What a mess. McGuinty's letter to all Ontario MP's calling for "Representation by population, 'one person, one vote,' equality under the law and effective representation", seems rather unachievable.
Blizzard has advanced her own proposal:
Dump the Senate, so you don't have to worry about how many seats provinces have. While we're at it, ditch P.E.I. as well. What's it doing with four MPs? It has a smaller population than some GTA ridings. Roll it into New Brunswick or Nova Scotia.
Then let's start from ground zero. No deals. No seat guarantees. Just rep by pop -- all across the country.
Sounds good in theory, Christina, but I doubt that the kids would ever stop whining no matter how hard you tried to resolve the situation.